The Staying Power of Stars: Addressing Teacher Retention in Urban, High-Poverty Schools
Deana J. Ford, Ph. D.; Sueanne E. McKinney, Ph. D. & Cynthia Tomovic, Ph. D.

Abstract

A qualitative content analysis was employed to examine what factors contributed to effective teachers’ selection and retention in urban high poverty schools. First, the Star Teacher Interview was used to identify effective urban educators. Then, verbal interviews were conducted with star subjects to determine factors that contributed to their selection and decision to remain in urban high-poverty districts. An inductive analysis process revealed emerging and reoccurring themes. Four major factors were identified that influenced STAR teachers’ decision to begin their career in an urban school district and/or Title I school: giving back to the community, diversity, location, and autonomy. Three major factors were identified that influenced STAR teachers’ decision to continue their career beyond five years in an urban school district and/or Title I school: job satisfaction, effective with population, and perseverance. Implications of this study suggest that urban districts work closely with practicum and observation students from the universities who show promise in working with culturally diverse children. Providing teacher candidates with rich experiences in urban schools may positively impact their decision to work in urban settings.