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Retaining Personnel 1

Retaining Personnel

Megan German

PEDU 628

Longwood University
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Obtaining and maintaining personnel are both very important processes in the education

world; however, once you have your staff and your put in time, money, and effort to help them

grow in their field, it is important that you retain them, so that you are not wasting valuable time

and resources building up employees that are simply going to move on to bigger and better

school districts. In addition to a fair salary, educators look at several other aspects when

deciding what school district they choose to teach at, and whether they choose to stay. These

other areas include employee benefits, such as medical insurance, staff morale, and how

improvement plans are implemented to help support growth, rather than be used punitively.

In Chesapeake, we have one of the best benefits packets that I have seen. In fact, at one

point, I was offered a position in another district, making more money, but I turned it down

simply because their benefits package could not compare to that of Chesapeake. While, in recent

years, there have been small increases in the cost of healthcare, Chesapeake has made every

effort to minimize the increases and balance them out with other benefits, such as our own

pharmacy and clinic. As CPS employees, we have our own pharmacy, with medication at

significantly lower costs, and our own clinic, in which we can receive preventive care, such as

physicals and health screenings, as well as care during illness. In fact, during the school year, we

can utilize the clinic during our planning time without using our sick leave. These benefits, in

addition to life insurance, legal services, and flex spending accounts for medical and childcare

services are great selling points when looking to hire and keep employees.

Another important aspect to employee retention is staff morale. If your staff members

are unhappy and dont feel valued, they will be more likely to switch schools, or even districts.

In Chesapeake, it seems that most of the morale-building activities and practices are building-

based, so they vary from school to school. In some schools, they have committees that oversee
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organizing monthly outings for faculty and staff after school. These committees also organize

holiday parties, birthday announcements and celebrations for teachers, and other team-building

activities that focus on bring unity and a sense of belonging to the faculty and staff in the school.

Since, in many schools, there is little interaction between grade levels, and sometimes even other

contents, having activities that bring everyone together to get to know each other is extremely


In addition, many building also have weekly or monthly recognition of faculty and staff

members who go above and beyond what is expected of them. These forms of recognition really

encourage the teachers who are doing more than what is asked of them, but it also encourages

other teachers to join in on those behaviors. By making employees feel respected, valued, and

heard, it improves the overall success and atmosphere of the school.

Finally, for teachers who are struggling in their responsibilities, we have personal

improvement plans that can be created to help that teacher grow and succeed in fulfilling his or

her expected job duties. In Chesapeake, there are several steps that lead up to this. First, several

observations would be completed, during which the observing administrator noticed areas of

weakness that needed to be address. At that point, a conference would be help with the teacher

to talk about how improvements can be made, and observation would continue. If improvements

still arent being made, then the administrator would design an action plan for the teacher, alert

human resources of the plan, and talk to the teacher about the course of action and how often

these areas will be checked. For example, if the issue is planning, the administrator might

require that lesson plans to be turned in weekly for the following week. These improvement

plans are intended to coach the teacher and help him or her get back on the right track, so that

they, their students, and the school can be more successful.

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Unfortunately, in some cases, even after coaching and improvement plans are put into

effect, teachers still do not meet the job requirements, which would result in dismissal from their

job. According to Kim Lowden, principal at Truitt Intermediate, if these teachers are on a

probationary contract, dismissing them would be as simple as choosing not to offer them a

contract for the following year. For teachers on continuing contract, though, the process requires

much more. To dismiss tenured teachers, the administrator would have to have all of the

documentation from observations and the improvement plan showing that despite extensive

efforts to help the teacher meet her goals, they still were unable to fulfill their duties. At that

point, the documentation would be given to HR who would consult their legal team and come up

with a plan for dismissal. In many cases, they will offer to let the teach resign or retire early, to

avoid them losing their benefits, and to avoid a lengthy legal battle. If the teacher chooses to

fight dismissal, though, it could end up in a formal hearing in front of the school board.

In general, Chesapeake has a solid system for retaining teachers. Their benefits package

is one of the best Ive seen, in many areas. The only major improvements to the benefits that I

would suggest would be allowing spouses and children to utilize the clinics for sick

appointments, and to provide more fund for tuition reimbursement, to allow teachers to seek

external opportunities to learn and develop their skills.

In addition to the benefits, Chesapeakes dedication to maintaining a positive work

environment and encouraging growth is evident. I would, however, like to see more city-wide

morale building activities, possibly by content. For example, having quarterly meetings by

content, to allow teachers to get to know each other across the city, and to give them an

opportunity to collaborate with teachers outside of their school. This kind of networking can

really introduce teachers to great, new ideas for their classrooms.

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Lowden, Kimberly (2017, June 29). Personal interview.

Smith, R. (2013). Human resource administration: A school-based perspective (4th ed.). New

York, NY: Routledge.