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“Most teachers who come to work here have had family or friends work here so they know it is a nice place to work,” Garvey said. Supportive parent-teachers alliances and site councils also have been key to this district’s success in maintaining its teachers. “We are the Sulphur Springs community district and community is at the center of what we do,” Garbey said. A recent study done by the California State University Center for Teacher Quality surveyed 2,000 teachers and concluded that a negative work environment was one of the leading causes for teachers leaving their profession. Kyle Kulish is in his first year as a 10th-grade English teacher at Golden Valley High School. Kulish, who said he’s had too many previous careers to mention, said teaching doesn’t compare to any other job he’s had. “At every other job you knew you would be working from 9 to 5, that’s it,” Kulish said. “As a teacher there is so much additional time spent planning, grading, keeping in contact with parents and trying to further yourself as a teacher that people quit the job if they’re not properly alerted to these circumstances.” Kulish said the Hart Union High School District’s Peer Assistance and Review program – derived and modified from a statewide program – has helped him stay in control. “I could easily see myself working here for 20 years,” Kulish said. The PAR program was established seven years ago by the state. Its purpose was to “fix” failing teachers with support and professional training to ensure their improvement. What the Hart district has done is put every new teacher into this peer assistance program. “Our district is one of the few in the state, or the country, to put all their new teachers through this program,” said Linda Marguiles, Hart’s induction director. “The idea is instead of having a situation where principals are making limited one-hour observations to provide their guidance to teachers, we are helping and pointing them in the right direction all year long,” Marguiles added. The Hart district retains 70 percent of its new teachers – above the national average of 50 percent and close to the state average. Overall, Hart teachers stay on the job longer than counterparts statewide, though California is making strides. The state has established a two-year induction program for new teachers, called the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment, which is similar to the Hart district’s system in which new teachers are guided and mentored. In its fourth year the program seems to be improving the retention rate for new teachers. In 2005-06 more than 92.2 percent of BTSA teachers were still teaching in their second year and 87 percent had stayed for four years. While teachers and administrators agree that Santa Clarita’s family-friendly communities and safe neighborhoods help create a more enticing environment for educators, even teachers at some of the more diverse schools in the area, and in poorer neighborhoods, seem to buck the attrition trend. Mary Ried has taught sixth grade at Newhall Elementary for 19 years. Newhall has more urban-like demographics with its higher percentage of English language-learner students and poorer residents, but Ried says she prefers the diversity. “It makes teaching more interesting,” Ried said. But Ried admits that after raising three children in the Santa Clarita Valley, it’s the combination of loving where you work – and live – that has made her stay at Newhall for so long. “It’s a great place to raise your own family where you get to see students out at the mall, soccer field and market,” she said. “They know that you are not only teaching in the community but you care. “I won’t leave until I retire.” firstname.lastname@example.org (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – It is not uncommon to hear teachers talk about retiring after spending decades in Santa Clarita schools – for many it’s the only place they’ve ever worked. But this longevity in teaching is rare. In California, 22 percent of all teachers will leave their careers after just four years, according to a recent report from the state Department of Education. That could mean a shortage of 33,000 teachers by 2015. Still, Santa Clarita’s teachers seem to defy the national and statewide trends by vying for teaching jobs in the area – and staying in those positions. “For every person that we hire we have 10 or 15 applications we turn away,” said Beverly Knudsen, assistant superintendent of personnel for the Newhall Elementary school district. Citing positive support programs, engaged parents and community members, and family-friendly neighborhoods as clear incentives to stay, teachers and administrators feel teaching in Santa Clarita pays off. “This year we will have a turnover of 10 teachers out of 284,” said Tom Garvey, director of personnel and pupil services at the Sulphur Springs School District in Canyon Country. Garvey said the majority of teachers in the district are 46-50 with 31 percent of them being older than 50. Garvey, who has been with the Sulphur Springs district for 20 years, said 22 percent of the teachers at the district have been there for more than 15 years.