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Caddo Schools Survey for Teacher Concerns During National Shortage

Leisa Woolfolk, Caddo Parish School's chief human resources office.

The Caddo Parish School District is responding with their own practices, one day after the teacher's union president detailed what teachers want and need during Red River Radio News broadcasts.

“We have 86 percent retention rate, which is way above the national average for retention of teachers.” Caddo Parish School leaders say they know all about the teacher shortage and have taken the steps necessary to not only find good teachers, but also keep them, explained Leisa Woolfolk, Caddo’s chief human resources officer.
In this Part Two of our education series, we are concentrating on teacher retention. In Part One we heard from long-time teachers’ union president Jackie Lansdale. She gave us some insights into that revealing national teacher survey released Tuesday [Sept. 12] by the Rand Corporation. Their findings: two-thirds of teachers feel overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated.

Now we’re hearing from Woolfolk in the Caddo Parish Public School district. Woolfolk says she and her district are taking action beyond their current hiring and performance-based incentive programs. She also tells us about another practice. “We do surveys to check the pulse twice a year of our teachers and our other employees. And then we try to listen and hear what they’re saying.” Woolfolk says many common themes emerge from their employee surveys. One concern involves what some perceive as an overly rigid curriculum. And other teachers worry that with so much attention on testing and assessments, it can drain a lot of their creativity. With the surveys, teachers can communicate that concern directly to decision-makers. “We (are)… filling 96 percent of our vacancies which is good because we employ almost 2,500 teachers. And over the last three years we’ve lost less than a hundred teachers.” Woolfolk is calling on state lawmakers to make some changes – and at least deliver a five percent raise for teachers when the next regular legislative session begins in Baton Rouge on Monday, March 11, 2024.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, and a graduate of the University of Washington, Jeff began his on-air broadcasting career 33 years ago in the Black Hills of South Dakota as a general assignment reporter.