Page 51 - Volume 6 - Issue 1 - DBU Journal for K-12 Educational Leadership

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 49 Introduction In March 2022, Governor Abbot of Texas called for a taskforce to address the looming teacher shortage in Texas (Smith, 2022). Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD) experienced a 50% increase in teacher resignations by the July 1, 2022 deadline (Allen, 2022). While the Covid-19 Pandemic accelerated teacher attrition, experts have predicted the looming teacher shortage for years (CarverThomas & Darling-Hammon, 2017; Espinoza et al., 2018; Podolsky et al., 2016). While Abbott’s taskforce will present a final report in February 2023, the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) solutions may spend years in the legislative process. Texas schools already experience increases in reading and math test scores and hold the fifth highest graduation rate in the nation (TEA, 2019). There are campuses and teachers among Texas public schools who already experience success working with the same constraints and challenges as their peers (Heath & Heath, 2010). Bright Spot teachers are a potential source of rich information who could inform the recruitment, hiring, induction, and ongoing professional development practices of a district to retain the most effective teachers and staunch the flow of teachers leaving public schools. Problem Teacher efficacy remains the most influential factor on student academic achievement and non-cognitive outcomes, such as future earning potential and quality of life (Goldhaber et al., 2017; Jackson, 2018). Schools that serve low-income families, large numbers of students with at-risk indicators, and a history of underperformance struggle to hire and retain highly effective teachers, compounding the effects of the teacher shortage (Goldhaber et al., 2017; Goldhaber et al., 2018). A failure to address the teacher shortage will exacerbate the already existing opportunity gap leading to lower economic gains and social health within a community (Goldhaber et al., 2017; Goldhaber et al., 2018). Engaging teachers who demonstrate positive deviancy as leaders can focus school improvement on existing, positive aspects of an organization. Texas public schools will continue to serve students who struggle to learn without significant increases in state funding, structure, as well as increasing accountability requirements (TEA, 2019). Exploring positive deviance practices will provide direction for school improvement by evaluating what is already successful. Literature Review Heath and Heath (2010) illustrated the concept of Bright Spots in their book, Switch. Bright Spots are exceptional results from uncommon practices within a community (Heath & Heath, 2010). To illustrate the concept of Bright Spots, Heath and Heath share the story of Robert Sternin and his team in Vietnam Feed the Children. The team was given a monumental task of improving childhood nutrition in remote villages. There were few resources, widespread poverty, limited food availability, and unsanitary conditions in the villages. Despite these challenges there PERCEPTIONS OF EFFECTIVE TEACHERS WHO STAY IN AN UNDERSERVED SCHOOL: RETAINING TEACHER BRIGHT SPOTS Chelsea Kostyniak, EdD Journal of K-12 Educational Research 2022, VOL. 6, ISSUE 1