Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
The role that support systems play in new teachers' levels of school commitment has been widely documented. However, veteran teachers' levels of commitment have not been as closely studied. According to the department of education in a Southeastern state, the veteran teacher attrition rate at a Title I school in an urban school district was in the double digits for several years. High veteran teacher attrition rates and low levels of commitment can cause problems such as loss of continuity of instruction for students. The purpose of this study was to identify veteran teachers' perceptions of their levels of school commitment and how the district can support and retain veteran educators. Self-determination theory, as it relates to the satisfaction of teachers' needs and concerns in the context of their work environment, formed the conceptual framework for this study. The study was implemented to explore research questions related to veteran teachers' needs and concerns, working conditions, and supports. A case study research design was utilized. Interview data were collected from a criterion-based, purposeful sample of 10 veteran teachers. These data were analyzed inductively for common themes and patterns and resulted in findings based on veteran teachers' needs and concerns such as greater district and parent support and job-embedded professional development. A project was developed based on the findings to address the problem. The project focused on creating professional learning communities to support veteran teachers and increase their levels of school commitment. Positive social change can result from creating these professional learning communities for veteran teachers in order to address their needs and concerns, such as greater school commitment for veteran teachers and more continuity of instruction for students, which will result in higher academic achievement.