New report focuses on how to better recruit, retain teachers

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Christopher DeVargas

Ryan Dwyer, a full-time teacher and certified CCSD Librarian, teaches class at Kay Carl Elementary School, Friday May 13, 2016.

Published Thu, Jan 21, 2021 (12:06 p.m.)

Updated Thu, Jan 21, 2021 (3:27 p.m.)

A new report on how to better recruit and keep teachers recommends streamlining the hiring process and enhancing mentorships and coaching to help avoid classroom vacancies.

Over the past five years, an average of 12% of first-year Clark County School District teachers have left after their initial year in the classroom, and an average of 14% of experienced teachers resigned for reasons other than retirement, according to the report.

About 500 classrooms are left without a full-time teacher at the start of each school year, the report said.

"We've had vacant positions in our schools from Day One," said Superintendent Jesus Jara, who released the 22-page report Thursday.

The report was developed by the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Commission to make sure all students get a high-quality teacher to begin each school year, the district said.

Members of the 16-member body, including teachers, administrators and outside experts, highlighted four “urgent improvements” they said must be addressed immediately. They are:

• Grow new, quality and diverse teacher pipelines and maximize existing pipelines.

• Create a faster, more streamlined hiring process.

• Better understand teacher and administrator culture and resources to act on improving them over time.

• Enhance mentorship and coaching for administrators and teachers at every level of experience.

The commission recommended the district better advertise open positions and make it easier for teachers to apply for jobs, which would include updating its online job portal.

It also advised the district to hire teachers faster. Oftentimes, the district loses candidates to a competitor who offers the job first.

The work environment also needs to be improved, the commission said. "CCSD is aware that there are culture issues in schools that negatively impact teachers and, in some cases, pushing them out of their schools or even their field altogether," the report says.

Jara, who created the commission about seven months ago, committed to taking action.

“We will continue to work closely with the commission to make sure we follow through on these recommendations,” he said.

Multiple studies have concluded that “a quality, devoted teacher means more to student achievement than any other single factor,” the district said in a statement.

The commission will check informally on progress toward each of the detailed solutions this spring and fall.

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