How can Indiana Public Schools increase teacher retention?

In a recent article, Indiana Public Schools continue to struggle with the reduction in teacher retention which results in depleting school resources and impacts student achievement. Student achievement will continue to plummet for years due to the perception that many students and parents will develop. Indiana Public Schools will benefit from empowering teachers and administrators to increase teacher retention by establishing cooperative relationships utilizing self-organization principles.

According to the article, CALL 6: Thousands of Indiana teachers leaving the classroom, 12,426 educators, or 18 percent of Indiana’s teachers and administrators, left their schools over a single school year period, according to the most recent data from the Indiana Department of Education.

Former Indian Public School personnel cited several challenges that contribute to teacher retention. One teacher left due to a lack of leadership opportunities, compensation, and time constraints associated with performing teacher duties.  This teacher revealed that “on your days off, you’re grading, you’re making lessons, you’re trying to make things better for your students”.

Another teacher agreed that compensation was the primary contributor to the challenges associated with teacher retention. He stated “I left mostly because of earning potential. The earning potential had gone down because of cuts by the state to the rural schools. I could see the writing on the wall, and I didn’t believe it was going to change within the next 15 years.” He presently works as a construction worker.

Indian Public School administrators reported various results of strategies implemented to reduce teacher retention. One administrator revealed that “we’ve created leadership roles and have designed career paths for teachers so they have opportunities to take on leadership without becoming a principal” which included increasing teacher compensation in the range of $5,000 to $18,000 per year.

However, the Indiana School District that appears to have the most success has included a focus on relationships between teachers and administrators. The Hancock County Mount Vernon Community School Corporation Fortville Elementary School Principal Heather Noesges says she also leaves notes and treats in teachers’ mailboxes to celebrate a job well-done. “We like to keep them happy. We work together as a family.” said Noesges. Mount Vernon High School Principal Greg Roach uses reinforces the importance of relationship building by smiling at “them, and [asking] them how they’re doing. [He wants his teachers to] feel valued and supported maybe more than anything.” While the efforts of both administrators is plausible the eventual impact will continue to contribute to the challenges associated with teacher retention.

What is the process that will increase teacher retention?

The only process that will increase teacher retention involves improving workplace relationships between teachers and administrators that was developed by Margaret Wheatley. Margaret Wheatley developed the Self-Knowledge model that consist of three primary components. The three primary components are information, self-identity, and relationships.

Indiana Public Schools must first conduct an organizational analysis by utilizing both qualitative and quantitative processes. The qualitative analysis begins with interviewing administrators and teachers. Tape recording each interview will provide the best results. In this way, the information provided with be authentic.

Before recording the interview, it is best to develop an interview guide. The interview guide will ensure that the time spent in the interview process is not wasteful. It is best to formulate the interview questions using the Ladder of Inference Rungs outlined by Chris Argyris and expanded by Peter Senge.

The Ladder of Inference include questions that will provide:

  1. Observable data and experiences
  2. Selected data from observations
  3. Added cultural and personal meanings
  4. Assumptions made about cultural and personal beliefs
  5. Conclusions
  6. Adopted beliefs
  7. Actions taken based on those beliefs

Once the collected documents, transcribed interviews, and observations have been coded the next step is to conduct a quantitative analysis based on the Systems Thinking analysis principles outlined by Peter Senge. Systems Thinking is the study of a system’s structure and behavior by analyzing and evaluating events, patterns and trends, developing a systemic structure, and developing mental models. Mental models evaluate the values, attitudes, and beliefs persons are thinking that cause a structure to exist. In this case, that structure revolves around increasing teacher retention.

The next step in the process is the self-identity phase. During this phase a small group of teachers and administrators need to assemble together and develop a shared vision. The shared vision will enable the small group of teachers and administrators to self organize around the theme of increasing teacher retention in the Indiana Public Schools.

Related Articles

School climate is key to teacher retention, student achievement

Pension benefits may not be effective tool for teacher retention

Study: Indiana among worst in the nation for teacher retention


All the best,

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

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About Classroom Racism Exterminator

Racism is a menace and so we’ve been taught for ages which is the primary need for a diversity expert. However, even in this modern society of today where we see a lot of colored celebrities performing on stage with huge fan followings and of course an Afro-America President for the USA, we are still in a phase where racism exists in all its brutal glory and has been eating away at the society like a plague. Classrooms, are one of the most affected areas where color differences and racism exists to its extremes. Even after decades of progress and a lot of communal efforts at bridging the gaps between colored students, white students and teachers, it is sad to say that the disparities still exist and are just as pronounced today as they were back in the 1950s. Colored students, even in the likes of New York City, are attending under resourced schools or have been significantly isolated and made to be unequal in regular schools. Even if the teachers are well-intentioned, perpetuating the structural racism that has taken deep roots into the fabric of our education system is a tough task and make the need for a diversity expert imperative. Teachers need to recognize the biases that exist within the classroom and also take conscious measures to address them and their own biases of course. James Baldwin once said, “it is your very own responsibility to change this society, if you think of yourself as an educated person.” Dr. Derrick L. Campbell took this quote very effectively and straight to the heart and thus this Classroom Racism Exterminator happened. Classroom Racism Exterminator is an initiative that will teach you about your duty and moral obligation towards eliminating racism from the classrooms. This is where and how you will learn about what you need to do to produce a better society that is free of biases and disparities amongst the blacks and the whites. Because we understand how classroom biases and conversations about racism are difficult and how teachers and students almost avoid the topics altogether, we have put together a range of effective methods and products to help address the problem at hand and talk meaningfully to counter issues related to race and racism in the classroom. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell understands that it takes a lot of courage to talk about race and racism and that racial issues need to be viewed through a very critical lens that can understand and attend to the pertaining aspects of racism in the classroom. And therefore through this website we have made a conscious effort to eliminate racism from the classroom and make the educational system equal and beneficial for all. We know and we understand that there are no words that can actually describe how racism feels. There are cases and everybody tends to deal with it in their own manner. Some might lash out verbally or others might just withdraw into shells. Whatever the case, people don’t talk about it openly and teachers don’t really make a conscious effort at addressing the issue. We don’t really know if our children or if the youth is learning to be educated or become racists in their classroom. Our program is focused on helping children of color and regardless of their race, their full potential. We want every student to be able to recognize and reach their full potential so that they think of themselves as responsible citizens of their country and not regard themselves as worthless human beings. Here you will find motivational books and flash card games, all of which have been designed focusing on eliminating racism completely from our classrooms. The books and the games have been consciously designed keeping in mind the American society and educational system. It is a small effort on our and Dr. Campbell’s part to help this society become a better place to live in. A little about diversity expert Dr. Campbell Dr. Derrick L. Campbell the driving force behind Classroom Racism Exterminator is a dynamic figure and a constant source of motivation for us. He has a Bachelors of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, Math Education, a Masters in Education Administration and also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Dr. Campbell is a well known personality throughout the nation. He has lectured at various events including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference and a lot of local churches. He is a personality well dedicated towards eliminating the plague of racism from our classrooms and helping every child recognize his/her true potential not the color of their skin. He realizes how a child would feel if he/she was made to think they are worthless human beings. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell is compassionate and related to the experiences and therefore this initiative is a constant and continual effort to eliminate racism manifested in us, completely from the classroom and from our society.
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