Approximately 35 to 40 teachers participate annually in
the first-year program, and about the same number in the
2nd year. And that number continues to grow.
"I think the most important thing is that, when a district
is considering making a change, that it make the change
systematically," Ms. McCollum advises. "It must
become an integral part of the culture of the organization.
We really expect teachers to use effective classroom management
and instructional skills. We train them, and we have the
expectation that they will use the training in the classroom."
Combining The Best of the Best
Nestled about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans on the Gulf
of Mexico, the Lafourche Parish School System also has developed
a "best of the best" program, according to Curriculum
Coordinator Annette Breaux.
"My advice to anyone planning an induction program:
dont just jump right in there," Ms. Breaux says.
"Research induction first, and understand that there
is a lot of planning involved. We found out what the best
districts around the country were doing, and we decided
to build on that."
In developing induction activities for new teachers in its
30 schools, Lafourche Parish planned four "highly-structured"
days of training in classroom management, discipline, district
policies, procedures, instructional planning, and accommodating
individual differences, among other topics.
Three curriculum coordinators model effective teaching.
"We become the teachers, and the new hires become the
students," Ms. Breaux explains. "We set up a demonstration
classroom environment, so we dont ask them to do anything
that we dont model for them."
Each teacher is provided a copy of The First Days of School
and a 1 and 1/2-inch binder. The binder contains the following:
- mission statements for the district and schools;
- staff and faculty rosters for each school;
- each schools daily schedule and duty schedule;
- a section of articles on classroom discipline;
- checklists of items that must be in place before the
first day of classes;
- places to record information on individual students;
- interest inventories for students;
- tips for parent communication and parent-teacher relations;
- classroom management tips; and
- a success journal for teachers daily experiences
in the classroom.
An awards ceremony is hosted on the fourth day of induction
week, along with a social gathering where new teachers meet
mentor teachers, principals, School Board members and administrative
staff. Teachers then visit actual model classrooms and receive
tips and advice from veteran teachers.
Lafourche Parish also has established one Mentor Contact
Teacher at each school site, who oversees the activities
of all mentors in each school. Ms. Breaux tries to place
mentor teachers in rooms as close to new teachers as possible.
Mentors then conduct one observation per nine weeks and
an informal evaluation; develop an Individual Improvement
Plan with the new teacher; and lead the new teachers in
conducting self-evaluations at the end of each nine weeks.
One unique aspect of Lafourche Parish is that it hires new
teachers twice during each year: in August and in January.
For new teachers hired in January, the district stages a
second two-day induction program, packing four days of information
into half the time.
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