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ROOTS program combats teacher turnover

By KTVA CBS 11 News 11:28 AM March 5, 2014

The pilot program hopes to improve Alaska education by providing an incentive for teacher longevity.

ANCHORAGE – An acronym for “retaining our outstanding teachers,” the Alaska SEED ROOTS program works to improve outcomes for Alaska students by cutting back on teacher turnover rates.

Panu Lucier, the program’s director, said ROOTS is a three-year pilot program currently in its second year. The program seeks to increase teacher wages by $1 per hour, Lucier said, and so far there are 80 Alaska teachers enrolled.

At Anchorage’s Hillcrest Children’s Center, Lucier said 13 teachers have so far received bonuses totaling nearly $30,000. By incentivizing longevity, Lucier said the program hopes to create a more stable and effective learning environment for Alaska students.

“Children need that consistency of care,” she said. “Imagine — if your business or company has a turnover rate of 46 percent — how that would impact your business. Imagine how that impacts children when their teachers are leaving at that rate.”

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