Turnover and Academic Progress (Research)

Is teacher happiness one of your primary leadership aims? It should be. And it’s not a target that is at odds with student-centeredness. They go hand in hand.

In 2004, the US Department of Education released a study that examined the relationship between “transformative” leadership practices and turnover and student achievement. Transformative leadership for principals is defined as:

  1. inspiration,
  2. showing consideration to individual staff members, and
  3. acts that are intellectually stimulating.

The findings are not just interesting – they are descriptive for how human-centered leadership should proceed:

Principal transformational leadership showed an indirect effect, through staff job satisfaction, on school staff turnover (negative) and on school‐aggregated student achievement progress (positive). Finally, higher levels of school staff job satisfaction were associated with smaller achievement gaps between minority and non‐minority students.

Focusing on job satisfaction is a critical aspect of school leadership that often gets overlook by two of the most recent trends: student-centered and instructional leadership. If turnover is a challenge, if student achievement is a challenge, then remember – job satisfaction is a result of the culture you are creating.

A winning school culture is one in which job satisfaction is a natural by-product. It’s research, it’s good practice, and it just works. #edleadership

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