Examples of Local and Statewide Programs That Provide Ongoing Professional Development Opportunities to Beginning and Experienced Teachers
Note: The examples provided in this appendix are included to provide readers with an appreciation for the breadth and variety of current programs. They are not intended to provide detailed case studies. See footnotes for URLs for further information.
CALIFORNIA BEGINNING TEACHER SUPPORT AND ASSESSMENT SYSTEM1
A longitudinal study conducted in California has found that the most effective approaches for supporting new teachers emphasize optimizing the relationship between new teachers and teachers who provide support and mentoring to them (Halford, 1998). As a result, California has instituted the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment System for first- and second- year teachers, which involves an extensive and systematic mentoring program for new teachers by their more experienced colleagues. For example, mentors work with new teachers to develop lesson plans that are based on the state’s standards for teaching.
At the national level, Teachers 21 and its affiliate organization, Research for Better Teaching, are dedicated to strengthening the practice of teaching for both new and experienced teachers. These not-for-profit organizations also
are working to help administrators become more involved in systemic improvements in schools.
Teachers 21 features ongoing seminars and courses that train beginning teachers to network, build partnerships with parents, engage in positive classroom management, link curriculum and assessment to curriculum frameworks, and explore ranges of pedagogical approaches to teaching science and mathematics. This organization also works to establish support groups for beginning teachers that focus on professional growth. These support groups meet on a regular basis throughout the year and help novice teachers reflect on their teaching and on their students’ learning.
Another key component to the success of the approach by Teachers 21 is the training of mentors. The third element is including principals and other administrators in all phases of the programs. In addition, Teachers 21 commits to building school culture that engage school administrators, new and veteran teachers, and others in the community in improving schools.
Teachers 21 maintains that the districts it considers progressive are those that care about both the professional growth of their teachers and the quality of their teaching. According to Teachers 21, the success of beginning teachers depends on the support of everyone in a school. Structures, time, space, and the availability of collegial practice that support observations, joint lesson planning, and curriculum development are important components to the success of new teachers. The organization further contends that such plans must be embraced and publicized by districts in order to ensure that mentoring programs are seen as vital to the community.
BOSTON PLAN FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS3
On a district level, the City of Boston has developed a five- year, $5-million program called The Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools. Now in its third year, this program combines and integrates improved professional preparation of its teachers with programs to raise academic achievement of its students. Twenty-five schools are currently involved. Key components of this program include:
Provision of an on-site coach for teacher professional development
One day per week in each school for these programs
Additional information about this program is available at <http://www.bpe.org/>.
Creation of and instructional leadership team in each school
Decision-making by cluster groups of teachers
Liaisons to each school made up of retired principals, teacher-consultants, and others
On-site workshops for teachers
NOTE: The following examples are from states that entered into partnership with the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (1997) and demonstrate the range of approaches that can impact on teacher development and preparation.
NORTH CAROLINA UNIVERSITY-SCHOOL TEACHER EDUCATION PARTNERSHIPS 4
Three years ago, North Carolina established the University-School Teacher Education Partnerships, an initiative that will create “clinical schools” for novice and veteran teachers at all of the 15 public teacher education institutions in that state. Many of these universities also are planning to establish more elaborate Professional Development Schools. These partnerships are operated based on five guiding principles:
increased time for preservice teachers to experience earlier, longer, and more intensive field-based placements in the public schools, connected to methods classes and clinical teachers at school sites;
jointly-crafted professional development programs for teachers, administrators, and others in the public schools and universities;
increased communication between public schools and higher education for the purpose of sharing and disseminating best practices;
generation and application of research and new knowledge about teaching and learning;
joint involvement of university and school personnel in curriculum planning and program development. (quoted verbatim from Edelfelt, 1999, page 2).
OHIO’S PROGRAM FOR TEACHER EDUCATION
Since September 1996, Ohio has had in place through its association with the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, a “comprehensive new infrastructure for preparing, licensing, and promoting the professional development of teachers.” Within this
Additional information about this program is available at <http://www.ga.unc.edu/>.
statewide infrastructure, mentors are provided for all beginning teachers and principals. Peer review of and assistance with teaching skills are encouraged through competitive grants to school systems. In addition, funds are available to implement peer review programs and for the training of mentor teachers at regional professional development centers. The Ohio State Board of Education has authorized a waiver of its rules on teacher professional days to provide the flexibility needed to create time for professional development, and this has had beneficial effects. For example, Ohio’s Centerville School District was able to negotiate with the local teachers’ union to provide release time and $1,000 stipends for mentor teachers (Halford, 1998). Tangible incentives, district support, specialized professional support for mentors, and careful attention to the matches between mentors and new teachers are key components of Centerville’s program.
SUPPORT FOR TEACHERS IN OKLAHOMA, MARYLAND, KANSAS, AND MISSOURI
Oklahoma has provided additional funds to its Commission for Teacher Preparation to launch professional development institutes that focus on the teaching of mathematics, the teaching of inquiry-based science, the use of technology in the classroom, and the training of mentors for beginning teachers.5
In Maryland, 240 new Professional Development Schools will be launched, expanding the current efforts of its 13 public universities. All prospective teachers in the state of Maryland ultimately will be expected to complete a year-long internship in connection with these PDSs (Maryland State Department of Education, 1998).
Kansas also has committed to ongoing professional development and new induction programs that hold teacher education programs accountable for the performance of their graduates. The Kansas Teacher Development Coalition,6 a collaboration of state agencies, higher education institutions, and other educators, has been working to align preservice education and induction-related professional development with that state’s redesign of teacher licensure. Meanwhile, each of six Regents institutions in Kansas has established professional development school partnerships for the clinical preparation of new teachers.
Missouri has established a Super-
Additional information about these institutes is available at < http://sde.state.ok.us/pro/teach.html>.
Additional information is available at < http://www.usd259.com/staff/teacher-dev-coalition.htm>.
intendents’ Institute to help prepare teacher leaders become more knowledgeable about innovation, the process of change, and successful practices. New incentive grants for innovation will help schools and districts use educational research and adopt teaching practices that have been found to be successful elsewhere (NCTAF, 1997). The state also has created Professional Development Schools and is considering PDS standards, a statewide support network, and a stable funding structure of PDSs.7
Additional information is available at <http://www.dese.state.mo.us/divurbteached/rpdc/>.