The interim is in full swing! We’d like to bring you up to date on some of the discussion and bills that have the potential to impact Wyoming women, girls, and families. We’re starting with teacher retention and recruitment. We encourage you to share the information with others! Listen to the Joint Education Committee discussion here.
Teacher Retention and Recruitment
Teachers (71% of whom are women) and school counselors are burned out and leaving the profession at high levels. The Teacher Retention and Recruitment Taskforce tackled the issue and presented the committee with several recommendations.
- School leaders have voiced a need for leadership training and support. They suggested creating a School Leadership Academy, consisting of education leaders from across the state.
- Teachers have expressed that much of the required credentialing isn’t relevant to their field. Creating additional opportunities for teachers to earn micro-credentials (competency-based credits that are often focused on one area of education), including credentialing around behavioral intervention and prevention, would create trainings that are meaningful to the work of the teacher.
- Focus on the whole child including early screenings for mental and emotional health needs and giving children (as young as pre-K) the tools and language needed to talk about their emotions and feelings. Additionally, the taskforce would like to ensure that elementary schools with over 250 kids have at least one mental health specialist, and that middle and high schools with over 250 students staff one psychologist and one behavior specialist. They recommended that small schools and districts have at least one full-time behavior specialist.
- Create a sustainable scholarship program that could be applied to those seeking education degrees at UW or a Wyoming community college. This would incentivize more teachers to enter the field and help address the teacher shortage.
- Re-envision education to be more relevant and responsive to the 21st century and to align more with Profile of a Graduate and RIDE goals. The taskforce recommended less emphasis on Wyoming standardized WYTOPP test scores and more emphasis on classroom and school level data.
- Compensate certified staff at 85% of comparable professions and provide cost of living expense increase.
- Implement a pre-service program which would allow future educators to obtain their degrees via community colleges and/or a hybrid experience. This would create opportunities for potential future teachers to earn a degree, especially in more rural areas.
- Place student teachers in the field sooner and include behavioral management strategies.
Educators have valuable insight and have come up with informed, common-sense recommendations. WYWF encourages the committee to continue research the recommendations and take action to ensure that Wyoming’s education workforce is healthy and high-quality. While finding funding to cover the cost of some of the recommendations might be challenging, they are worth considering; strategies that retain healthy and happy educators are good for families and children too!
Are you interested in any of these topics? Sign up to be a Power Advocate to get all the Interim and WYWF Advocacy event updates.
Contact us with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org