Missouri’s plan for teacher recruitment takes shape

Blue Ribbon Commission issues recommendations for Classroom management, reorganization
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 6:46 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Missouri has the equivalent of more than 3,500 full-time teacher vacancies, according to the most recent data released in May 2023. That number includes both teaching jobs that are not filled and teaching jobs that are currently being filled by someone who doesn’t have the proper qualifications.

Over the past year, a Blue Ribbon Commission has been looking into what caused this problem and how to solve it.

“We’re getting kind of the point where we need to kind of see what’s working, what’s working in certain areas and what’s not,” said Matt Michelson, Education Policy Director for the Missouri State Teachers Association.

Missouri has consistently ranked among the states with the lowest average salary for teachers. However, he said culture and climate are also large contributing factors to the difficulty with recruitment and retention.

“When we’ve done surveys in the past, climate and culture has certainly been top of mind for educators on whether or not they want to go into the profession, whether or not they’re thinking about leaving the profession if they’re veteran teachers,” Michelson said.

The Blue Ribbon Commission presented its final report and recommendations to the State Board of Education Monday.

“We believe that these recommendations address those concerns and pave the way for an education system that provides teachers with comprehensive supports and opportunities, keeping them in the classrooms where they are needed, and attracting new teachers into the profession,” said the commission’s chairman, Mark Walker.

The Commission’s recommendations are outlined as follows:

Immediate Support for Classroom Management

  • Investigate opportunities to expand apprenticeship and residency programs across Missouri to place more high-quality teacher candidates in classrooms.
  • Work with Missouri education organizations to market opportunities to teachers who have retired or otherwise left the classroom to return in a support role.

Evidence-Based Models for Reorganizing Schools

  • Conduct an assessment to determine whether any local education agencies (LEAs), including administrators and teachers, are currently using an advanced teaching roles model and, if so, which ones, and then develop a best practices document for statewide distribution.
  • Establish a voluntary annual evaluation and reporting process for LEAs that have adopted an advanced teaching roles model to inform continued sharing of best practices.
  • Review Career Ladder program statutes and regulations to ensure it can support advanced teaching roles as a source of funding.
  • Work with the legislature to establish a grant funding process for LEAs implementing an advanced teaching roles model.
  • Provide resources and guidance to LEAs on accessing alternative funding sources to support implementation.
  • Provide support at the Regional Professional Development Center level for district and school leaders who are implementing advanced teaching roles.

Master Teaching Certification

  • Work with stakeholders to explore the creation of a master teaching certificate.
  • Create uses and/or compensation for the master teaching certificate.

School and District Leadership

  • Work with the Missouri School Boards’ Association to ensure that training for school board members includes their role in supporting a positive school culture and climate.
  • Work with the Missouri Association of School Administrators to ensure that training for district leaders includes their role in supporting a positive school culture and climate.
  • Expand the Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS) to serve all principals and assistant principals statewide, including the possibility of an annual appropriation to fund this expansion.
  • Use MLDS programming to further support principals’ work to develop a positive school climate and culture, including effective student discipline.
  • Collect additional data on the demographics of MLDS participants to monitor and ensure that Missouri is producing and supporting high-quality school leaders statewide who are able to support a teacher workforce that reflects the demographics of the state’s student population.

Read the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations by following this link.