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" New Teacher Induction"

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The four-day training is brought to a close with a discussion of professionalism, professional dress, making a good impression, and the importance of calling parents with positive news. The seminar ends with an emotional a "pep talk" and video presentation of Dr. Wong’s I choose to CARE.

"It just really makes you proud of who you are and what career you’ve chosen," Ms. Lozen says.

Teachers completing the four-day program are awarded a certificate, a mug, and a "teacher start-up kit" in a tote bag filled with bulletin board borders, letters, a chalk holder, notepads with an apple design, and posters onto which classroom procedures may be written.

Follow-ups to the induction week take the form of "special topic seminars" on the fourth Tuesday of each month (except December). Such topics as the home-and-school connection, preparing teachers for conference days, how staffing for the following year is done, and cooperative learning are explored.

"The content depends on the group," Ms. Lozen explains. "It’s about laying the general foundation for meeting the needs of all their students.

"We’re kind of a ‘no-excuses’ district; the job of the teacher is to help all students succeed. Our subtle program for the whole year is to take a slice of the population and address how to help kids with different needs—attention difficulties, the gifted and talented, various groups."

One of the key differences between the Port Huron program and others modeled after Flowing Wells is that new teachers are appointed a "support teacher," someone who has volunteered to serve as a support for the new teacher but has had no formal mentor training.

"We have looked at some of the mentor training pieces, but think that it would be insulting, patronizing to our staff to approach the issues from the basics," Ms. Lozen says. "Support teachers know they need to be friendly. They know they need to be available. We just walk through the research about some of the needs of first-year teachers and what we want support teachers to talk with new teachers about."

Another unique aspect of the Port Huron program is that it was developed in conjunction with the Port Huron Education Association, the area teachers’ union. According to Mary Ecker, a member of the executive board of the Port Huron Education Association, "New teachers are not the only beneficiaries of induction programs. The involvement of the education association with the administration positively impacts, students, colleagues, and administrators. We model teamwork as a way of achieving mutually desired goals."

Ms. Lozen adds, "It’s a good relationship. Mary and I have become fast friends. We get feedback from a variety of sources. We tell the new teachers we’re going to take their pulse all the time, that we need them to be honest with us. And the feedback we get has been very positive—especially when we talk about procedures and routines.

"We hear, ‘Nobody ever told me about this. I had no idea.’ It’s just amazing to me that colleges and universities aren’t aware of the importance of procedures and routines."

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