Here’s what Mesa Public Schools is doing to attract, retain teachers

Aug 19, 2022, 4:45 AM
Mesa Public Schools photo...
Mesa Public Schools photo

PHOENIX — As Arizona schools continue to experience a teacher shortage, the state’s largest school district is rolling out a new approach meant to help retain and recruit teachers.

Mesa Public Schools has teams of teachers working together to meet the unique learning needs of students.

Students are split up based on where they are academically and assigned to a team, which can include anywhere from two to six teachers. The students rotate throughout the day to cover various subjects.

“Putting teachers on a team we are finding to be really successful,” MPS Superintendent Andi Fourlis told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Fourlis explained it’s helping teachers meet the needs of students while also providing them support so they’re not alone in a large classroom.

“Often times our teachers are not leaving the profession, they’re leaving the working conditions,” she said. “Those working conditions become so difficult when we have one teacher in one classroom trying to serve all of the needs of their 30 students.”

Fourlis noted the current working conditions are also making it difficult to find teachers to hire.

A recent survey conducted by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association found more than 2,200 teacher positions remained unfilled mid-June, just before the new school year began.

“In order for us to fix this problem, we must fix the working conditions of our teachers,” Fourlis said.

The district made up of 85 schools is working with Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College to implement this new teaching model.

So far, 28 of the Mesa Public Schools have at least one team of teachers working together. The goal is to have teams in half of the district’s schools by next year.

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Here’s what Mesa Public Schools is doing to attract, retain teachers