Study Finds Positive Impacts of Retired Educators to Support New Teachers

A new study finds that using retired educators to mentor and support new teachers can be a cost effective strategy to improve math achievement.

Regional Educational Laboratory Central worked with Aurora Public Schools in Colorado to conduct a randomized controlled trial study in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years during implementation of the district’s innovative Retired Mentors for New Teachers Program. The program pairs recently retired master educators from the district with probationary teachers in high-need elementary schools. The retired educators provide the teachers with weekly support over two years that includes tailored in-class observations, coaching, and mentoring.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Students of probationary teachers collaborating with retired mentors demonstrated a significant improvement in math achievement after a single year of the intervention. The increase was equivalent to one month of added instruction time in a typical nine-month school year.
  • At an annual local cost of approximately $171 per student, the program’s positive impact on student math achievement produces a return on investment that may pay back the annual cost of the program more than 15 times over through increased student earnings over time.
  • The program’s effects on reading achievement and on teacher retention and evaluation ratings were not significant.

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