March 21, 2005
New Teacher Center wins $1.5 million contract
to participate in federal study of support programs
By Jennifer McNulty
The highly regarded New Teacher Center at UCSC has been awarded
a $1.5 million contract to participate in the federal governments
first major evaluation of programs that school districts offer
The U.S. Department of Educations Institute of Education
Sciences (IES) selected Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., to
carry out the $10.3 million, five-year evaluation study. The
study will examine the effects of two programs, the NTC Induction
Model and ETS PATHWISE.
The New Teacher Center (NTC) has supported beginning teachers
since 1988, and now works across the country with school districts
interested in intensive induction models. In response to the
national policy emphasis on teacher quality, most school districts
provide support for new teachers.
However, program quality varies, and there is little research
to guide districts in improving their efforts. This timely and
important IES study will inform districts in making decisions
on how best to allocate professional development dollars.
We know that teacher quality is the single most important
variable in student performance, and we also know that the first
two years of teaching are the most challenging, says NTC
executive director Ellen Moir. Our NTC induction model
has been shown to cut new teacher dropout rates by half, and
we are beginning to show significant impact on student learning.
Participating in the IES study is an opportunity to validate
our results and increase our understanding of induction efforts.
The NTC induction model pairs beginning teachers with carefully
selected and highly trained experienced teachers released full-time
from their classroom duties. Without the split demands of classroom
teaching and after-school mentoring, these veteran teachers
become skillful teachers of teachers who work weekly
with novices in their classrooms. Mentors receive ongoing professional
development along with a set of mentoring tools and protocols
that focus their work with beginning teachers on student learning
and classroom practice. The mentors carefully assess the novices
professional needs and then tailor their work accordingly, using
the NTC induction materials.
The IES study will select 20 urban school districts to participate.
Ten sites will be assigned to implement the NTC induction model,
and 10 sites will implement ETS PATHWISE. Two veteran teachers
will be selected in each district to work full-time with first-year
teachers at 10 elementary school sites, while a control group
of beginning teachers will receive support through the districts
preexisting induction program. NTC project director Jan Miles
will lead a team of NTC outreach coordinators to provide professional
development for the mentors and to work onsite in the 10 districts
to guide implementation through June 2006.
Mathematica researchers will track the effectiveness of each
program on teacher retention, classroom practice, and student
The NTC is committed to ensuring that all new teachers
enter schools with the support they need and deserve,
noted NTC associate director Janet Gless. This work is
critical, not just to retain new teachers, but to develop outstanding
teachers and help our schools become learning communities where
students and teachers, alike, are successful.
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