The Changing Role of Human Resources in Urban Schools: Perceptions of Human Resources Leaders in the Recruitment and Retention of Quality Teachers and Principals
Parham, Carol S
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Educators and policymakers have faced persistent challenges in closing achievement gaps between low-income and minority students in urban school districts and their peers with greater financial resources and from majority backgrounds. Human Resources Leaders must work to ensure that they are implementing strategic actions that will result in recruiting and retaining highly effective teachers and principals in our most disadvantaged school districts. This qualitative study examines the perceptions of three Human Resources Leaders from urban school districts engaged in a cohort learning experience about strategic actions they have implemented to improve teacher and leader quality in their school districts. The cohort experience, with the pseudonym of the Urban Schools Human Resources Improvement Project, involved ten school districts in a learning experience over a three-year period of time. The findings from this study identify the high impact actions of three Human Resources Leaders from urban school districts engaged in the Urban Schools Human Resources Improvement Project. Data was gathered through the use of a case study methodology using purposeful sampling to identify the Human Resources Leaders in the project who met a set of criteria based on years in their positions, implementation level of the work of the Project, and their leadership experiences outside of the educational field. The Odden Framework for Strategic Management of Human Capital provided a construct through which the strategic actions of the Human Resources Leaders could be examined. Findings from this study revealed that there was evidence to suggest that Human Resources Leaders' strategic actions were aligned with the Odden framework. The Human Resources Leaders indicated that having a clear district goal and strategy drives the work of Human Resources to design the roles of high quality teachers and principals and select candidates who have the competencies and motivations that match the role expectations; they identified numerous strategies for recruitment and retention that are promising in urban school districts; and having a context that supports strong selection, performance management, and compensation of high quality candidates will improve the conditions for students in urban school settings.