Effective Strategies for Teacher Retention

Explore these resources to reduce teacher burnout, stress, & attrition and to help teachers feel more supported, confident, & happy in their work.


Teacher retention has been top of mind for school and district leaders for years...

...well before the challenge was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite well-intentioned leaders, programs, and initiatives, many teachers continue to feel unsupported, overwhelmed, and burned out, with more deciding to leave either their current school or the profession entirely than ever before.

With each school and district faced with unique needs, it’s impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all solution to high teacher turnover rates. The good news is that we know certain teacher retention strategies to be extremely effective when implemented thoughtfully and in collaboration with teachers themselves.

Join us as we dive into the world of teacher retention, explore the strategies proven to help schools retain teachers while creating a nurturing environment wherein educators and students alike can thrive, and unlock the secrets to sustaining these effective teacher retention strategies for the long haul.

Why is addressing teacher retention so important?

The impact of retaining more teachers cannot be overstated. In short, retaining teachers isn’t just about the simple act of keeping staff. It's about creating an environment that ensures teachers are excited to come to work, parents are eager to enroll their kids in the neighborhood public school, and students get the learning experiences that they deserve.

Here are just a few reasons why addressing teacher turnover matters:

Consistency and Stability:

Retained teachers provide continuity in the classroom. When teachers stay, students benefit from consistent and stable learning environments, building stronger relationships and trust with their educators.

Improved Student Outcomes:

Consistent teachers often yield better academic results. By staying in one place and becoming familiar with the nuances of a given school community, teachers can better tailor their instruction to individual needs and contribute to higher student achievement.

Financial Cost:

High teacher turnover is expensive. By retaining more teachers, schools can reduce the high costs associated with recruitment, hiring, and training and allocate resources more effectively.

Enhanced School Culture & Reputation:

Schools with a reputation for effective teacher support and high teacher retention attract both students and educators. A stable, experienced teaching staff can positively influence a school's image within the community, leading not only to increased student enrollment but to a positive school culture that teachers and staff want to be a part of.

Teacher Well-Being:

High teacher turnover is typically a symptom of teacher burnout. By prioritizing effective educator support, leaders are able to improve the overall well-being of their staff, reduce stress levels and burnout, and increase teacher retention.

How much is teacher turnover costing my district?

While the exact financial cost of teacher turnover is difficult to determine, we do have enough information to make informed estimates. The Learning Policy Institute, for example, estimates the per-person cost of teacher turnover to be:

  • $9,000 for rural districts
  • $11,000 for suburban districts
  • $21,000 for urban districts

Use our teacher turnover calculator to help gauge not only the financial impact of teacher attrition on your school or district, but also how much you could be saving by investing in teacher retention strategies that are proven to work. If you don’t know the exact per-person cost of turnover at your school or district, plug in one of the research-based estimates above.

Teacher Turnover Cost Calculator

How much is your school/district spending to replace teachers?

Number of Teachers

How many teachers do you have at your school or district?

Total Replacement Cost

How much does it cost to replace one teacher?
Be sure to figure in hiring, onboarding, and training costs for new teachers.

Current Attrition Rate

What percentage of teachers leave each year?
Teacher attrition is costing your school/district
Estimated total cost to replace 70 teachers based on your inputs.

e2L support can help reduce attrition cost to as low as
How would your school/district use the extra $320,000 in savings.
*Based on an average 2% attrition rate that e2L partner districts experience.

Conversely, if high teacher turnover creates a financial burden for schools and districts, high teacher retention creates financial security. For example, well before the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the challenge of teacher retention, the Arlington Independent School District (ISD) began providing comprehensive training and support to their staff through competency-based coaching for teachers, principals, and instructional coaches in partnership with e2L.

Despite pandemic-related disruptions in teaching and learning, coaching continued. As a result, while most districts began experiencing increased teacher turnover, Arlington ISD was able to retain 98% – 100% of their coached teachers over a five-year period.



The Right Way to Create & Scale a District-Wide Cultural Shift

Arlington ISD in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex leveraged job-embedded coaching to drive a district-wide culture shift and improved student outcomes. The effort also proved to be a major driver of teacher retention of coached teachers.

“Teachers who are thinking of leaving cite compensation, unreasonable expectations, and an inability to protect their well-being as their top motivators, while those who plan to stay cite meaningful work, quality colleagues, and compensation.”

“K-12 teachers are quitting. What would make them stay?”
McKinsey & Company, March 2023

ESSA Level 2 Efficacy Study:

Measuring the Impact of Coaching on Teacher Retention

In order to validate our own data, findings, and experiences in Arlington ISD, we turned to third-party evaluator Learning Experience Design (LXD) to analyze their teacher coaching and retention data during the 2017-2021 school years. 

This well-designed, correlational study suggests that the implementation of e2L’s instructional coaching methodology meets the standard for ESSA Level 2 Moderate Evidence by having a statistically significant impact on teacher retention results. In short, LXD’s research shows that teachers who receive job-embedded coaching from e2L – and earn progress badges and microcredentials as evidence of growth in competencies – are significantly more likely to stay in their role than those that do not.


What can districts do to increase teacher retention?

According to a 2022 survey by the National Education Association, when it comes to teacher turnover and retention, here’s what we do know: more than half of teachers plan to leave the profession early, 90% of teachers say burnout is a serious problem, and resignations accounted for 51% of teacher vacancies.

Additionally, a 2023 study from the RAND Corporation found that nearly 90% of teachers report working at least 50 hours per week – working an average of 15 uncontracted hours weekly, 12 of which are reportedly unpaid.

Teacher retention continues to be a challenge, leading not only to high financial costs for districts, but also to strained systems, overwhelmed staff, decreased student achievement scores, and lower enrollment rates. 

We recently asked leaders from several of our partner districts to share their experiences with and insights into why teachers are leaving the profession, what they’re doing to retain teachers, and how to sustainably nurture and retain top teaching talent.

In conjunction with our own data and independently validated research, we narrowed down the key takeaways and teacher retention strategies for you to consider implementing across your school or district.



Tackling Teacher Turnover: Retention Strategies That Work

Using independently validated research, in-depth discussions with district leaders, and our extensive experience working with hundreds of school districts nationwide, we have created this white paper featuring the top 5 teacher retention strategies employed by e2L and its partner district.

“We now have engage2learn coaches for every teacher and administrator in our district, and they’re adding some amazing tools to their toolbox. I’m already amazed by what they’ve been able to do.” 
Cara Cooke, Former Superintendent, Aransas Pass Independent School District

Increasing Teacher Retention Through Talent Development

We know from experience (and data) that increasing teacher retention starts with building talent development and coaching systems that support, nurture, and elevate teachers. For over a decade, we’ve seen districts that have comprehensive instructional coaching integrated into their support systems consistently experience teacher growth in competencies, increased teacher retention rates, and improved student outcomes.

In short, in order to effectively combat teacher turnover, we need to treat teachers as talent.

5 Pillars of Talent Development

The talent development pillars are a culmination of 10+ years of working with public schools nationwide to create and sustain scalable systems that are proven to substantially increase teacher retention and job satisfaction while also improving outcomes for learners and overall school culture.

Click on a pillar to learn more

Culture & Strategy

By intentionally designing your ideal school culture and engaging in long-term strategic planning that sets the stage for educators’ and learners’ success, you ensure that every teacher in your school/district gets the support they need to provide students with learning experiences they deserve.

Career Development

By developing compensation and incentive plans and systems, you ensure educators and staff have clear, compelling, and achievable career pathways that compel teachers to stay the course, while giving the district a healthy pipeline of leaders-in-development.


By implementing research-based, job-embedded coaching systems that are proven to minimize stress, make teachers feel supported, and increase effective implementation of best practices in the classroom, job satisfaction and teacher retention rates soar.

Competency Pathways

By centering all talent development around role-specific professional learning competencies, you’re able to not only simplify educators’ workload, reduce burnout, and increase teacher retention, but you’re also able to ensure that teachers are growing in and implementing the right instructional best practices.

Connected Data

By utilizing an all-in-one talent development platform like GroweLab, leaders can connect teacher growth and support efforts to critical student outcomes and teacher retention data, creating data-informed insights that empower leaders to know exactly what is driving desired outcomes and what is not.

Take the Talent Development Self-Assessment survey to identify which pillars your district is strong in and which pillars you can focus on next to increase teacher retention.

Featured Articles on Teacher Retention

Go Deeper: 

On-Demand Teacher Retention Webinars

Tune in to any or all of engage2learn’s webinars on teacher retention, complete with expert panelists, diverse perspectives, invaluable insights, and actionable strategies.


The Impact of Coaching on Teacher Retention: Survey

In July 2022, third-party researchers surveyed full-time school administrators employed at K-12 public school districts with more than 10,000 students on the best strategies for addressing teacher retention, finding that:

  • 87% of schools/districts that offer individualized coaching report that it directly improves job satisfaction and teacher retention.
  • Schools/districts that offer individualized coaching report improved student outcomes.
  • Educators report that high teacher retention rates positively impact student engagement, behavior, and grades.

The survey results reveal that individualized, job-embedded instructional coaching is key to increasing teacher retention and accelerating student achievement.

Data-Informed Growth Coaching Workshop

Join engage2learn at an upcoming Data-Informed Growth (DIG) Coaching Workshop, a two-day, collaborative training built around the Science of Coaching that equips coaches and administrators with the skills and tools to implement a high-performance coaching program that is proven to decrease teacher burnout, increase teacher retention, and accelerate student achievement in tandem.

Ready to increase teacher retention across your school or district?