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New teacher programs focus on professional development needs

by Kathie Skinner, Director of MTA's Center for Education Policy and Practice

In planning a New Teacher Induction Program as the current DOE regulations require (see 603 CMR 7.00), association and district leaders should create professional development opportunities for both new and veteran teachers that serve the needs of each. Each must have release time for classroom observations.

All New Teacher Programs should have three components:

  1. Orientation provides the new teacher with information from knowledgeable staff members about "who we are and how we do things."
  2. Mentoring is a one-on-one relationship between the novice and a fully certified teacher trained to be a mentor. Every new teacher must be assigned a trained mentor within the first two weeks of school.
  3. Induction is an organized instructional program providing novices with workshops to support the acquisition of skills related to instructional strategies. Classes of 2-3 hours should meet no less than every other week.

New teacher program plan

The following month-by-month suggested topics for mentoring meetings and induction classes are intended to provide guidance to district and association planners.

August: New teacher orientation

  • Community - norms, customs, values, resources, special needs
  • District - policies, procedures, evaluation, salary and benefits
  • School - teacher/student handbooks, policies, procedures, forms
  • Curriculum - frameworks, scope and sequence, texts, resources

September

Mentoring: Weekly meetings to discuss ...

  • Gradebooks and planbooks
  • Grading and homework policies
  • Classroom managment strategies

Induction: Separate sessions on topics such as ...

  • Classroom management
  • Teacher evaluation process and procedures

October

Mentoring: Weekly/biweekly meetings to discuss ...

  • Parent-teacher communications and conferences
  • Preparation for the first evaluation by administration
  • Other issues important to the novice

Mentors only: (monthly 2-hour meetings through June) to...

  • Debrief mentoring experiences and troubleshoot for colleagues
  • Make decisions about record keeping issues
  • Identify areas where more training should be provided by the district

Induction:

  • Effective communication with colleagues and parents
  • Time management

November

Mentoring: Weekly/biweekly meetings to discuss...

  • Report card policies and procedures
  • Help for students having academic difficulties

Induction: Separate sessions on topics such as ...

  • Student assessment
  • Reading strategies for all teachers

December

Mentoring: Weekly/biweekly meetings to discuss...

  • The effect of holidays on student behavior
  • Substitute teacher planning

Induction: Separate session on a topic such as ...

  • Differentiated instruction - an introduction

January

Mentoring: Biweekly meetings to discuss...

  • Second quarter/First semester grading issues
  • Preparation for the second evaluation by administration

Induction: Separate sessions on topics such as ...

  • Standards-based curriculum planning
  • Standards-based instructional practices

February

Mentoring: Biweekly meetings to discuss...

  • Starting over with new students and/or new courses
  • Preparing for the second parent-teacher conference

Induction: Separate sessions on topics such as ...

  • Differentiated instruction - application
  • Use of instructional technology

March

Mentoring: Biweekly meetings to discuss...

  • Preparing for state/local standardized testing

Induction: Separate sessions on topics such as ...

  • Understanding special education accommodations
  • Understanding English language acquisition strategies

April

Mentoring: Biweekly meetings to discuss...

  • Identifying students in danger of failing, creating a plan for these students, communicating with parents
  • School and district retention policies and procedures

Induction: Separate sessions on topics such as ...

  • MCAS question formats, student reporting, and related issues
  • Special education team meeting format and teacher input

May

Mentoring: Biweekly meetings to discuss...

  • Getting ready for the end of the school year - final exams, report card comments and final grading
  • Preparing for summer professional development

Mentors only: Monthly meeting to discuss...

  • Evaluation of program, suggestions for next year

Induction: Separate sessions on topics such as ...

  • End of course assessments - differentiated for accommodations
  • Evaluation of the Mentoring and Induction Programs

June

Mentoring: Biweekly meetings to discuss...

  • Closing up the classroom for the summer
  • Preparing for the first day of school

Mentors only: Monthly meeting to discuss...

  • Final record keeping issues


Schools district only: At the end of each academic year, the DOE regulations require the submission of an annual report to the Department that includes information on:

1. Program activities

2. Number and complete list of beginning teachers served

3. Number and complete list of trained mentors

4. Number of classroom observations made by mentors

5. Number of hours mentors and beginning teachers spend with each other

6. Hiring and retention rates for beginning teachers

7. Participant satisfaction

From the August/September 2002 issue of MTA Today