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Recruiting and Retention at Your Catholic School
Recruiting and Retention at Your Catholic School
By Mary Stange
Client Advisor


Summer is upon us and with the end of another school year your students leave for their break and a portion of your teachers put in their notice. The 2022-23 nationwide average for teachers leaving their schools was 23% with an average of 11% of principal turnover. While a slight dip was seen last year, turnover rates for teachers and principals remain higher than they’ve been in the last five years. Do you have a pulse on the turnover happening in your school?

Retention: What’s your strategy?

Building a thriving school includes investing in great teachers and retaining them. There are five major arenas regarding staff retention that we will address in today’s blog post. It is important to proactively engage each of these arenas and to review your current processes and turnover rates.

  1. Recruitment
  2. Work-Life Balance
  3. Professional Growth
  4. Optimally Challenged
  5. Affirming Strength

1. Examining Your Recruitment Practices

-Does your school have a mission statement?
-What traits embody this mission?
-Do your interview questions help determine mission-fit?
-What makes your school unique?
-Where are you posting open positions?
-Are these platforms working to attract a good fit with your school?
-What is your application traffic like?

2. Examining Work-Life Balance

-How do you speak about work-life balance with your staff?
-What are your time-off policies?
-It is understandable that teachers are given more sick days than personal days. Examine your language around these practices and how you speak about them with your staff.
-Are you aware of any life events that you can proactively engage ahead of time with your staff to assure them that they are supported?
-Maternity/paternity leave; an upcoming wedding; or honeymoon?
-Acknowledging that staff are more than the work.
-Do you take an interest in their hobbies outside of work?
-Do you take an interest in their families?

3. Examining Professional Growth

-What professional growth opportunities are built into the school year?
-Do you have a development plan that includes skill and strategy development?
-Do you seek new content or presenters to enliven and inspire your staff?
-Are teachers encouraged to continue their professional development on their own?
-Are there any resources at their disposal?
-How are these resources communicated?
-Are staff taking advantage of these resources?

4. Examining Optimally Challenging Your Staff

-What does optimally challenged mean?
-The human person desires to be challenged, but facing something that seems like a mountain every day can be daunting. It is important to optimally challenge your staff to grow into their potential, but also to celebrate the wins along the way.
-Teaching is challenging in and of itself. A classroom full of autonomous students with different learning styles and needs.
-Do you acknowledge the unique challenges faced by each teacher in their classroom?
-Do you offer a safe space to talk through problems and engage in creative solutions?
-Do you encourage your staff to think outside of the box with each unique problem they are facing?

5. Examining Affirmation of Strengths

-Does your school employ any personality, work, or temperament testing?
-There are many resources available for each of these, but honing in on what is most important and mission-fit for your school is important.
-Understanding the person and how they are designed to thrive helps to actively ensure each of your teachers feels seen and heard.
-Turnover issues can be rooted back into the dignity of the person.
-When each person feels valued and encouraged in the way that they need. It is easier to engender career loyalty.
-Tell us something good; what is your outlook?
-If you examine the chatter in your administrative office, from parents, from staff, from students, are there any common themes?
-Pivoting toward affirmation of the good can serve to lift the mood of the whole school, and it starts in the hub of the school.
-Do staff look forward to stepping into the office to make a copy or pick up their mail?

Strategies as Unique and Unrepeatable as Your School

The essence of staff retention is to develop strategies that are as unique and unrepeatable as your school and the people in it. When you tap into the optimal potential of each person, they feel invested in and seen. We’ve seen the best practices of successful Catholic schools across the nation. Let’s work together to build strong Catholic schools.