Teacher Recruitment And Retention


During the March 6 meeting of the Board of Education of Anne Arundel County, the board was briefed on the latest retention figures and recruitment initiatives as well as the latest diversity data. Corresponding with Pillar 2 of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future — high-quality and diverse teachers and leaders — Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) has been focused on this issue long before the blueprint became law.

Pillar 2 focuses on elevating teachers and school leadership by increasing pay, implementing a performance-based career ladder, substantially increasing the rigor of teacher preparation, and improving recruitment and professional development efforts to create and sustain a teaching faculty that better reflects the racial and ethnic makeup of the student body.

You might be asking yourself why workforce diversity is important. According to Drexel University’s School of Education, fostering inclusion and awareness around multicultural education and taking a culturally responsive approach to teaching benefits all students. Not only does creating greater multicultural awareness and inclusion help students with different backgrounds and needs succeed, but it also encourages acceptance and prepares students to thrive in an exponentially diverse world.

The struggle has always been real regarding teacher recruitment in Maryland. A net importer, Maryland hasn’t grown enough educators within state lines for at least a decade. Only 45% of our educators hail from Maryland colleges and universities, while 55% attended schools out of state.

Even more complicated is recruiting teachers of color. While 33% of Maryland’s students are Black, only 20% of its educators are Black. AACPS’ numbers reflect statewide figures. Currently, 19.8% of its teaching workforce is Black, 67.9% are white, 6.5% are Hispanic, and a mere 1.9% are Asian.

Despite the challenges, AACPS is turning lemons into lemonade, and recruited candidates at 70 job recruitment fairs during the 2022-2023 school year in 11 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) national virtual job fair, partnering with nearly 30 colleges and universities. Additionally, AACPS moved from 19th to fourth among Maryland jurisdictions for new teacher compensation in alignment with the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. The 2023-2024 school year has also seen a 13% increase in the applicant pool over last year – another sign that our efforts are paying off.

In terms of retention, the sun is shining a bit brighter than it used to. Staffing has improved in every corner of the school system over last year, from bus drivers to food service workers to custodians. Coming out of COVID, turnover spiked at 13% for our teaching force over the 7% to 8% seen in recent years. That number is on the decline at 10% this past academic year. I suspect as we get deeper into blueprint implementation, most specifically in terms of solidifying the educator career ladder, turnover rates will continue to decrease.

Overall, AACPS is on a healthy trajectory in terms of recruitment and retention this year. I am grateful to Superintendent Dr. Bedell and his staff for their efforts to right the ship over these past two academic years.

As always, you can reach me at dschallheim@aacps.org and 443-534-2660 or contact me on social media.


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