Polk County teacher turnover rate among lowest in state

Published 10:53 am Friday, December 12, 2008

Polk&squo;s five-year average was 9.54 percent, the 16th lowest in the state. Weldon City had the highest at 23.82 percent, while Camden County had the lowest at 6.67 percent.

Rutherford County&squo;s five-year average was 8.68 percent, Henderson County&squo;s was 9.98 percent and Mecklenburg County&squo;s was 15.38 percent.

The turnover rate identifies the number of teachers who left the profession by school system at the conclusion of each school year. The turnover rate includes teacher retirements.

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Polk County Schools Supt. Bill Miller says the report shows that Polk has a positive working environment for teachers compared to many other districts in the state. He says that is the result of many factors, including parents, students and the community.

&dquo;Polk County Schools is a good place to work,&dquo; says Miller. &dquo;We have parents who expect kids to get a good education. We have students who want to get one and we have a community that supports education.

&dquo;All of that makes you feel like you are part of something that is valued in our community and I just think professional educators appreciate being a part of that.&dquo;

Polk County Schools Personnel Director Jim Patterson said the report reflects what administrators and many others already know about the school system, while it also provides further analysis of turnover.

&dquo;We have a great environment for our professional staff,&dquo; said Patterson. &dquo;While our turnover percentage is lower than most LEAs (Local Education Agencies), the report does provide us with information that will help us to further reduce our turnover in future years.&dquo;

Specifically, the report identifies reasons why teachers left. For Polk County Schools in the 2007-2008 year, the report shows that 17 of the district&39;s 198 teachers left at the end of the year.

Of those 17, three left but are remaining in education, six left for reasons beyond their control, four left for reasons that might be reduced and four left for reasons initiated by the school district.

The report identifies reasons that might be reduced as resigning to teach in a non-public/private school, resigning to teach in another state, resigning because of dissatisfaction with teaching, resigning for a career change or resigning because they did not obtain or maintain a teaching license.

Supt. Miller says maintaining a low teacher turnover rate is an important part of maintaining quality education programs.

School districts that have high turnover rates, he says, spend much of their time and resources training new teachers.&bsp; He adds that school districts with high turnover see many of their teachers leave soon after they are trained so the district never fully benefits from the time and resources spent on training.