Home      Organizing Induction      Improving Practice   

Descriptions of strong induction programs

Purpose of this resource: This resource provides descriptions of strong induction programs to assist you in planning induction in your district and/or school. These descriptions identify the various components of strong induction programs that districts across the country have developed.

How to use this resource: As you read the descriptions think about what components will build on current strengths and which components would help you address current needs. As you read the descriptions, keep in mind the answers you and your colleagues provided to the guiding questions in Questions to ask.

FIRST (Framework for Inducting, Retaining and Supporting Teachers)
Lafourche Parish Public Schools, Louisiana

The Lafourche schools created its induction program in 1996 to stem an annual teacher attrition rate of 51%. Over the last two years, the average attrition rate was only 7%. As a result of this dramatic decrease in attrition rates, and the positive response from both beginning and experienced teachers, the district’s program became the model for Louisiana’s induction program and policies.

The Lafource Parish Public School System has 15 elementary schools, 9 middle schools and 3 high schools that enroll a total of 15,092 students and employ 1,322 teachers. The free and reduced lunch rate for the district is 63%. Seventy-two percent of the students are white; 22% are African-American; 3.5% are Native American. Hispanic and Asian-Pacific Islander students make up the remaining 2% of the students.

Year 1:

  • Four-day introductory summer session. Beginning teachers attend this summer institute before the start of the school year. The institute provides information on district policies and procedures. Expert teachers put on workshops on topics such as classroom management, curriculum standards, critical thinking and assessment. On the fourth day, beginning teachers meet their mentors who will work with them for two years, as well as their principals, school board members and supervisory staff. The beginning teachers get certificates, while their mentors share their own stories of their first years of teaching. Beginning teachers also visit classrooms of master teachers who explain how they set up their classrooms and demonstrate teaching strategies.
  • Monthly meetings. Beginning teachers meet to exchange ideas, present and discuss problems and challenges and share successes.
  • Curriculum facilitators are available to observe beginning teachers, provide more training and make suggestions for improvement.
  • Mentoring occurs at the school site.
  • First-year “Induction Review.” Beginning teachers meet to discuss effective teaching practices, lesson design and student discipline. The session is capped off by a slide show that features photographs of the beginning teachers at work.

Year 2:

  • Four formal meetings. Beginning teachers meet for four sessions. These sessions focus on classroom management, effective teaching practices, authentic assessment and high-stakes testing. Beginning teachers also read and discuss case studies of teaching and learning, read about the phases of teacher learning and development, and share their concerns and classroom experiences.
  • Mentoring continues at the school site.
  • Curriculum facilitators remain available for close-to-the-classroom work with beginning teachers.

Year 3:

  • Four formal meetings. Beginning teachers attend four sessions that ask them to examine case studies of effective teaching and “tough situations.” They also construct third-year inventories and study effective teaching techniques.

Islip New York School District

Since implementing their induction program, the teacher attrition rate in Islip has improved significantly. In 2001-2002, the third year of the induction program, the district lost only 3 teachers out of the 68 it hired. Further, student achievement has improved significantly since the program has been in effect. Though no empirical study documents the causal relationship between the induction program and the improvement in student learning outcomes, district officials, principals and teachers believe that the induction program has been a key factor in improved student outcomes.

Year 1:

  • Three-day orientation. This orientation occurs before the school year. Beginning teachers are provided introductions; a community tour; team-building activities; meetings with principals, union representatives, administrators and service staff; and information about policies and procedures.
  • Support groups. Beginning teachers meet monthly in small groups with a district coordinator to focus on the Effective Teacher video series.
  • Collegial circles. Beginning teachers meet together, without the district coordinator, in between formal support groups to continue their collaborative study group activities.
  • Mentoring. Beginning teachers are assigned a mentor teacher for three years.

Year 2:

  • One-day orientation. Before the start of the school year, beginning teachers attend a district orientation during which they are introduced to a Cooperative Discipline program.
  • Support groups. Beginning teachers meet monthly in small groups with the district coordinator to focus on the Cooperative Discipline program. Team-building activities are also included.
  • Mentoring continues at the school site.

Year 3:

  • A one-day orientation is held at district offices to review the Cooperative Discipline program.
  • Support groups. Beginning teachers meet monthly in small groups to focus on topics identified through various needs assessments.
  • Mentoring continues at the school site.
  • Celebration. At the end of the three years, the district hosts a celebration for beginning
    teachers, their mentors and district support providers.

Texas Beginning Educator Support System (TxBESS).

TxBESS uses a standards-based approach that defines expectations for beginning teachers and a support team that helps beginning teachers collect data to assess their skills. In 2000-01, of the 2,059 beginning teachers who participated in the entire two-year program, 98% remained in teaching. The program costs approximately $2,500 per teacher, compared to over $5,000 that an in-state analysis indicated it cost to replace a teacher. A well-designed, empirical study of the program indicates that the program has significantly increased teacher retention rates (Ingersoll & Kralik, 2003).

Districts in Texas have the flexibility to design the induction program to meet their specific needs. The only requirements are that they should last for two years and include the following components:

  • The Teacher Activity Profile (TAP). Texas educators developed the TAP based on Charlotte Danielson’s work. It identifies 22 performance standards that are divided into four clusters. A developmental continuum describes a range of typical beginning teacher practices on each standard, that move from “developing” to “competent” to “proficient.” The TAP is the centerpiece of conversations and collaboration between beginning teachers and their mentors. Together, the pair uses the TAP to co-plan lessons, collect classroom data, conduct observations and conference together. After the beginning teacher goes through all four of the clusters, the teacher works with his or her mentor to develop an action plan for professional growth. The plan can include revisiting some of the TAP clusters, participating in a book study group, taking a course or attending a workshop.
  • Staff development specifically for beginning teachers. The TxBESS provides beginning teachers with orientations and academies that typically take place before the first day of school and last from one to five days. These programs include topics such as classroom management, working with special education students, building relationships with parents and understanding students’ diverse needs. Some programs provide on-going learning opportunities through mailings and on-line discussions.
  • Each beginning teacher gets a support team comprised of mentor teachers, principals and teacher educators who are trained to help them. Team members are selected using well-defined criteria. TxBESS staff provide team members with professional development that focuses on beginning teacher development; understanding the purposes and uses of the TAP; and strategies for supporting, coaching and building relationships with beginning teachers. Mentor teachers’ own development continues through book studies, Internet chat groups and cluster group meetings with other mentors.