The Challenge: Addressing Teacher Turnover and Burnout

Fight for Lifr Foundation, Indianapolis, IN

The Challenge: Addressing Teacher Turnover and Burnout

Source: Medium | Repost Fight for Life 3/22/2021 – 

Principal Tihesha Henderson has received recognition for creating an environment of trauma-informed social and emotional learning and care at the Indianapolis elementary school which is now called Sankofa School of Success. However, early on in her time as the school’s principal, the challenges of supporting a student population with high levels of behavioral issues took a toll on the adults whom she counted on to provide this support, prompting the 21-year veteran of Indianapolis schools to reflect on her leadership. Says Henderson, “Teachers were hurting. Not only were they overworked, but they had secondary trauma themselves. We were asking teachers to double down on content and data more, but they just didn’t have the capacity at the moment. So we had a mass exodus of our veteran teachers. I had to find my way.”

The Solution: Focusing on Staff Wellness

With teacher turnover leading to a school with significant numbers of inexperienced, first-year teachers in the 2015–16 school year, Henderson recognized she needed to provide the same kind of social-emotional learning support and caring for the school’s adults as its students. She says: “Our number one goal is to meet students’ needs, but sometimes we don’t think about the social and emotional needs of the people that serve our students.”

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