Date of Award

Fall 8-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Second Advisor

Dr. Terry Stewart

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Abstract

The design of this descriptive study is to identify those factors contributing to the high rate of early career teacher attrition and to identify a means for its reduction. The subjects for this study were limited to teachers from the southwest section of a Midwestern state. Five school districts were randomly selected based upon the researcher having previously met school district personnel in various professional settings and request letters were sent to superintendents and building principals. Voluntary teacher participation in completing a short, internet-based survey served as the basis with five districts responding. These districts, while confined to a southwest portion of a Midwestern state, are demographically representative of school districts across the nation by including both suburban and rural. Additionally, districts included in the distribution of this survey dispersed across the socio-economic spectrum as well as being representative in along the continuum in areas of ethnicity, free/reduced lunch, and other special populations. The researcher developed the survey instrument for this study. Responses from the survey were limited to data collected during the 2008 school year. A longer period of data collection could be beneficial in order to identify existing trends. Implementing a formal mentoring program has surfaced as a vital tool in shaping educators today. Additionally, these programs need to be comprehensive, coherent, and sustained in order to be effective. They should incorporate many activities and serve many people while also being logically connected and supportive, making a smooth transition for new teachers as they engage in professional development programs offered by their districts (Portner, iii 2005). The focus was to determine whether the 51 responding teachers in a small, southwest region of a Midwestern state value participation in a mentoring program within the first five years as an important factor in teacher retention.

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