Mentors are essential in effective teacher induction programs, according to the New Teacher Center.

Based on two decades of work with school districts across the country, the nonprofit New Teacher Center, based in Santa Cruz, has created a set of Teacher Induction Program Standards that can be adapted by school leaders as they design, implement and evaluate their own beginning teacher support programs.

The standards focus on how to enhance teacher effectiveness in five main areas:

  • Equity and closing the achievement gap
  • Teacher retention and leadership development
  • Academic content standards
  • Providing coaching and feedback
  • Promoting optimal learning environments

“Analyzing and revising our program based on district needs, research, and nearly 20 years of our own experience ensures we’re meeting districts’ needs, accelerating educator effectiveness, and increasing student learning,” said Jenny Morgan, vice president of program development at the center. “The New Teacher Center is creating a systemic approach to improve the social, emotional, and academic development of every student.”

Teacher induction, which takes place during the first two to three years of an educators’ career, “is an important and unique phase of teacher development,” according to the center. The organization recommends that induction programs should be “part of a larger system of teacher development, support, accountability, and evaluation” and should focus on “teaching practice and student learning.”

The center’s induction program includes mentoring for teachers at all grade levels, one-on-one coaching on the job from expert teachers and school leaders, formative assessment tools related to student work and teaching practices, and data and analysis to inform teaching and learning.

“A focus on equity and universal access to a quality education characterized by high expectations and meaningful, challenging content are non-negotiable,” according to the center.

This means teachers must adhere to subject area standards with rigorous instruction, while also addressing students’ social and emotional needs.

The center has broken up its recommendations into three types of standards:

  • Foundational standards that highlight the importance of strong leadership, a research-based vision, collaboration, and a realistic allocation of resources.
  • Structural standards that outline essential program components including: the selection and roles and responsibilities of mentors; ongoing mentor support; a collaborative system of formative assessment; and professional learning opportunities for beginning teachers.
  • Instructional standards that examine the knowledge, capabilities, and other qualities that are critical for mentors.

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