Additional demonstration classes also meet throughout the
year, which mentors and new teachers are encouraged to attend
together. According to Dr. Fiandach, "We want the mentor
and the mentee to have a focus for their dialogue. We want
them to do meaningful things together."
Teachers who are hired after the scheduled induction must
attend a four-hour Saturday training focused on routines
Like its counterpart in Flowing Wells, the Mesa Public Schools
system provides for staff development opportunities for
new teachers beyond their first year.
Year Two of the Career Ladder Program centers on instructional
strategies. Teachers must complete an additional 16 hours
of training in instructional strategies, plus another four
hours of training in writing an instructional unit. These
teachers then write a 10-lesson unit and submit it for evaluation.
They also submit for additional evaluation their analysis
of how they implemented the unit with their students.
"Then, in the third year, we give them a breather,"
Dr. Fiandach explains. "If theyre having trouble,
they are required to take another instructional strategies
class and work a little more closely with someone. If they
are not having problems, and the principal feels like things
are going well, then there are no additional professional
growth requirements that year."
Almost a full continent away, in the rolling hills of Gaston
County, North Carolina, the induction programs for new teachers
are ever-changing, like the leaves on the stately oaks that
pepper the landscape.
Just 20 miles west of Charlotte, Gaston County has become
the sixth largest school district in North Carolina. The
district employs more than 1,800 teachers and serves approximately
30,000 students in 53 schools.
The Gaston County induction program began six years ago
with 80 first-year teachers. It has grown to more than 150
new teachers served in 1996-97 and is expected to exceed
200 in 1997-98. Each year, according to Staff Development
Coordinator Linda Rader, the program draws from a variety
of influences and is tailor-made to the needs of the new
"It is still basically a 5-day, pre-school workshop,
but we are constantly changing our program every year to
suit what we think our specific group is going to need,"
Ms. Rader explains. Classroom management and instructional
strategies, of course, dominate the curriculum for new teachers.
For example, in 1997, the District has responded to a change
to block scheduling in the area high schools, which required
teachers to report earlier than usual, in late July.
"Of course, we didnt have as many people hired
at that time as we wanted," Ms. Rader explains. Thus,
the induction program was presented once in July for those
teachers who were already on staff, then repeated in early
fall for teachers hired after mid-July. The latter training
took the form of afternoon sessions and the occasional Saturday.
"Once a teacher has started the school year, you have
to take a little bit different tactic," Ms. Rader says.
"You dont talk quite so much about the first
day of school, as you do about classroom techniques. We
have a chance to critique some of the things theyve
done so far in the school year."
Also, for the first time in 1997, Gaston County incorporated
model classrooms into its induction program. The district
selected one teacher at each grade level and paid that teacher
to set up a model classroom for new teachers.
"That worked like a jewel," Ms. Rader reports.
"The new teachers talked with the model classroom teachers
a while, asked all the questions they wanted.
In addition to the induction week at the outset of the year,
Ms. Rader meets with the newly-licensed teachers on the
second Saturday of each month. "We discuss different
topics," she says. "Our first meeting of this
year was on conferencing skills, because we have a system-wide
parent conference day in October. Then, we move on to discussing
the testing programs or whatever first-time experiences
loom on the horizon for new teachers."
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