Other situations which makes the supply and demand situation in Alaska is the increased amount of time which is needed to certify the teachers as well as other difficulties in the certification procedures of the state. The state has a teacher placement program which is a not-for-profit clearinghouse for placing teachers across the whole state. This was setup by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in the year 1997. This clearinghouse conducts the activity of recruitment of teachers as well as maintaining a job bank which is accessible on the internet LaBerge, 1999()
The state of Oklahoma, on the other hand, found that the rural districts need more early childhood development and elementary teachers. They also found that the rural districts have the greatest need for teachers. These rural districts account for two-thirds of the school districts in Oklahoma as well as about one-fifth of all the educators in the state. The study in Oklahoma also showed that there is more need for understanding why there are more Oklahoma students who are trained to become teachers than those who are actually hired by schools in Oklahoma Collins, 1999()
Mississippi as a state gives their teachers scholarships, college course, high-school to college programs and other loans to incentivize them to serve in the rural areas which are experiencing shortages in the number of teachers required. Other incentives include home loans and rental housing schemes. Mississippi also boasts of a professional who is a department of education staff member and who is involved in the recruitment of new teachers both in the state and out of the state Collins, 1999()
Florida conducted changes in their legislation and especially in their department of education which set up a teacher recruitment and retention services office whose task was to advertise the position in the targeted areas of state and to provide information that relates to the certification and sponsorship of the Future Educator Program of the state. For those areas which are experiencing critical shortages, the legislature of the state created a program which forgives those loans that the teachers owe in exchange for them providing teaching services to the rural districts. This helped to rectify the situation with the shortages greatly. The state of Pennsylvania also has a similar setup with their legislature Collins, 1999()
The state of South Carolina established a center for recruitment of teachers in the year 1986 which provides support to the various programs and activities in the education sector in the state. This includes the ProTeam Program which is a course and a club which introduces seventh and eighth grade students to take up teaching as their future career. There is also the teacher cadet program which serves as an "introduction-to-teaching" class for twelfth grade students who can take it for a college credit. Thirdly, there is the program for teaching assistants which serves to complement the teacher cadet program and allows students to work with the teachers especially in areas which are experiencing critical shortages. Fourth is the teacher job bank. Next is the EXPO that is held to recruit teachers. Lastly, there are two scholarship programs which are conducted for prospective teachers. As a result of these state programs, there are many organizations which participate in the recruitment efforts in South Carolina. For example, the MATE (Minority Access to Teacher Education) program which is run by Benedict's College encourages students from rural school districts and those which are underdeveloped who are bound for college to teach in these rural communities and in those subject areas that have dire shortages in the number of teachers. The program also provides scholarships, counseling, financial assistance and tutoring for the members of the program Collins, 1999()
Attracting and retaining teachers in small schools in Idaho
In a study conducted on the schools in Idaho, it was found that the attractiveness of the school's learning and teaching environment is the most important factor in making sure retention rates for teachers are high. This is also reflected in the local culture of the school, the community and the needs of the individual as well as the competencies of other stakeholders in the education sector. It is important to recognize that there is no teacher who will be willing to serve in a school district where the teaching and learning environment is not positive. Therefore, local school administrators must create a meaningful and purposeful environment for the teachers. This also helps to reduce the issues of isolation that were identified in the first study described above Lowe, 2006()
Other attributes that are required to ensure a high teacher retention rate include making the school environment safe and conducive for fostering learning and teaching. Secondly is to identify a school mission that incorporate the views, values and ideologies of the staff members and which the staff members can share in and which amplifies the set goals for the school. Third is the improvement of the school's assessment measures for both staff members and students as well as to improve the accountability of all staff members. There is also setting high expectations for the learning of each student to make sure the students get the highest quality of education achievable Lowe, 2006()
There should also be frequent monitoring of progress of the students to check whether they are achieving the set goals and milestones. The program should be well developed to involve the parents and the community at large. Lastly is the realization that when teachers are happy with their jobs, they are better motivated and they put in more effort to make sure they perform better. They are also more likely to endure the hardships of the rural district thus improving the employee retention rate of this area Lowe, 2006()
The state also managed to attract and retain their teaching staff by introducing the use of better forms of technology in the teaching and learning environment. This included the replacement of chalkboards with whiteboards and the introduction of projectors. These made the staff feel challenged and feel that there was more they needed to do for the community thus the state was able to improve their employee retention and attraction rates Lowe, 2006()
Other activities that have been essential in improving the retention and attraction rates in rural school districts in Idaho include provision of quality housing for the teachers, proper budgeting for teacher recruitment programs as well as trainings and forums for teachers to express themselves in order to address their issues, and lastly, focusing on planning at the school level to ensure there are no shortages in the number of staff available Lowe, 2006()
There have been several efforts used in the different states, as evidenced in the literature referenced above, which have proved to be successful in improving the retention and attraction rates for teaching staff. These include incentives for the teachers in the rural areas as well as having recruitment programs for these rural districts. If the same programs are applied in this school district, they are also bound to bring about a huge improvement in the retention and attraction of teaching staff. Most of the efforts to improve the teacher retention and attraction rates in the various states have been successful. However, they are hindered by one major thing which is the shortage of funding. Therefore, it is essential that these efforts be coupled with availing the necessary funding for these programs. This calls for partnership with other stakeholders in the education sector such as non-profit organizations, investors, government leaders, etc. The community also needs to be involved. By making the rural school districts attractive in a cultural way as well as having the incentive programs for the new teachers, it will lead them to prefer these rural school districts to the urban school districts.
Bradley, a. (1998). Uneven distribution contributes to teacher shortages, study warns, Education Week.
Collins, T. (1999). Attracting and retaining teachers in rural areas. Charleston, WV: Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC).
LaBerge, M.E. (1999). 1998 statewide educator supply & demand report: State of Alaska. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska Teacher Placement.
Lowe, J.M. (2006). Rural Education: Attracting and Retaining Teachers in Small Schools. The Rural Educator, Winter (2006), 28-32.
Murphy, P.J., & Angelski, K. (1996). Rural teacher mobility: A report from…