The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-needs schools.
Georgia does not require a mentoring program or any other induction support for its new teachers. The state has a Teacher Induction Task Force to identify a state model for induction and create induction standards.
Ensure that a high-quality mentoring experience is available to all new teachers, especially those in low-performing schools.
Georgia should ensure that all new teachers—and especially any teacher in a low-performing school—receive mentoring support, especially in the first critical weeks of school.
Set specific parameters.
To ensure that all teachers receive high-quality mentoring, the state should specify how long the program lasts for a new teacher, who selects the mentors and a method of performance evaluation.
Require induction strategies that can be successfully implemented, even in poorly managed schools.
To ensure that the experience is meaningful, Georgia should guarantee that induction includes strategies such as intensive mentoring, seminars appropriate to grade level or subject area and a reduced teaching load and/or frequent release time to observe other teachers.
Georgia noted that the state continues to offer a Teacher Support Specialist (TSS) Endorsement to prepare experienced teachers who have demonstrated high levels of competencies to serve as role models and mentors for preservice, beginning and in-service teachers. Local districts support and encourage the TSS Endorsement and allow these teachers to train, support and mentor newly hired teachers.
In addition to the Teacher Support Specialist Endorsement, in the 2009-2010 school year, the Special Education Services and Supports Division piloted an induction program for new teachers to special education. In 2010-2011, the Georgia Induction of Special Education Teacher program standards were piloted. A total of 19 induction candidates and eight induction coaches participated in the pilot.
Participation in the pilot included webinar meetings, site meetings, and statewide professional learning opportunities. Specific guidelines were given to local systems for the hiring process of induction coaches, and these coaches participated in a 2.5-day coaching institute. The induction teachers participated in different day-long workshops and webinars, and embedded professional development was expected between the teacher and coach (four hours per week with coach, including two hours of observation and feedback each week).
Year two of the pilot will be completed in 2011-2012. During this year of the pilot, teachers will develop an action research plan that is aligned to professional growth targets based on CLASS Keys. Coaches and university partners will continue to work with teachers on this action plan as well as develop the mindset of continuous improvements for these teachers for when induction support ends.
Final determination for the state-wide deployment of the Georgia Induction of Special Education Teachers will take place at the end of pilot year two. Ideally, this induction program will parallel the induction program being developed for regular classroom teachers, as research shows that teachers of Special Education need specialized support and induction.
Georgia added that the state's Induction Task Force, which is part of the work of the Race to the Top (RT3), is creating draft induction guidelines for teachers and principals. These guidelines will be used by Georgia's 26 Race to the Top districts to design, or revisit, induction programs that will be implemented during the 2012-2013 school year. In addition, the guidelines will be communicated to all school districts in the state, and all districts will be encouraged to consider the guidelines in designing, or revising, their induction programs.
During the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year, the Induction Task Force will work on induction standards and on revisions, as needed, to the teacher and principal induction guidelines. The guidelines call for districts to develop an induction program that contains the following elements: an orientation for the induction-phases teacher, a quality mentoring program and an induction-phase support team comprised of support from the mentor and the building administrator for analysis of the on-going performance to guide the new teacher's professional learning. The guidelines also suggest that with the state's support, the districts establish a systematic approach to evaluate the effectiveness of their Teacher Induction Program. These guidelines will serve as the framework for the development of Leader Induction Guidelines, knowing that some categories appropriate for teachers would not apply to leaders.
A draft of the proposed Teacher and Leader Induction Guidelines will be presented to the Georgia State Board of Education and posted to the Georgia Department of Education website for public comment in fall 2011.
It is evident from the state's response that Georgia recognizes the need to provide new teachers with induction support. To underpin the many activities and initiatives the state describes, Georgia should consider a requirement that all new teachers receive this support.