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Supporting and Retaining New Special Education Teachers. COSA Fall Administrator Conference Mark Schalock Oregon Special Education Recruitment & Retention Project The Teaching Research Institute, Western Oregon University. Presentation Objectives.
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Supporting and Retaining New Special Education Teachers COSA Fall Administrator Conference Mark Schalock Oregon Special Education Recruitment & Retention Project The Teaching Research Institute, Western Oregon University
Presentation Objectives • Challenges and Frustrations: Why Special Educators Leave • Personal Rewards: Why Special Educators Stay • Administrative Support • Other Supports • Resources
Focus of Recruitment & Retention Study • How individuals found their current position. • Factors related to accepting the employment. • Positive and negative experiences in the application, interview and hiring process. • The incidence and helpfulness of induction activities. • The incidence and helpfulness of initial support (transition) activities. • The incidence and importance of ongoing support activities and working conditions. • Factors associated with leaving previous employment.
Population Studied(Recently hired special educators) • Newly licensed special educators prepared in Oregon • Newly licensed special educators prepared outside of Oregon • Experienced Oregon special educators • Experienced out-of-state special educators • Experienced professionals new to special education
Survey Development • Content of Survey • Review of research/literature • Regional workshops • CPPC, SACSE • Draft of survey • Survey pilot tested • Final review/modifications
Factors Related to High Attrition Rates in Special Education • Job design • School climate • Personal factors
Factors Related to Attrition: Job Design Issues • Role ambiguity • Case loads • Procedural and paperwork demands • Insufficient time
Factors Related to Attrition: School Climate Issues • Insufficient resources • Inadequate administrative support • Lack of opportunity to collaborate • Lack of opportunity for professional development
Factors Related to Attrition: Personal Issues • Inadequate preparation • Personal characteristics/situations
Why Special Educators Leave: Greatest Frustration • Amount of paperwork • High/challenging case load • Lack of resources/funding/budget cuts • Lack of parental support • Not enough time for both planning & paperwork • Poor staff relationships/communication • Managing difficult/multiple IA’s • Lack of cooperation/understanding by RegEd • Lack of instructional/remedial materials for BM’s
Why Special Educators Leave: Specifics Reasons for Leaving Previous Job • Location • Perception of unsupportive regular education administrator • Finding a similar position with a lower case/work load • Perception of unsupportive special education administrator • Conflicts with co-workers • Lack (or loss) of resources Potential Reasons to Leave Current Job • Continued loss/lack of resources • Working conditions • Family
Why Special Educators Leave: Summary • Typically no one reason • Cumulative effects of the conditions of the profession • Stress • Dissatisfaction with their job • Loss or lack of commitment • In combination these things build up and lead to the decision to either leave a current position or leave the profession all together.
Why Special Educators Stay: Greatest Rewards • Relationships with staff, co-workers • Relationship with students • Making a difference with kids • Support from SpEd administrators • Working with parents to impact students • Working with teachers to impact students • Learning/CPD opportunities • Being allowed to be creative
Why Special Educators Stay: Summary Many things bring satisfaction to special educators • Making a positive difference with students • Personal • Collaborative • Positive Relationships/Support/Climate • Co-workers • Administrative Support • Professionalism/Challenge
The Meaning of Administrative Support Logistical/Material Support Informational Support Emotional Support
Meaning of Administrative Support: Logistical/Material Support • Providing materials, space and curriculum resources • Providing time for teaching and non-teaching duties • Help with scheduling meetings and paperwork
Meaning of Administrative Support: Informational Support • Support (financial, substitute) to attend professional development opportunities. • Opportunities to meet with competent colleagues. • Access to a mentor – either a formal mentor or informal mentor.
Meaning of Administrative Support: Emotional Support • Showing teachers that they are esteemed, trusted professionals • Establishing a positive school/work climate inclusive of Special Educators
Prevalence and Helpfulness of Support Activities Orientation Activities Initial Supports Ongoing Supports and Working Conditions
Findings Related to Orientation Activities Transitioning into their new job and becoming comfortable. • Formal orientation meetings • Review of IEP/IFSP procedures • Being paired with an experienced staff member • Having role and expectations clearly defined • Time with supervisor
Helpful Orientation Activities: Overall Most helpful activities • Being paired with an experienced staff member to “learn the ropes”. • Time with their supervisor to ask questions and clarify issues. • Helping new staff members understand their roles and responsibilities. Less helpful orientation activities • Formal orientation meetings. • Paperwork orientation/training.
Findings Related to the Provision of Initial Supports Providing emotional and instructional supports in the first year • Regular meetings • Meetings with supervisors • Observing other staff • Formal mentors • Informal mentors
Initial Supports: Overall Most Helpful Initial Supports • Regular and frequent meetings with job-a-like colleagues • Opportunity to meet with supervisors • Opportunity to observe others • Mentoring • Formal mentors • Informal mentors
Findings Related to Ongoing Supports and Working Environment Providing a supportive working environment is crucial to retaining special educators. • Good working relationships with regular educators • Supportive special education administrators • Knowledgeable (about IDEA) and supporting building principals • Adequate numbers of well prepared paraprofessionals
Special Education Administrator Support Strategies • Conduct district orientation • Provide written materials • Review district special education forms • Provide information on available materials and resources • Supply information on ordering procedures
Special Education Administrator Support Strategies • Introduce key district staff • Assign mentor • Provide release time • Provide networking opportunities • Maintain ongoing informal and formal contact
Special Education Administrator Support Strategies • Clearly delineate teacher’s responsibilities • Provide professional development opportunities • Support participation in professional organizations • Share resources and information targeted to beginning teachers • Supply information on local community
Building AdministratorSupport Strategies • Conduct building orientation meeting • Introduce key building staff • Define supervisory role and responsibilities • Assign a building guide • Provide release time
Building AdministratorSupport Strategies • Provide networking opportunities • Delineate clear responsibilities • Reduce extracurricular assignments • Institute communication system • Provide common prep time
Components ofGood Mentor Programs • Clearly defined selection criteria • Clearly defined mentor roles and responsibilities • Mentor training and support • Time for mentoring • Compensation or incentives for mentors
Outcome Levels Skill Awareness Knowledge
Awareness-Level Approaches • Presentations • Written materials • Videos
Knowledge-Level Approaches • Demonstration/observation • Independent study • Problem solving • Brainstorming
Components Necessary to Master a Skill • Theoretical basis • Demonstration • Practice and feedback • Coaching or mentoring
Skill-Level Approaches • Coaching • Follow-up plan • Journal/self reflective practice • Self-assessment self-analysis
Modes for Delivering Instruction • Self study • Mentoring partnership • Organized instruction
Assessment Process 2. Analyze & Evaluate the Information 1. Collect Information 3. Use what you have Learned
Items to Consider inCollecting Information • Issues in the field • District/school mission, vision, goals • Issues raised from recent monitoring visit or outside evaluation • Assessment of teacher needs • Unique characteristics of the teachers