Originally Published In
Research in Higher Education Journal
A small Southeastern high school that had undergone a turnaround or conservatorship process experienced a lower than average teacher retention rate. The authors conducted a qualitative case study to investigate teachers’ experiences and perceptions of how turnaround strategies may have influenced their morale and how that effect on morale may have affected the teachers’ retention. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory provided the conceptual framework for this study. The research questions addressed teachers’ perspectives of morale as well as their views and experiences with the conservatorship process. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 8 teachers who were actively employed at the school before the conservatorship process and who were subsequently retained by the district. Interview results produced 6 themes relating to factors that influence teachers’ perspectives of morale: (a) powerlessness, (b) excessive visitations, (c) loss of confidence, (d) ineffective instructional practices, (e) stress and burnout, and (f) ineffective professional development opportunities. This qualitative research study identified factors that may potentially affect teachers’ morale positively and promote social change in in turnaround schools by fostering an environment where stakeholders work collaboratively to increase teachers’ retention and further school success.