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January 26, 2004

700 educators to attend sixth national New Teacher Symposium February 2-3

By Jennifer McNulty

More than 700 educators will descend on the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose on February 2-3 to learn the latest about what new teachers need to be successful in their work.

“By strengthening the teaching profession, we help every student.”

--Ellen Moir, director of the New Teacher Center

The Sixth National New Teacher Center Symposium on Teacher Induction, “Soaring to New Heights," will focus on three themes central to teacher induction: quality mentoring, teacher leadership, and equitable learning and social justice for all students.

With participants coming from 29 states, as well as England and Canada, the symposium has become one of the most popular gatherings of its kind. More than 60 sessions will highlight effective strategies, innovative ways of viewing traditional issues, and research that substantiates, promotes, and advances the work of teacher development and induction.

“We need to get the word out about what teachers need to be successful in their first years in the classroom, because we know that those first years are critical to their long-term success,” said Ellen Moir, director of the New Teacher Center. “By strengthening the teaching profession, we help every student.”

Based at UCSC, the New Teacher Center (NTC) has pioneered the development of a mentor-based support program and is building a network of educators who are implementing it in school districts around the country. Active in schools throughout California and in 21 other states, the NTC has a strong track record of helping, retaining, and nurturing novice teachers.

“Half of all new teachers leave the profession within their first five years of service, but by pairing new teachers with veteran mentors who give them the support and encouragement they need, we can reverse this long-standing trend,” said Moir. “Mentorship makes all the difference, and we’re seeing school districts embrace our model regardless of mandates and budget problems, because it works.”

Ninety-four percent of new teachers who participated in 1992 in the NTC’s Santa Cruz New Teacher Project were still teachers or working in administration six years later, said Moir. The New Teacher Project is one of California’s 150 beginning teacher support and assessment programs.

“Unfortunately, we know that students with the greatest needs are most likely to be taught by underprepared teachers,” said Moir. “Every student deserves a fully prepared teacher who has the backing of a team of experts who are ready and willing to share their knowledge. We are building the networks to tighten the safety net so all students and all teachers will achieve their full potential.”

Note: About 200 people will attend a preconference on Sunday, February 1, that includes a daylong workshop on the New Teacher Center’s induction model. Full program information is available online.

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