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Date of Award

2003

Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Marilyn Draheim

First Committee Member

John Borba

Second Committee Member

Sharon Brockman

Third Committee Member

Gregory Potter

Abstract

This study sought to find factors that led teachers to stay at their schools, especially those schools with lower socioeconomic student populations, despite all the stresses associated with those schools. Schools in high poverty areas are known to have high teacher turnover, thus contributing to often low academic achievement. Questionnaires developed for this study were returned by 340 Kindergarten through 12 th grade school teachers from 16 public schools for a 77.98% rate of return. The average school's percentage of student participation in free or reduced meals programs was almost 54%. This study found both expected and unique factors that teachers stated helped them to stay at their schools. A sense of efficacy with the students was a strong factor for all teachers planning to return to their schools. The site principal was also noted as important for all study participants, but not as influential to the veterans as to younger teachers. This study presents three influential retention factors not previously discussed in teacher turnover literature: a sense of personal feeling of connection to the school, a sense of comfort at the school, and the sense that “it takes work” to remain at a school. These were all positive factors directly related to teachers who had worked at their schools for at least six years and were planning to return. The study also discusses a negative characteristic found of some school site veteran teachers who may stay (and thus improve the school's teacher retention rate), but who, based on their very negative attitudes toward teaching, should leave. The study offers suggestions for administrative involvement and curriculum additions for teacher and administrative preparation.

Pages

232

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