Keeping Great Teachers, With a Personal Touch

Kate McGovern:

Give us the bigger picture here. What’s your philosophy of teacher retention?

The way we approach retention at DCPS is less about general retention and more about trying to make sure we’re keeping the teachers who have the greatest impact on kids. Everything we do at DCPS—the way we recruit and hire teachers, the way we support them and the way we approach retention—is based on teacher effectiveness.

It’s important to note, though, that we don’t necessarily see retention to mean being in front of students all day, every day. That’s not how careers work anymore. Many of our most talented educators aren’t interested in teaching in the same classroom for 30 years. I taught in DCPS for two years, and one of the reasons I left was because the career path seemed so linear. Today, we’ve really tried to layer in opportunities for teachers to grow and evolve their careers in different ways, inside and outside the classroom.