New program helps to improve teacher retention in Kentucky

We spoke to educators about a new “Rank Change” program to allow them career development and the opportunity for better pay.
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 9:33 PM EDT
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WOLFE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Department of Education reports that 72% of current teachers are at risk of leaving their jobs soon.

We spoke to educators about a new “Rank Change” program to allow them career development and the opportunity for better pay.

“One reason why I wanted to be a teacher in this community. This is the community I grew up in. So, I wanted to return home. That’s what brought me home and then in 2010, I began the career of a teacher as a second opportunity,” said Susan Storer, an eighth-grade teacher at Wolfe County Middle School.

Eighth-grade English feels like home for Suzan Storer. After a career change, she found her groove inside a classroom in Wolfe County. Providing a stable learning environment for her students is her mission.

“It’s essential because this is their community, they’re the future leaders, and you have to provide the framework for the basis for them to grow,” said Storer.

At least 55 teachers from districts all over the state are marking their own graduation milestones as they complete the Kentucky Rank Change program.

“Teacher retention is definitely at the forefront of what superintendents and school boards are concerned about,” said Kentucky Educational Development Corporation Programs & Partnerships Coordinator Latisha Sparks.

Allowing them to move up professionally and earn higher salaries without having to go back to a traditional school.

“There are two huge hurdles that prevent educators from advancing, and number one is always cost and affordability,” said Carter Myers, Director of Sales at Bloomboard.

“My kids, they knew that I would video them all the time, and they’re like, ‘What are we doing this for? You go to school, same as I go to school,’” said Ivalea Hobbs, a seventh-grade teacher at Wolfe County Middle School.

Both Hobbs and Storer graduated from Morehead State University, and after recently completing the program, it helped reignite their passions.

“So everything that they taught you then, this actually brought it back up—kinda resurfaced it. As time goes on, you forget things. So going back to this kinda made everything fresh, made those teaching strategies come back out,” said Hobbs.

They were able to use the work they were already doing in the classroom and turn it into a learning experience they could capitalize on.

Unlike a traditional degree, the program can be done at the teacher’s own pace. It can take anywhere from a year to four years to complete and can be done at a fraction of the cost.