Lawmakers in Indiana are listening to experts claims that supporting new teachers saves money and boosts retention.
Recently, a University of Pennsylvania study estimated that the cost of teacher turnover nationwide is about $2.2 billion annually.
Experts in Indiana are looking to solve two problems – improve teacher retention, and alleviate the teacher shortage which plagues Indiana school districts.
“Indiana’s chief challenge isn’t a teacher shortage,” said Jennifer Hicks, K-12 science program manager for Purdue University’s I-STEM Resource Network, “it’s retention.”
Recently, Hicks spoke to lawmakers concerning programs for new teachers. The legislature is interested in better preparation for new teachers, and providing support for them after they enter the classroom. The goal is to keep teachers from leaving after the first year.
Hicks has led a grant-funded initiative to establish peer to peer mentoring for new science teachers. She says the small group has had a great deal of success. The program included 90 new teachers, and only one left the teaching profession during the past 18 months.
“With this support, they’re staying,” she said.