(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis - Oct 31, 2015)

The survey offers key findings for strengthening the educator workforce statewide.

On Wednesday, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released its 2021-22 Teacher Retention Survey, which was conducted within MDE’s Office of Teaching and Leading and provides sample data on recruitment, onboarding, support, community involvement, school leadership and compensation among Mississippi teachers.

Out of 31,641 Mississippi teachers in the 2021-22 school year, 5,856 completed the survey from April 18, through July 28, this year. 

The anonymous survey included 71 questions and took about 25 minutes to complete.

“Key survey findings show MDE’s efforts to strengthen instruction through strategies such as Mississippi Instructional Materials Matter  and Mississippi Connects have a positive impact,” MDE said in a release. “The survey also revealed teachers primarily learn from other teachers, the Professional Growth System (PGS) should drive professional learning and school leadership is the biggest factor in teacher retention and attrition.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • While 64% of teachers reported feeling valued as a result of the new teacher pay raise for the 2022-23 school year, only 29% reported they were satisfied with their salary.
  • When describing steps in their hiring process, 79% of teachers reported completing an in-person interview with the principal. Far fewer teachers – 3% and 2%, respectively – reported the process included demonstrating a teaching lesson or an activity using student data.
  • 51% of survey respondents noted they heard about open positions from a colleague or friend, while 3% became aware of positions from online job boards or a job fair.
  • 47% of teachers were influenced to apply for jobs based on their geographic location, and 28% applied after having a conversation with a school leader. Only 2% applied for jobs based on a recruitment event.

Some strategies that MDE will be implementing to address teacher retention and attrition include: Aligning the Virtual and Face-to-Face Professional Development Catalog to Professional Growth System domains and standards and continuing the Mississippi Teacher Residency program, which includes a formal mentor component.

MDE will also be providing a Mentoring and Induction Toolkit that any school or district can use to create a local mentoring and induction program for new teachers and their mentors and updating the Orientation to School Leadership (OSL) credits needed for conversion to a standard, renewable administrator license.