CCISD retains teachers through various benefit programs
Special to Leader-Press
CCISD hires approximately 100 new teachers annually. With a shortage for school teachers nationwide, CCISD is now growing its own through classroom aides and launched a paraprofessional education assistance program this year. Brandy Petty, who works as the parent liaison at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy, was quick to put in her application.
“Being a single mom, it is not easy to successfully work, raise children, and go to school, but I have been fortunate to be a part of a district that believes in its employees and helps to build them up however it can,” Petty said. “To hear Dr. Burns tell my principal often that I am going to teach for CCISD one day, and then ensure that there is money for me to reach that goal speaks volumes.”
The purpose of the program is to provide an incentive that will encourage instructional aides, like Petty, to pursue a degree in teaching. The benefit to CCISD is the local pool of qualified teaching applicants is increased, allowing the district to fill positions sooner with quality applicants.
CCISD also reinstituted its graduate education assistance program which pays the tuition for classroom teachers seeking graduate degrees in the education field. The purpose of the program is to provide an incentive that will encourage educators to pursue graduate hours/master’s degrees in a content area, said CCISD Chief of Staff Barbara Tate.
“The benefit to the district is that as participants take graduate hours in a content area and the coursework enhances their capacity to teach at higher levels,” Tate said.
The financial support to paraprofessionals and teachers furthering their teaching degrees are only two of the many programs CCISD instituted to not only draw teachers but to retain them in the district. To provide additional support to teachers, CCISD developed a support program called MORE for teachers new to the profession or new to CCISD. Mentoring Employees One-on-One with Resources and Encouragement provides mentoring for teachers new to the profession for up to two years.
“The purpose of MORE is to connect new teachers with mentors that are specifically matched to provide one-on-one on-going support,” Tate said. “The goal of the program is to provide purposeful, structured and systemic support services for teachers new to CCISD as well as improve teacher instruction and retain teachers in the district.”
The school district has enrolled in Performance Based Academic Coaching Teams which is a program offered through Texas A&M University. It provides an easily accessible online resources for new teachers and their mentors.
Using the name of the popular school mascot, the Bulldawg, CCISD’s human resources department in partnership with the curriculum department, created Dawg Treats, which are monthly bite-sized professional development learning opportunities throughout the year on hot topics and goal genre subjects on which teachers are evaluated.
“The trainings are open to all teachers and instructional paraprofessionals and are completely voluntary,” Tate said.
The district recently completed a salary review ensuring that its compensation for its employees is comparable to neighboring districts so staff are not leaving CCISD because of salaries. CCISD offers the additional benefit of paying hundreds of dollars toward its employees’ insurance each month as an additional incentive to remain in the district.