A Case Study: Retaining Quality Teachers with Longevity and Exploring Teachers’ Perception of Their Impact on Student Achievement in a Rural Setting



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In the current era of educational reform rural education has many challenges. The significance of education in rural schools greatly increases when “in the 10 states with the highest rates of poverty, 57% of school districts and 36% of students are located in rural areas” (Cowen, Butler, Fowles, Streams, & Toma, 2012, p. 432). These districts are attempting to affect local economies. Approximately one-third of the schools in Texas are rural, comprising over 2000 campuses, making the retention of high quality teachers an important consideration for rural school districts. This study was an investigation into teacher retention in a rural school in Texas and how teacher longevity is perceived to have an impact on student achievement. Data sources for this qualitative study included four teacher participants and two focus groups of administrators, documents and records, and the researcher’s journal. Findings indicate that affective factors such as connection to the small community, a culture of collegial family in the school and teacher voice in campus decisions were benefits of working in a rural school. Teachers identified these attributes as acceptable tradeoffs for lower salary than is available in urban districts. These participants also suggested that their longevity and the aforementioned factors possibly had connection to student achievement. Implications of this study reflect the need for strong administrative support and possible increase in funding by state entities to facilitate attractiveness of qualified teachers to rural areas.



Rural teachers, Teacher longevity, Rural teacher perception