Dissertation

Retaining an Urban School's Most Valuable Assets: How Team Collaboration Supports Retention in One Urban School

This study was a mixed method analysis concerned with explaining trends in urban secondary teacher retention within the Northern California Bay Area. A study addressing how Professional Learning Communities impact urban school organizations is important to the future reform efforts for urban districts. The study focuses on factors that affect teacher retention of urban school environments, including understanding how factors such as teacher collaboration affect urban school working conditions in terms of their impact on teacher retention. Understanding how teacher collaboration programs are effectively implemented and maintained will help urban school leaders better understand how to align resources to support their ability to retain effective teachers. The reasons urban high school teachers decide to stay or leave their classroom positions is of specific interest to the state of California and the nation as a whole (Danenberg, Jepsen, & Cerdan, 2002). Surveys were sent to 82 teachers from a comprehensive high school located in a large urban district and 29 completed surveys were returned. In addition, two focus groups were conducted to fill holes from the survey data. Lastly, 6 interview participants were purposefully selected from the target population. Data were analyzed concurrently. All independent variables, gender, ethnicity, and years of experience were found to be significant. This study supported the claim that as a teacher's spent more time collaborating their willingness look for other positions decreased. The effects of teacher's spending more time collaborating help the teacher teams develop a deeper sense of connectedness as a result of teacher collaboration practices. Additionally, this study supported the notion that transformational leadership, as an element of Professional Learning Communities, is a significant component for improving teacher retention at the local school.

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