In July/August 2011, I gained approval from a Head Start agency to be the Principle Investigator (PI) of a research study. Although I have done some research before, I had never been the (PI), so it was quite exciting to receive formal support from the organization. But that was just the first hurdle.
Am getting ahead of myself. Prior to earning the organizations approval to conduct a research study, I first had to work with the Head Start Director of Operations and the three Assistant Directors to understand their needs and the needs of the organization. As it turns out, much like the rest of the preschool world, they had a problem with retaining teachers. That is, despite the economy and the possible difficulty in finding alternative employment, and despite the fact that Head Start pays better than the average preschool program, Head Start agencies still lose teachers.
Their Administration explained to me that retaining teachers is important because the children benefit from stability, stability makes parents happier, and because it is expensive to continue hiring and training new preschool teachers (among many other valid reasons).
After deciding the overall topic, I had to read what other researchers had done.