Learning from the Best: Strategies Gained
from Teacher Feedback to Recruit and Retain
Educators for Out-of-School Time Programs
Teachers are experiencing more burnout and job dissatisfaction than ever before, and many are leaving the profession entirely. This is causing challenges for many out-of-school time (OST) providers when hiring staff for their programs. By planning in advance, OST providers can help alleviate stressors that educators have experienced over the past two years and attract new talent for their programs. SCRI analyzed staff survey responses from the BellXcel 2021 Summer program and identified key strategies and recommendations for finding and retaining high quality staff: stressing the importance of strong relationships and collaboration, promoting a positive teaching environment and culture, ensuring flexibility and autonomy for staff, providing supportive leadership, prioritizing the opportunity for personal and professional growth, and having materials and resources readily available and accessible.
The Sperling Center for Research and Innovation (SCRI) is part of BellXcel, a national nonprofit with nearly 30 years’ experience innovating educational solutions rooted in evidence. Drawing on decades of firsthand implementation experience and a culture of continuous improvement, SCRI bridges the research to practice to policy gap, to help partners strengthen goals, implement high-quality practices, expand to reach more young people, and advocate for improved policies.
Central to BellXcel’s approach to summer learning is its commitment to rapid-cycle continuous improvement because quality can’t wait. This brief presents SCRI’s review of BellXcel’s quality assessment process and its dedication to guiding partners through continuous quality improvement.
Tasked with planning and implementing remote learning for over 55 million children in the U.S. in the wake of COVID-19 school closures, districts and teachers relied heavily on families to support youth learning. SCRI discovered that remote summer programs using the BellXcel model were able to established supportive and consistent relationships between staff and families which empowered families to support their children’s learning. Staff integrated high-quality family engagement strategies throughout the program which included frequent communication and meaningful outreach to support participants.