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RETAINING OUR BEST: Successful Strategies to Support New Teachers and Keep Veteran Educators

School districts across the country will need to develop successful strategies both to support new teachers and to keep veteran educators in place if the nation is committed to making sure that no child is left behind. These strategies involve a two-pronged solution: financial incentives for teachers in high-poverty schools, and well-organized professional development and support systems-including new-teacher induction programs-for beginning teachers.

While Every Child a Graduate made the case for financial incentives, the new Alliance report, New-Teacher Excellence: Retaining Our Best, argues that school districts nationwide must provide well-organized induction programs for all new teachers. In general, these programs must be linked to a vision of good teaching, guided by an understanding of teacher learning, and supported by a professional culture that favors collaboration and inquiry.

Some districts and states have already implemented successful induction programs, increasing their ability to hold on to new teachers by 25 percent and saving millions of dollars in turnover costs. In developing induction programs, states should borrow ideas from one another, learning and making improvements as they implement their plans. The Alliance report focuses on programs in Texas and Ohio, two states that have developed and begun implementing induction programs modeled closely on California’s Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program, which has been described as a national exemplar.

With induction programs, high-poverty schools and districts will have much greater success meeting the challenge in the No Child Left Behind Act to guaranty that all students have access to qualified teachers who can help them meet high standards and graduate from high school prepared for college.

The complete report is Out of Print  (For information on teacher retention, see Tapping the Potential: Retaining and Developing High-Quality New Teachers).

TEACHER RECRUITMENT AROUND THE COUNTRY: How States and Districts are Working to Meet the High-Quality Challenge

Chicago: Academy for Urban School Leadership

In an effort to encourage new people to enter the teaching field, the Chicago-based Academy for Urban School Leadership has developed an incentive program for people willing to teach for five or more years in high-need schools. In addition to providing a $30,000 stipend to participants, the Academy also pays for the cost of obtaining a master’s degree and a teaching certificate for program.

In its first year, the program began with 32 teachers-in-training from a pool of 300 applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, including a candy company manager, a former funeral services executive, and a former captain in the U.S. Army. The program is expected to expand to 80 candidates next year with the help of a $1.5 million federal grant. The master’s program and teacher’s certification are provided on site by faculty from National Louis University.

Massachusetts: “Bonus Baby” Program

Three years ago Massachusetts began a program that offered $20,000 in bonuses to attract non-educators to teach in its schools. However, a recent study found that the nearly half of participants in Massachusetts’ “bonus baby” program have left their classrooms.

According to the Boston Globe, Clarke Fowler, a Salem State College professor and prominent critic of the initiative, found that of the 59 people awarded bonuses in 1999, 46 percent were no longer teaching three years later. In the second and third year of the program, 28 percent and 17 percent, respectively, of bonus recipients left the program.

Supporters of the program say that past bonus recipients were placed in classrooms with as little as two months of training. Now, recipients must undergo training at colleges or universities versus the “eight-week blitz of classes and summer school” in the past. Andrew Effrat, interim dean of the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst told the Boston Globe that “providing more mentoring, more support, and stronger induction are certainly likely to enhance retention” in the bonus baby program and other, similar programs.

Read more on Massachusetts’ “Bonus Baby” Program

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.