Houston ISD superintendent Dr. Terry Grier comments on effective teacher retention during a news conference on October 30. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)
Teachers whose students show the most academic achievement gains are more likely to continue teaching in Houston ISD classrooms, according to the latest staff retention data.
The second year of HISD’s innovative Career Pathways program kicked off in early August with more than 200 top teachers from across the district attending two-day teacher leadership trainings. The Career Pathways program is designed to give top teachers the opportunity to earn more and expand their influence on their campus without having to leave the classroom.
Ariana Sherman, who moved to the district this year from KIPP, will serve as an instructional practice coach at Patrick Henry Middle School, where she will focus on modeling excellent teaching techniques, observing peers, and providing feedback to help teachers better meet students’ needs. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” Sherman said. “This role lets me grow as a leader and a coach while also continuing to teach science, which is my passion.”
Austin High School student Gwen Martinez has always dreamed of becoming a teacher—and thanks to the school’s magnet program, she is well on her way. Once a week, Martinez and dozens of her classmates visit Cage Elementary School to tutor students and get a feel for what it’s like in the classroom.
“I believe kids are our future and they deserve the best,” said the high school senior. Martinez plans to attend the University of Houston (UH) in the fall to pursue her career goal. She chose UH in part because of a new collaboration between Austin and the emerging Tier One school.
Through a partnership started this academic year, students at Austin are being paired with students at the local university to get a feel for college life. They’re also getting a chance to interact with professors from the school’s College of Education.
“Not only are the professors collaborating with our students at mini-workshops, but our teachers are being exposed to the university’s research-based strategies,” said Austin Principal Jorge Arredondo. “Our teachers are then putting theory into action, with the goal of raising our standards of instructional delivery and ultimately increasing student achievement.”
Leaders at the University of Houston say they are excited about the opportunities it creates for those pursuing a career in education.