Finally, on the fourth day of the induction process, the
new teachers undergo intensive training in classroom management
"Classroom management is not just a professional reflection
of a teacher, but a personal reflection," Ms. Heintz
contends. "We explore disciplining with dignity, how
to discipline a child without robbing them of their dignity.
We spend a great deal of time with procedures and routines;
we use the Harry Wong video series, The Effective Teacher."
Flowing Wells further enlists master teachers to set up
"demonstration classrooms" in the elementary,
junior high and high schools, simulating how the new teachers
rooms should be arranged for the first day of school.
Finally, the first-year teachers are released to their own
classrooms to begin preparing for the first days of school.
Of course, the induction of new teachers in Flowing Wells
doesnt end with the four days of training before school.
A series of follow-up seminars are planned, usually in October,
November, January, and March.
"We really go into a lot of depth in instruction in
the follow-up sessions," Ms. Heintz explains. "On
those days, the focus is on deepening and strengthening
the instructional practices. We try to seek out the areas
where our new teachers might need some special help. Its
really a means of support for our new teachers."
For example, the November seminar usually serves as a "re-charge"
day, full of encouragement and esteem-building for the new
teacher. "One of my teachers said its kind of
like coming to a spa. You get to relax a little bit and
get rejuvenated again," Ms. Heintz recalls with a chuckle.
The seventh and final seminar each spring includes a dinner
for the new teachers and the presentation of framed certificates.
In addition to the organized workshops, each new teacher
spends his or her first year under the watchful eye of Ms.
Heintz, who serves as mentor to all the first-year teachers
and provides each with five classroom observations. Ms.
Heintz stresses that "the observations are not about
being fixed; theyre about growing professionally."
The Institute for Teacher Renewal and Growth is merely the
first phase of an ongoing, comprehensive staff development
program for Flowing Wells educators. In their second year
in Flowing Wells, teachers are mentored by instructional
coordinators, master teachers with specialized training
in all aspects of instruction. Each master teacher is paid
a $2,000 stipend and given release time as incentives to
provide committed mentoring.
"You have to organize a structured follow-up,"
Ms. Heintz explains. "It starts imbedding the vocabulary,
the routines into a districts culture. If training
simply ends with a workshop, it ends. You have to follow
Then, in the third through fifth years of a teachers
professional career, Flowing Wells provides even more advanced
training in instructional strategies, cooperative learning,
and reinforcing fundamentals. Beyond that, "proficient"
and "expert" educators explore higher order thinking
skills, multiple intelligences, clinical supervision, cognitive
coaching, and writing curriculum, among other topics.
"Ours is a career-long program," Ms. Heintz explains.
"It starts with new teacher induction, which is one
year. Then, throughout our entire staff development program,
we have something for all levels of teaching.
"In Flowing Wells, induction is only the opening chapter
of a life-long learning process. We try to createand
continue creatingthe best teachers possible."
A two-hour drive north on Interstate 10 from Flowing Wells,
through the heart of Arizona, leads to another school district
with a dramatically different social landscape but a similar
commitment to training new teachers.
Located adjacent to and southeast of Phoenix, Mesa Public
Schools is an ever-expanding model of cultural diversity.
The districts population has swollen to more than
350,000. Its 69 schools serve about 72,000 students from
every walk of life -- from communities with 100 percent
free and reduced lunch eligibility to gated communities
where million-dollar homes are the rule.
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