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Ensuring Student Success: The Role of Quality Teacher Staffing

February 7, 2024

Ensuring Student Success: The Role of Quality Teacher Staffing

In schools across the country, student dropout rates have ticked up since the pandemic, and the vast majority of schools are struggling with staffing nationwide. The numbers steer the course of an entire generation, and there’s no easy fix to reverse the trends. 

The headlines highlight the importance of supporting student success and its dependence on quality teacher staffing. To improve, decision-makers and district leaders must first recognize the relationship between the two factors before exploring solutions. 

Below, we’ll examine what defines student success and how the right foundational philosophy can make a difference.

What Does “Student Success” Mean?

Student success refers to how well students are prepared to tackle future goals, be they personal, professional, or academic. Ideally, a student will develop their self-reliance, responsibility, and connection via the learning process. 

For school leadership to achieve this goal, students need the right combination of quality teachers, tools, and supportive learning environments. When students are denied these basic educational resources, they’re less likely to develop appropriate in-classroom behaviors that ultimately transition from one stage of their life to the next. 

The best indicators of student success range from independence to self-efficacy to academic abilities to enrollment and retention rates, but quality teaching can also undeniably alter the student’s trajectory. 

At Elevate K-12, we’ve found that experienced teachers at the head of the class can be the answer to creating a more productive and engaging learning environment. They are the ones who can effectively hand down the knowledge students need to be successful. 

Experienced teachers don’t need to tell students how important their education is; they demonstrate the philosophy in action — day in and day out. Without the support of good teachers, students may feel like little more than a nuisance, which can easily erode their relationship with education

The Relationship Between Teacher Quality and Student Success

Compared to other school factors, like school leadership and services, teachers have around two to three times the effect on student performance for reading and math. If a teacher isn’t experienced enough to teach a subject, the students will pick up on it. When a teacher is truly engaged and effective in their work, though, it has a positive impact on student experience and the classroom’s well-being.

Teacher-student relationships are more than just spending time with one another. Teachers have to ask themselves how students learn, what they respond to, and who’s influencing their attitudes. 

The more teachers tailor their teaching style to a student’s needs, the better the results. The best part is that just one year of quality teaching can have a lifetime’s worth of positive ripple effects. 

Characteristics of High-Quality Teachers 

High-quality teachers can come from all walks of life, but they typically share a few core characteristics. We’ll look at the similarities and how they contribute to student engagement and success. 


A high-quality teacher usually clears the bar for professional entry with flying colors. Whether that’s degrees, credentials, or specialized training, the best teachers put their lifelong love of learning into practice. 

These qualifications transform teachers into subject-matter experts, making them the best people to pass down effective pedagogies in their respective disciplines. Much like any other merit-based profession, you want teachers to demonstrate and prove proficiency before putting them before the students. 

Teaching Methods 

When every teacher has their own opinions about what’s effective for student progress, it’s important to explore how different methods work. We’ll look at a few philosophies and what they bring to the table:

  • Interactive: An interactive method encourages kids to be a part of the discussion. Rather than listening to a lecture, there are more collaborative projects and hands-on learning.
  • Inclusive: Inclusive teaching’s foundational belief is that all children are equally valuable to the classroom. While each child has individual gifts, inclusive learning promotes equal opportunity and teacher support for every student. 
  • Problem-based learning: Problem-based learning asks kids to solve real-world problems. By thinking through the steps and arriving at a well-reasoned conclusion, they can apply the same process to everyday decision-making. 
  • Classroom technology: This teaching method incorporates technology to stimulate learning, engagement, and motivation. From videos to multimedia presentations, these tools help students grasp the material on a deeper level. 

A quality teacher borrows traits from different teaching methods as the situation calls. Known as differentiated instruction, they can tailor their style to meet the strengths and needs of kids in the class. By being flexible, they have a better chance of building real relationships — no matter who sits before them. 

Ability To Engage Students 

A quality teacher lights a fire under students, and it starts with engaging the entire class. 

At Elevate K-12, we encourage teachers to fold in everything from current events to student’s personal experiences to start the discussion. Our LIVE classroom technology was developed to encourage engagement via interactive lessons, regular knowledge checks, and thoughtful discussion prompts. 

Building rapport and fostering a collaborative classroom is a daily effort, but it’s the key to sparking participation and a genuine love for learning. When teachers make this a regular habit, you’ll eventually notice a leap in academic achievement and overall wellness. 

Professional Development 

Professional development in a teacher is an ongoing process. Teachers that keep up with the latest trends, technology, and teaching pedagogies are more likely to adapt to the changing culture. 

In today’s educational landscape, professional development has been stalled by a dearth of resources. Teachers may not have the financial support to travel to conferences and seminars, they’re also often so overworked that they can’t attend even if they did. 

At Elevate K – 12, all LIVE teachers receive ongoing coaching and professional development throughout their time with us. When teachers are allowed to grow, they’re both more effective at what they do and more fulfilled at the end of the day. 

Professional Experience

High teacher turnover and low retention rates have led to an ongoing teacher shortage. In fact, according to a recent McKinsey study, a full third of K – 12 educators in the US are considering a job change. Finding experienced local teachers is not just frustrating for school district leaders. For many, it’s downright impossible. 

This is especially unfortunate when numerous studies have found academic achievement and teaching experience are inextricably linked — like this one from the Journal of Professional Capital and Community

Experienced teachers have deep subject matter expertise, particularly for those that remain in the same grade level and subject. They also have better long-term relationships with the students at the school. (Even after a student exits a grade level, they may still interact with that student afterward.)

Perhaps even more critically, experienced teachers mentor inexperienced teachers, answering questions about how to handle ambiguous situations or kids struggling with complex home lives. If a new teacher ever hopes to get to the next level, they’re going to need support when the road gets rocky. 

Strategies for Attracting and Retaining High-Quality Teachers

Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers starts with initiatives that address their needs. These days, teachers are looking for:

  • Competitive compensation packages: Teachers may not enter the profession to get rich, but they do require reasonable compensation packages to maintain loyalty to their employer. 
  • Supportive work environments: Teachers need to know that if they voice concerns, a decision-maker will hear them. While peer-to-peer discussions are important, they need answers from more than just their colleagues. 
  • Empowered workplaces: It’s not enough for a school to be reactive to a teacher’s concerns. Proactive measures, which can include mentoring programs, 1:1 meetings, and opportunities for continued education, can make teachers more effective at their jobs. 

How To Measure and Enhance Teacher Quality for Student Success

As a district leader, you should always measure a teacher’s performance across multiple indicators. Below, we’ll highlight several that will help you truly assess a teacher’s contribution to student success. 

Student Achievement Metrics 

By far the most universal, unit exams, and standardized state testing are a fast and easy way to assess progress for students for individual subjects. 

The more data the school has, the easier it is to see which teachers might be falling behind. The key is to pinpoint quantifiable indicators, typically state assessments, subject benchmarks, etc., before diving into the struggles of the teacher and classroom.  

Classroom Observations 

Classroom observations tell you how students respond to different teaching methods. During these sessions, it’s important to be specific about what counts as efficacy. 

For instance, you might assign priority ratings for both quality and quantity of student participation. Or you can assess the teacher’s ability to enhance textbook assignments by adding additional layers of learning. The goal is to see how many real learners are in the classroom and how many are just going through the motions.

Continuous Improvement Processes 

Quality teachers will always want to learn more and get better, whether the school encourages it or not. However, a more formal plan can put teachers on a steady path of improvement.

Mentoring programs effectively encourage everyone to be a part of the process. When older teachers mentor younger teachers, the collaboration fosters better relationships for the entire school and ends with higher graduation rates. 

These strong bonds lead to more collaboration, which in turn boosts the school’s teacher retention rates. These are long-term investments that can map out student success for decades to come.  

Innovative Approaches To Amplifying Student Success

Boosting student success rates can be an uphill battle, especially when quality teaching isn’t the only factor that influences a student’s performance. However, innovative approaches can go a long way toward solving modern-day educational challenges — even if the solutions are a little unconventional. 

Trying New Solutions, Like LIVE Teaching

With LIVE teaching, students are in a classroom learning from an experienced remote teacher. This method can create a quality learning environment, one where students have one expert teacher for the entire year, instead of having to adjust to multiple (sometimes unqualified) people and teaching styles. 

Elevate K-12’s model opens doors for schools with limited resources. Because the pool of applicants is wider, schools can find the highest quality teachers in their subject areas. Qualified teachers, coupled with immediate feedback, build community the same way a traditional classroom can. 

At Elevate K-12, we’ve witnessed first-hand how far experience can go. Our teachers have an average of 13 years on the job and 80% have a BA or MA in Education. To be considered, they must be certified subject matter experts and meet our high vetting standards. 

Our organization also has Onboarding Coordinators who set the teachers up for success and Academic Coaches who provide them with ongoing training, feedback, and professional development. We’ve found this support to be vital for consistency in our schools, and we continue to update our standards based on results. 

Integrating Technology in the Classroom

Today, technology is implemented in virtually every classroom. Students check their grades on educational apps, skim digital textbooks, or attend classes with interactive whiteboards. 

As students gain more tech proficiency every year, they benefit from teachers who understand its implications and benefits. Digital literacy for teachers in the modern educational landscape can make them more effective in their roles, because they can relate to students on their level.

The best part about technology is that it can be tailored to different subjects and learning styles. For instance, if students are having a difficult time with a dry history lesson, a virtual reality program can help bring the past to life. Text-to-speech tools translate large blocks of text for reinforcement and retention. The key is finding teachers who can access these tools and determine which ones are best for their students. 

Creating Collaborative, Personalized Environments

Learning environments are built from the ground up, and it starts at the head of the class. Whether that teacher is in-person or on a screen, the environment needs to be both collaborative and customized for the group. 

Project-based learning and peer-to-peer activities can be the key to augmenting a standard lesson plan with better classroom experiences. Adaptive learning technologies assist with tailoring the content around each student’s needs. These environments inspire students and serve as building blocks for stronger teamwork, communication, and critical thinking.

Start Shaping Success With Progressive Education Strategies

While times may have changed, the core of student success remains the same. At the heart of it all, students need to first care about their academic progress. Quality teachers can be a sizable stepping stone toward a better life for all students, regardless of where they start. 

If a school wants to do more than pass kids up a ladder, there needs to be a proven game plan in place. Elevate K-12 is transforming classroom dynamics with the help of quality LIVE teaching. This model helps understaffed schools hire the right teachers, even if those teachers happen to be living several hours away. 

To see how it changes lives, explore LIVE teaching with Elevate K-12.

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