Craven teacher turnover lowest in nearly a decade, but still higher than state average

The Craven County Board of Eduction listens to information on teacher turnover rates at their May 16 meeting. (video screenshot)

Teacher turnover in Craven County public schools is at its lowest rate in eight years, while still remaining significantly higher than the state average and some surrounding counties, according to information released last week.

During a May 16 presentation before the Craven County Board of Education, Dr. LaKesia Boone, assistant superintendent of Human Resources, provided data showing that the local teacher attrition rate for the 2021-22 school year was 11.82%, the county’s lowest recorded turnover rate since 2014-15, when the number was 14.84%. 

The data comes from annual reports from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction that looks at numbers over a one-year period beginning in March. The latest Craven County Schools teacher turnover rate covers March 2021-March 2022.

Boone stressed that some of the teacher attrition data for Craven County School currently listed on the DPI website, such as the overall county and state attrition rates, had not been updated and was incorrect. 

According to corrected data, Craven County Schools attrition rate is based on a total workforce of 812 teachers, with 96 having left the local education agency (LEA) over the year. The data lists the school system’s average daily student membership (ADM) as 12,280.

Over the last eight years, Craven’s teacher turnover rate reached a high of 16.90% in both 2016-17 and 2017-18. That number dropped 4.38% in 2021-22 from the previous year’s rate.

“We’re very proud of the work we’ve done trying to keep teachers in the district,” Boone said.

Boone explained that the attrition numbers cover teachers who: retire; leave the Craven County Schools LEA for another LEA; are dismissed and/or resigned; or take other positions in the LEA.

Those not included in the data include teachers who move from one school to another in the LEA and those who are on approved leave.

While the 2021-22 numbers point to a positive trend in local teacher retention, the turnover rate for Craven County Schools remains significantly higher than that of both the state and many other school systems in the Southeast Region.

North Carolina’s teacher turnover rate for 2021-22 was 6.16%, a full 5.66% lower than Craven County’s. A look at the data shows that trend reaches back to 2014, with Craven’s attrition rate being higher than the state’s each of the previous eight years.

North Carolina’s teacher turnover rate reached a high of 15% in 2014-5 and a low of 7.78% last year. 

A comparison with the other surrounding counties in the Southeast Region shows that Craven ranks seventh in terms of teacher turnover out of 11 LEAs. 

Carteret County, which has an ADM of 7,753, had the lowest turnover rate in the region at 6.53%.  Onslow County, with an ADM of 26,780, had the highest turnover rate at 13.10%. 

Other Southeast LEAs with higher turnover rates than Craven County Schools were: 

-Pender County: ADM 10,089, Turnover Rate 11.99% 

-Pamlico: ADM 1,154, Turnover Rate 12%,

-Duplin: ADM 9,323, Turnover Rate 12. 22%,

-Onslow: ADM 26,780, Turnover Rate 13.10%

“A lot of it has to do with what your average ADM is,” Boone said, “because if you only have 200 kids and you lose two teachers that makes a bigger difference than if you have 11,000 kids.”

Boone said Craven County Schools is taking a number of steps to help improve teacher retention, including certification and testing reimbursement, holding information sessions for teacher assistants who want to go back to school, and conducting “stay interviews” with teachers who are experiencing problems and are considering leaving the school system. 

A school by school comparison

Boone provided data showing the turnover rates at each of the schools in Craven County for 2021-22. She stressed that the rates are impacted by the number of teachers at each school, which vary widely throughout the county. 

Elementary Schools

-A.H. Bangert Elementary: Teachers-28, Left-1, Turnover Rate-3.6%

-Arthur W. Edwards Elementary: Teachers-34, Left-4, Turnover Rate-11.8%

-Ben D. Quinn Elementary: Teachers-30, Left-1, Turnover Rate-3.3%

-Bridgeton Elementary: Teachers-27, Left-0

-Brinson Memorial Elementary: Teachers-34, Left-4, Turnover Rate-8.8%

-Creekside Elementary: Teachers-29, Left-1, Turnover Rate 3.4%

-Graham A. Barden Elementary: Teachers-17, Left- 2, Turnover Rate-11.8%

-Havelock Elementary School: Teachers-27, Left-1, Turnover Rate 3.7%

-J.T. Barber Elementary: Teachers-16, Left-4, Turnover Rate-25%

-James W. Smith Elementary-Teachers-25, Left-3, Turnover Rate-12%

-Oaks Road Academy-Teachers-22, Left-2, Turnover Rate-9.1%

-Roger Bell New Tech Academy: Teachers-25, Left-5, Turnover Rate-20%

-Trent Park Elementary: Teachers-26, Left-1, Turnover Rate-3.8%

-Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary-Teachers-37, Left-5, Turnover Rate-13.5%

-W.J. Gurganus Elementary: Teachers-25, Left-5, Turnover Rate-20%

Middle Schools

-Grover C. Fields Middle: Teachers-32, Left-4, Turnover Rate-12.5%

-H.J. MacDonald Middle: Teachers-45, Left-8, Turnover Rate-17.8%

-Havelock Middle: Teachers-24, Left-3, Turnover Rate-12.5%

-Tucker Creek Middle: Teachers-26, Left-6, Turnover Rate-23.1%

-West Craven Middle: Teachers-43, Left-1, Turnover Rate-2.3%

High Schools

-Craven Early College: Teachers-9, Left-3, Turnover Rate-33.3%

-Early College East: Teachers-8, Left-2, Turnover Rate-25%

-Havelock High: Teachers-55, Left-8, Turnover Rate-14.5%

-New Bern High: Teachers-93, Left-13, Turnover Rate-14%

-West Craven High: Teachers-51, Left-9, Turnover Rate-17.6%

By Todd Wetherington, co-editor. Send an email with questions or comments.