How One Principal Uses Title II-A Funds to Reduce Staff Turnover and Improve Student Outcomes

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Many studies have shown that the most important in-school factors for student success are teachers and principals. An effective principal can contribute to outcomes like student achievement, reduced absenteeism, and teacher retention. An effective teacher can contribute to a student’s success at school academically and socially.   

Title II, Part A (Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants) of the Every Student Succeeds Act provide all students with greater access to effective teachers and principals by funding programs that support educator recruitment and retention and providing evidence-based high-quality professional learning opportunities, including early career mentoring, coaching, and job-embedded learning.  

Reducing Staff Turnover  

Principal Andrea Sifers shared how her Oklahoma school district has been enhancing instruction through Title II-A funds. The district provides training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for academic and behavior strategies, which strengthens their abilities to deal with reading and math interventions and provide strategies for Tier 2 behaviors. Sifers believes that the systems they have been able to implement with Title II-A funds have been a factor in her school’s success in reducing staff turnover.  

Assigning Peer Mentors to Teachers 

Sifers’ district also uses Title II-A funds to assign first-year teachers a peer mentor within their school buildings. Peer mentorship is an evidence-based strategy to aid in teacher retention. A federal study on the benefits of mentorship programs found that 92 percent of first-year teachers with mentors returned to the classroom for a second year. 

Improving Student Outcomes 

Sifers closed with one final thought: “Without the support of federal funds like that of Title II-A, our school would not have near the amount of success that we have. Our school is a Title 1 school and serving the needs of our most vulnerable population requires additional training and support for our teachers and staff. Thanks to Title II-A funding we have the flexibility to use those funds to best serve the students in our district.” 

Take Action on Title II-A 

It is a critical time to fund Title II-A! Principal turnover more than doubled to 16 percent by the end of the 2021-22 school year, according to a 2023 RAND report. In the 2023-24 school year, 86 percent of public schools reported challenges hiring teachers, according to the National School for Education Statistics. Title II-A is an important program in addressing the educator shortage by supporting recruitment, retention, and professional learning for teachers and school leaders.  

NAESP is urging Congress to provide $2.4 billion, a 10 percent increase (+$210 million), to Title II-A in the FY25 budget. Send a message to your members of Congress and post on social media using #TitleIIA to share why funding for high-quality professional learning is vital for educator and student success. 

Katie Graves is coordinator, Advocacy Support Services, at NAESP.