Where teachers want to be

Some high-poverty schools are places where teachers want to teach, writes Emily Alpert in Voice of San Diego. In a story on high teacher turnover at high-poverty schools, she profiles Balboa Elementary, which has bucked the trend. Balboa primarily educates children from low-income, non-English-speaking Mexican families. Scores were so low for so long the school was reconstituted in 2005, losing most of its staff. Now Balboa is keeping its teachers.

The school offers perks, such as giving teachers the right to use on-campus day care and a refurbished teachers’ lounge. But the key is that teachers feel “respected and included in reforms,” Alpert writes.

They worked together to create common assessments to check if children understand their lessons. They set common rules for each classroom. And they devised new ways to talk about math to better prepare students for algebra.

“We all get along. No one sits back and does the bare minimum,” said teacher Laurie Bergener. “You can walk into any third grade classroom and we’re all doing the same thing.”

Balboa now scores above the state average for schools with similar demographics.

Seniority rules force principals to take teachers they don’t want, reports part one of the series. Teachers without seniority may bounce from school to school.

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