By Assistant Superintendent Rachael Agre
It has been a busy start to a new school year and our FPS New Teacher Induction Program is up and running in its third year of service to our new teachers. FPS New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) works in collaboration with the North Dakota Teacher Support System, the New Teacher Center, and the Southeast Education Cooperative to provide professional development for our new teachers, mentors, and administrators. We currently have 43 teachers new to the profession, 19 teachers new to our district, 20 teachers in their second year of teaching, and eight teachers who have been in FPS but are serving in a new role this year. This great work of learning and building of relationships is being facilitated by 51 FPS mentors in the NTIP. The induction program continues to grow. In the initial school year, 2011, program efforts focused primarily on supporting classroom teachers. This year we are providing support to K–12 professional staff in the areas of counseling, special education, English Language Learning, physical education, music, art, gifted services, and library media, in addition to classroom teachers.
Often times mentoring and induction are used synonymously. A mentor is one component of an induction program. Induction is a system-wide, comprehensive training and support process for new teachers, which becomes part of their lifelong professional development program, increasing their effectiveness and keeping them teaching.
Becoming a highly skilled teacher is an ongoing and challenging process. Teacher induction provides support for the new teacher as they begin the process of growing into an effective practitioner, and allows this growth to happen more rapidly. Research reveals that 20-33% of new teachers leave the profession after three years, and 50% leave after five years. Further, the research on student achievement shows that the quality of the teacher is the most important factor in student learning (Moir, New Teacher Center, 2012). New FPS teachers who participate in the NTIP have the opportunity to work alongside their mentor to set and monitor professional goals, plan instruction, analyze student work, observe veteran teachers, co-teach, reflect on practice, and explore available resources. Additionally, new teachers participate in six day-long trainings and may earn graduate credit while attending monthly afterschool sessions that align with and help prepare them for upcoming events such as progress reports, conferences, classroom management, etc.
The FPS NTIP offers new teachers access to the instructional knowledge and expertise of their colleagues in ways that contribute to student success. Our mentors are experienced teachers who participate in extensive training and are thoughtfully matched with their mentees. Throughout the year, mentors observe and videotape new teachers, provide non-evaluative feedback, and participate in one-on-one conferencing, as well as experience great satisfaction and professional growth!
Program survey data reveals the benefits of a teacher induction program go beyond new teachers to include mentors; building principals have reported professional growth from the mentor’s work within the induction program. Additionally, teachers reflect and improve individually while working toward the common goal of improving the quality of education; involved administrators offer on-going support; the district benefits through transformation of classroom practice and school cultures. Ultimately, it’s the students who benefit.
- Knowing and believing all children deserve highly effective teachers, the FPS New Teacher Induction Program has the following annual goals:
- Improve and accelerate the effectiveness of new teachers
- Build critical mentoring skills of mentors through specific professional development
- Build capacity by creating autonomous self-reflective teachers
- Ensure increased student engagement and academic achievement
- Provide coaching support to all teachers new to the Fargo Public Schools
- Nurture a culture of imbedding professional development and an expectation that all teachers grow
“Great teachers are made, not born.”
~ Ellen Moir, CEO, New Teacher Center