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NEW PROGRAM TO PLACE “LEAD TEACHERS” INTO NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS: Master Teachers Will Teach, but Also Serve as Mentors

"She was just fresh out of school. There are outstanding teachers, but even they can need guidance, someone to bounce ideas off or say she's having trouble, because you can't go to a supervisor for that. That dynamic won't work."

As part of a yearlong pilot program starting this September, “lead teachers” in New York City will receive $10,000 in addition to their regular salary to teach and mentor other teachers in low-performing schools. The program, a joint collaboration between the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the New York Department of Education, and a community group, will hire as many as three dozen teachers to work in nine elementary schools and one middle school in the Bronx. If successful, the program could serve as a possible model for the rest of New York City schools.

The lead teacher program was initiated by the Community Collaborative to Improve District 9 Schools (CC9), a Bronx-based organization that represents local community organizations. Program officials are confident that the lead teacher approach will help to improve struggling schools and student achievement. They believe the career advancement opportunities and innovative pay incentives will attract and retain master teachers in the profession.

“My son’s teacher wasn’t bad,” said Denise Moncrief, one of the two parent leaders of CC9. “She was just fresh out of school. There are outstanding teachers, but even they can need guidance, someone to bounce ideas off or say she’s having trouble, because you can’t go to a supervisor for that. That dynamic won’t work.”

Lead teachers must have at least five years of teaching experience. They will be vetted by a committee of administrators, parents, and teachers, and individual school principals will have veto power over the committee’s choice. Two lead teachers will be assigned to each participating elementary and middle school. They will spend half of their time sharing a classroom with another lead teacher and the other half providing professional support to other teachers at the school. Lead teachers assigned to the middle school will teach three regular classes a day and provide support and assistance to other teachers for the three remaining periods.

The New York Department of Education provided $1.6 million to the school district to help pay for the program. The Community Collaborative will contribute at least $200,000, with private foundations expected to provide the remaining money needed to pay the program’s estimated $2 million price tag.

Read the press release from the UFT at

For more information on the program, call Eric Zachary at 212-998-5813 or email him at

Comprehensive Induction in Practice: A Closer Look into the Trenches


Comprehensive induction can be delivered in a variety of forms. Tapping the Potential features four case studies of effective induction programs:

Connecticut BEST: New teachers in this program are inducted over two or, if needed, three years, when they present portfolios documenting their teaching as a basis for the award of a provisional license to continue teaching. Teachers are supported with well-trained mentors, content-specific seminars, and, in some districts, “senior advisors” who are released from their normal teaching duties to work intensely with three to five new teachers.

Santa Cruz New Teacher Project (SCNTP) at the University of California at Santa Cruz: The New Teacher Center provides induction services to every beginning teacher in the Santa Cruz school district through the University of California at Santa Cruz. The program has expanded to include other districts across the nation. SCNTP rigorously selects and trains mentors to support new teachers as undergraduates in education programs, as fifth-year “residents” during their certification year after receiving a bachelor’s degree, and as beginning teachers for their first two years in the Santa Cruz school district. Mentors also administer assessments to new teachers to evaluate their work.

Tangipahoa FIRST: Every new teacher in Louisiana is assigned a mentor who guides them through their first years of teaching and prepares them to be assessed by the state. This program is called LaTAAP (Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program). A separate induction program, Louisiana FIRST (Framework for Inducting, Retaining, and Supporting Teachers), provides a variety of supports to new teachers in school districts who apply for and receive state grant money. The case study in Tapping the Potential looks at Tangipahoa Parish, a rural district in Louisiana, to see how induction works in remote areas through both LaTAAP and LaFIRST.

The Toledo Plan: The Toledo (Ohio) Plan is a cooperative project between the Toledo school district and the Toledo Federation of Teachers. New teachers are considered interns, and are supported by mentors and reviewed as to their effectiveness at the end of their first year. At the end of the year, a Board of Review, composed of administrators and teacher leaders, examines the progress of each teacher and decides whether or not to renew their contracts. The Toledo Plan also identifies poorly performing teachers and provides them mentored support.

A more complete look at these four case studies, as well as additional examples of successful comprehensive induction programs, is available in the complete report at


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