New teachers in the fall of 2021 will need different and more likely intensive support from school administrators and induction coaches, particularly in the first few months of in-person instruction, to create a level of support to maximize the success of new teachers. Program leaders and employers agree that the current situation impacting teacher preparation candidates is beyond anyone’s control, but that California’s community of educators possess the essential knowledge and skills to ensure that all candidates are well prepared to enter the workforce.
In order to effectively address these critical needs brought on by the pandemic, it will take all stakeholders, preliminary programs, induction programs, employers, site administrators, human resource personnel, mentors and veteran teachers, to ensure that these new teachers are supported and successful.
The California Commission on Teaching Credentialing staff convened a collaborative group representing the commission, teacher preparation programs, induction program leaders, ACSA and CTA to develop guidelines to address the myriad of issues facing new teachers beyond the scope of the CTC.
Following multiple meetings over several months, the collaborative group has initiated the following recommendations, which were presented to the CTC at its February 2021 meeting, to ensure new teachers have the essential support to ensure their success.
Recommendations for District On-boarding
Human Resource personnel play an essential role for new teacher candidates following the interview and selection process as they employ and place new teachers in their new assignments for the 2021-22 school year. In support of these new teachers, it is recommended that Human Resource personnel implement the following guidelines to ensure a successful pathway into the teaching profession.
• When offering a contract to a program completer, the employer is advised to request that the Individual Development Plan be provided as part of the on-boarding process, not as part of the application process, to provide insight to the candidates needs as they enter the teaching profession.
• Employers should be made aware of the specific additional requirements their new teacher may have to complete, as well as the intended timeline for completion in order to provide the candidate with essential support for completion.
• Employers should be aware whether or not their new teachers had a traditional “in-person” student teaching experience in order to determine the type and level of additional support candidates may require in order to maximize their success.
• District administrators should plan regular check-ins with the principals and the new teachers to assess if the level of support being provided is meeting the needs of the new teacher and determine whether adjustments are required to more completely meet the teacher’s needs.
• District administrators should ensure new teachers and their mentors have appropriate time to meet to ensure high quality targeted assistance.
• Ensure that new teacher candidates and their mentors have scheduled time to discuss strategies on how to create and maintain effective learning environments for student learning as well as addressing routine school site activities like recess duty and interacting across grade levels.
Recommendations for Site Administrators
School site administrators will be challenged to take on a greater role in the placement and support of new teachers to ensure they have the support and assistance not only of the induction process and mentors but with the support and assistance of grade level and subject matter teachers. Site administrators can best support new teachers with the implementation of the following recommendations:
• Principals meet with new teachers prior to the start of the school year to review the teachers Individual Development Plans (IDP) and to map out an initial level of support.
• Principals should know whether or not the new teacher has experience setting up a classroom as part of their fieldwork and provide the requisite level of support and guidance in concert with their induction mentor.
• Identify induction mentors at each school site to serve as a resource for new teachers as soon as possible after their assignment.
• Grade level teams and/or department chairs could be brought in as an additional support system for new teachers.
• Establish regular meetings with new teachers to review their role and responsibility and identify areas of needed support.
• School site administrators may meet with Induction Program Leaders to review/develop guiding principles and focus areas for induction mentors and new teachers.
• At the school site, the administrator should plan to meet with mentors/coaches supporting their new teachers to ensure new teachers are being provided with the essential support for success.
• Site administrators can support new teachers by being aware of the teacher’s standards for teaching performance goal areas, sharing school and district goals, and using the new teacher’s Individual Learning Plan as a roadmap.
• School principals are advised to develop a schedule of regular informal classroom visits to observe and support new teachers within the guidelines of the collective bargaining agreement.
• Principals meet with induction mentors, perhaps as a cohort as appropriate, to discuss and develop ideas for support plans for new teachers.
• School administrators are advised to schedule regular individual meetings with new teachers to share best practices, identify what is working, identify areas of growth, and develop a follow-up plan.
• Plan instruction and design learning experiences for the cycle of assessments across a school year due to so many regular assessment routines being waived during the pandemic.
• Meet with new teachers and their mentors to discuss how best to assess student learning and strategies for remediation as appropriate.
Recommendations for Induction
Leaders of teacher induction programs must have a clear understanding of how the 2021 program completers were prepared, their areas of strength and areas where additional support will be needed. Support for induction programs themselves will be critical so they can be prepared and successful in supporting these candidates. The nature of induction is focused on support and growth of the new teacher and is distinct from the evaluation process for employment.
• Initially, supporting new candidates in getting settled into their assignments and providing daily just-in-time supports.
• Utilizing the candidate’s unique strengths and needs may serve as a starting point for the induction process.
• Assist new candidates with the development of their Individual Learning Plans to ensure the candidates’ needs are identified and appropriately addressed.
• Creating and maintaining effective environments for student learning and establishing a safe environment in person, rather than through technology.
• Meet with new teacher candidates and their mentors to discuss and develop strategies to ensure students are appropriately supported in their developmental learning needs and social engagement.
• Discuss strategies with new teachers and their mentors to create and maintain healthy environments for social and emotional development.