Retaining Qualified Special Education Teachers within Urban Schools: An Exploratory Case

Retaining Qualified Special Education Teachers within Urban Schools: An Exploratory Case

Author: 
Louisa Arthur-Ofei
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
Qualified teachers leaving urban city schools, either by switching schools or dropping out of the teaching profession altogether, has become an increasingly serious problem. The specific problem was the low retention rates among qualified teachers, especially special education teachers within schools in city school districts. The study purpose was to obtain information regarding the characteristics that affected retention and attrition among urban special education teachers to understand the unique incentives that kept special education teachers in a North Central City in the United States in their jobs. In this study on retention and attrition among urban special education teachers, the qualitative method was used in association with an exploratory case study research design. The sample of the study was 21 special education teachers in the North Central City School District. Data were collected from a semi-structured interview, questionnaire surveys, teachers’ workshops, church social events held in public areas in North Central School Districts. The NVivo 8 software supported data analysis, helping sort and organize data into categories to identify similarities, connections, and patterns uncovered during the literature review component of the research study. The results revealed the following five factors that acted as incentives to keep special education teachers in a North Central city in the United States in their jobs: adequate classroom teaching material and resources; consistent and effective safety measures for teachers and students; administrators actively connecting with teachers and other stakeholders; and workshops, team-building, and shared resources, such as lesson plans.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to all teachers, especially special education teachers and school support staff who are teaching students to improve their emotional, social, and academic skills. This dissertation is also dedicated to my great mother and father, daughter and husband, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, cousins, and friends.
Acknowledgements: 
I thank God for keeping me healthy. My thanks and appreciation to Dr. Douglas DeWitt, Dr. Jeremy Tutty, and Dr. Jason Ward for preserving as my Chair and Committee Members throughout the time it took me to complete this research and write the dissertation. I thank them for their contribution and their support. I am grateful to my financial advisor, Ms. Sicily Walker, who helped with my finances; academic counselor, Ms. Jessica Cid, who coordinated my course work; University of Phoenix faculty who taught my classes, and Dr. Abe editing company for their support. My thanks to Dr. Paula Wolfe Managing Editor Assistant Program Dean of Dissertation Quality for her time and expertise to better my work, and the Institutional Review Broad Members who made data collection possible to finish my research. I need to express my gratitude and deep appreciation to Ms. Nancy Wood who is no longer on the staff at the University of Phoenix and whose friendship, hospitality, knowledge, and wisdom have supported, enlightened me over the years, kept me working, and encouraged me not to give up. My thanks and appreciation also go to Dr. Allen Goodwin, the Principal of Walt Whitman High School, who encouraged me never to stop working on a goal until I finished, as well as the assistant administrators, and colleagues and students of Walt Whitman High School for their support.