Globe Unified School District’s T4TLA Journey
By Jerry Jennex, Superintendent
Globe Unified School District (GUSD) #1 in Arizona has been a participant in the T4TLA program since its inception. For GUSD, a critical component of T4TLA is the best practices and lessons learned from other participating districts.
Our first foray into the T4TLA work was at the Washington D.C. convening in 2016. The work around teacher recruitment and retention was very applicable to the challenges we face in rural Arizona around those topics.
During the 2017 convening in Phoenix, leaders from Avondale Elementary School District (AZ) shared the leadership development processes that they had implemented; these were just the type of processes we needed in Globe. As a result of that session, our staff worked with teachers to create the LIFT (Leaders Influencing for Transformation) Team and quickly recruited teachers who worked over the summer to create a new teacher mentoring program. Implemented in the 2017-2018 school-year, the mentoring program produced very positive results—of the seventeen teachers that were assigned mentors in that school-year, sixteen of them returned to teach in the 2018-2019 school-year. These were unprecedented results for GUSD. While the results are not quite as strong in the second year, the program is showing promising results in teacher retention for GUSD.
Another initiative that has occurred as an offshoot of the T4TLA program, is the development of a teacher training program. Spearheaded by one of our LIFT Team members, the program is designed to attract members of our community that are interested in becoming teachers. The program is just completing its first year and has had about twenty participants. In cooperation with Gila Community College and Arizona State University, this program will allow local residents to complete their teacher training in our community. Several of our teachers and administrators have served as the instructors for the college classes. This program is part of what we are calling our “grow your own” strategy.
As GUSD moves forward, the focus will be on maintaining the mentoring program developed by the LIFT Team and helping our principals utilize the LIFT Team more effectively. This will require increased collaboration at all levels in order to grow our teacher leaders into an even more powerful resource for improvement in our district.
The T4TLA journey for Globe Unified School District has been one of discovery and growth. Working with the Arizona T4TLA team of regional center staff, state department of education staff, and other local districts, we have been on a path of improved awareness and development around teacher recruitment and retention processes.