- An elementary school with consistently low marks on Colorado’s state rating system is showing promise of change under new stable leadership and a positive school culture, Chalkbeat Colorado reports.
- High staff turnover was among the challenges facing Central Elementary School in the Adams 14 School District. Before Principal Deana Valadez-Barnes arrived in 2016, the school went through five principals in five years. Teacher retention has also improved.
- Central is currently being managed by a private company, which plans to seek innovation status for the school to give the leadership more time to see positive results. Meanwhile, parents are becoming less skeptical that Valadez-Barnes can actually make a difference..
Turnover affects productivity in any workplace environment. But in schools, it also affects the future. According to a recent report by the Learning Policy Institute, “Turnover is a serious issue across the country.” As of 2016-17, when Valadez-Barnes arrived at her post at Central, the national average tenure of principals was four years. Other research puts the average superintendent tenure at six years.
Only 11% of principals had been at their schools for a decade or more. Some reasons for this include poor working conditions, low salaries and insufficient resources and support. Measuring the effect principals have on student achievement can be tricky, according to a recent policy brief by the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research Policymakers Council.
Often, it can be difficult to separate the principal from the overall effect a school has on students, even though many school factors are not under principals’ control, it states. But the research is clear that good principals are better at keeping around good teachers -- and vice versa -- which, of course, has a direct impact on student learning.