Teachers cite reasons for leaving division

The teacher turnover rate in Shenandoah County Public Schools was 15 percent for the 2015-2016 school year, compared to 12 percent in 2013-2014.

Linda Hodges, the division’s supervisor of human resources, said that while it increased, the turnover rate is still below the national average of 20 percent.

Teachers leaving their jobs were asked to fill out an exit survey on why they chose to leave.

“We had 54 teachers respond to the exit survey,” she said.

She said this year’s Top 5 reasons why teachers left the Shenandoah County school division are:

1. Lack of support from community leaders
2. Lack of respect from parents/community for the teaching profession
3. Financial reasons (reduction in health insurance contribution/salary)
4. Overwhelmed
5. Too many initiatives

Hodges said teachers were asked to mark the reasons they were leaving, and could mark more than one answer. These reasons included career change, retirement, relocation, going back to school, health insurance rates, health reasons, took a similar job in another school division for financial reasons, promotion in another school division, lack of community support, demands of the job, immediate supervisor, or other.

If they marked the “other” category, they were provided space to explain. Follow-up conversations were held to clarify specific reasons.

She added that the results were similar to last year’s exit survey that was conducted online only and did not include follow-up conversations. The top reasons indicated last year were insufficient resources, lack of involvement in decisions that impact their work, financial reasons, overloaded and unsupported by parents and the community.

She said to keep teachers in the division, changes need to happen, such as providing competitive teacher salaries and benefits, providing a quality mentoring program for teachers, continuing to include teachers in school and division-wide decision making, expanding opportunities for career ladders and leadership development, and furthering outreach in the recruiting program.

Hodges said the school division hired 114 new staff, which included 76 teachers – including seven school counselors, one librarian and five administrators – one school nurse, one secretary, one bookkeeper, seven custodians, eight food service workers, 12 paraprofessionals, two job coaches, one cafeteria monitor, three drivers, one career counseling coach and one technology technician.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com