Tips To Recruit and Retain Qualified Teachers for Your Catholic High School
Catholic high schools play an important role in preparing students for the future by providing them with the spiritual and academic foundation they need to succeed and become faith-based, contributing members of society. Unfortunately, finding and retaining qualified teachers to help carry out this mission is increasingly difficult.
According to a recent report from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, there are more than 36,500 teacher vacancies in the United States and over 163,500 positions filled by underqualified teachers. While these numbers paint a relatively dire picture for the education system today, all hope is not lost. With the right strategy, and a little creativity, you can find and retain qualified teachers for your Catholic high school.
Best-fit teacher recruitment
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that public school teachers make an average of 32.8% more than their private school counterparts. Most Catholic schools cannot compete with public schools on compensation. Therefore, it’s important to think strategically about what else motivates someone to work at a Catholic school.
Many educators choose to teach at a Catholic school because they feel it is a calling. They value their role in the academic and spiritual formation of students and appreciate the faith-based, supportive community that a Catholic school offers. Many of these individuals have experienced the benefits of a Catholic school education first hand. They have attended a Catholic school themselves, sent a loved one to a Catholic school, or spent time teaching at one. This makes Catholic school alumni, parishioners and other members of the Catholic community a viable pool of people to prioritize in your recruitment efforts.
Here are a few examples of how you can access qualified educators from within this community of Catholic school believers:
- Reach out to alumni who graduated from your high school and are currently teaching, studying to become a teacher or considering a career change. If they had a positive experience at your school, they may welcome the opportunity to rejoin your school and faith community as a teacher.
- Contact some of the many Catholic Teacher Corps, like Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) or Loyola Marymount University’s PLACE Corps, to gain access to talented graduates with Catholic school teaching experience and training.
- Start an in-house formation program to provide recent college graduates with a path to learn, excel and become a teacher at your school. Promote the program to your church and school community, as well as Catholic colleges. Many high schools have started these programs often referred to as Alumni Service Corps (ASC). Marquette University High School’s ASC is celebrating its 30th year this fall.
- Work with religious volunteer organizations, such as Jesuit Volunteer Corps or Seattle University Mathematics (SUM) Corps, to provide students or other faith-driven individuals with service, networking and learning opportunities that could lead to a permanent teaching position at your school.
- Team up with other Catholic high schools that are struggling to fill teaching positions or find teachers with specialized training or qualifications. They may be open to creative solutions like a teacher-share arrangement where qualified teachers fill course needs at both schools.
- Recruit Catholic school teachers from outside your geographic location and allow them to teach remotely. This will allow you to access a larger pool of qualified educators.
- Partner with an accredited, online-learning provider, like Catholic Virtual, to access quality, Catholic-school trained educators. This is a great way to bypass recruitment altogether while ensuring that you have quality teachers to lead courses, including those that require specialized or advanced teaching qualifications.
- Ask your Catholic community of coaches, civic leaders, priests, parents, business professionals and others to co-teach, fill temporary openings, guest speak or undergo training to assist other teachers or fill open positions.
Recruitment and retention work together
Recruitment and retention go hand in hand. If you recruit teachers who are a good fit for your Catholic high school, you are more likely to retain them for the long term. Conversely, if you work hard to retain your teachers by offering programs and perks that address their wants, needs and pain points — recruitment will be a lot easier.
If you think about it, a teacher’s first day in the classroom isn’t that much different than their last day, 10, 20, 40 years later. We expect teachers to go into a classroom and stay engaged and excited for years, all without the flexibility and benefits that many other professions offer. Finding creative ways to inspire, enrich, excite and empower teachers to lead with more autonomy, flexibility and passion is one way to drive retention, and in turn, recruit more best-fit teachers for your high school.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Give teachers flex days to dedicate toward a passion project, enrichment event or other activity that aligns with their subject-matter expertise. They will appreciate the self-improvement time, but may also gain inspiration and knowledge they can bring back to the classroom.
- After a certain number of years, give teachers the opportunity to take a sabbatical for a semester. They’ll look forward to the change of pace and come back refreshed and renewed.
- Reward teachers for milestones and achievements to show you appreciate their loyalty and hard work. Let them choose from a list of rewards, such as gift cards, lunch outings, a subscription to Audible or Hallow, an extra day off or another creative idea.
- Create an annual “Teacher of the Year” award that recognizes one teacher each year for their outstanding achievements and commitment. If possible, add a monetary element to the reward and present the winner with a lifesize cardboard check during a public ceremony.
- Employ a director of faculty formation< who works with teachers on their professional and spiritual development.
- Offer fun engagement opportunities for teachers, such as a faculty field trip to a local attraction or a book club that features staff picks like “Teach Like a Champion,” “Tattoos on the Heart” and “Learning to Pray.”
- Introduce different learning modalities, such as online courses for virtual learning, in-person and remote guest speakers and video lectures, to give teachers and students more variety and flexibility. As technology continues to play a larger role in academics and the professional world, you may want to think about how it can benefit your overall Catholic school experience.
- Consider the work of Brent Maddin from Arizona State University and build a team of adults who can share a roster of students. This will provide teachers with more flexibility, socialization, variety and autonomy. For more on this approach,listen to “The Next Class 2.0” podcast featuring Brent Maddin.
Meet Catholic Virtual
Catholic Virtual is the online partner that hundreds of Catholic schools worldwide trust to help them overcome their recruitment and retention challenges. With current teacher shortages, it’s harder than ever for schools to find — much less retain — qualified teachers.
By partnering with Catholic Virtual, you can continue to provide the high-quality Catholic education you are known for, without the staffing and operational burden. As a Cognia accredited, Catholic school partner, we develop the curriculum, provide qualified teachers, supply a reliable technology platform and handle student communication, grading, technical support and more. Take the pressure off recruitment and lighten the load for your existing teachers with a remote, online learning solution that’s designed specifically for Catholic schools.
To learn more about Catholic Virtual and how we can help with your recruitment and retention efforts, please visit catholicvirtual.com today or call 772-362-1754.
There are many options available to expand your school’s course catalog with online learning, but very few provide the combination of academic excellence, expertise in online instruction, and Catholic values your school needs.
Catholic schools are renowned for their commitment to academic excellence and religious education. However, in today’s evolving landscape, Catholic schools face unique challenges in retaining students and fostering enrollment growth. One way to help schools engage students and appeal to a wider audience is by expanding the curriculum with online courses—providing many benefits to students and your school. In this guide, we will explore the benefits of integrating online courses and provide practical insights to help navigate this path successfully.
Benefits of Integrating Online Courses
To meet the diverse needs of your students, expanding the course catalog through online courses offers several advantages. Keep reading to discover six key benefits of integrating online courses into a traditional Catholic school:
Increase the attractiveness of your school to prospective and current students
- A robust offering of courses, including a wide range of electives, increases the attractiveness of your school and improves the chances a student will enroll. Online courses from a quality partner allow you to attract new students with a wide selection of interesting courses such as Advanced Placement® and honors, web design, business, cybersecurity, music, and more.
- Students attending your school are more engaged in learning, and more likely to stay enrolled in your school, when you have an interesting array of course options.
- Courses from an accredited partner with high-quality teaching can provide a learning experience with the same high standards as you deliver in the classroom.
Offer flexible learning options
- Many online courses can be taken as an independent study, with students learning outside the classroom on a very flexible schedule. This allows students to take additional courses without interfering with their regular school schedule.
- A hybrid learning approach, with students learning in person and online, can provide a very engaging learning experience due to its flexibility and the combination of in-person, online, and independent instruction and study methods.
Provide an easy option for high school students to recover lost credits
- Even the best students sometimes struggle with a subject in high school and fail to earn credit toward graduation. Online courses are ideal for high school credit recovery because they are created to focus on the subject matter a student needs to learn to be successful and adapt accordingly.
- Credit recovery courses can be completed in less than a full semester, making them ideal for learning during the summer. Online credit recovery courses can be delivered without hiring another teacher to instruct during the summer break.
Give Students the Opportunity to Learn Over the Summer
- Your school can offer an extensive range of courses during the summer when they are delivered online. Summertime is an excellent time for students to explore new topics, move ahead in their studies, or make up lost high school credits. An online learning provider can supply your school with a wide variety of courses during the summer, from core, to elective, to religion courses.
- You can avoid many of the administrative tasks associated with running a summer school program when you partner with an online education provider, allowing you to focus instead on preparing for the upcoming school year.
Fulfill the school’s mission of providing religious instruction
- Central to a Catholic school education is instruction in faith. Online religion courses can give your school flexibility and add depth to your religious instructional offerings. While not a replacement to in-person religious instruction, online courses can be an excellent complement to your program.
- A high-quality, online, Catholic school partner is equipped to help you deliver on your school’s mission to educate the mind and spirit of your students. Choose to partner with an organization that can deliver not only on academic excellence, but also understands the central role of the Catholic faith in your school.
Offer cost-effective and flexible solutions
- There is no need to hire additional teachers. For example, if students in your school are interested in learning Latin, you may struggle to find a qualified teacher. With an online course, a highly qualified Latin teacher can instruct your students from wherever they live, saving you the trouble of hiring and the cost of a teacher’s salary.
- There are no minimum class sizes. If you have one student or 30 students interested in a subject, an online course can readily accommodate both scenarios. For specialized subjects where student demand may be unpredictable, you do not need to worry about having to cancel a course if enrollment is insufficient—or bear the cost of teaching a very small class.
- An online course may cost less than your school’s tuition, giving you the opportunity to use this difference to improve students’ learning experience in other ways.
- Online courses can be up and running quickly, allowing you to add courses even up until soon before the start of the semester.
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