Induction: Georgia

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-needs schools.

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Induction: Georgia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/GA-Induction-9

Analysis of Georgia's policies

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.

Citation

Recommendations for Georgia

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. 

State response to our analysis

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.

Last word

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.

Research rationale

Although many states have induction policies, the overall support for new teachers in the United States is fragmented due to wide variation in legislation, policy and type of support available. There are a number of good sources describing the more systematic induction models used in high-performing countries:

Teachers Matter: Attracting Retaining and Developing Teachers, a 2005 publication by the OECD, examines (among many other factors) the role that induction plays for developing the quality of the teaching force in 25 countries. For shorter synopses, consult Lynn Olson, "Teaching Policy to Improve Student Learning: Lessons from Abroad," 2007.http://www.edweek.org/media/aspen_viewpoint.pdf

Educational Testing Service's Preparing Teachers Around the World (2003) examines reasons why seven countries perform better than the United States on the TIMS and includes induction models in its analysis.

Domestically, evidence of the impact of teacher induction in improving the retention and performance of first-year teachers is growing. See Impacts of Comprehensive Teacher Induction: Results from the Second Year of a Randomized Controlled Study. National Center for Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Department of Education (2009).

A California study found that a good induction program, including mentoring, was generally more effective in keeping teachers on the job than better pay. See Deborah Reed, et al., "Retention of New Teachers in California," Public Policy Institute of California, 2006.

Descriptive qualitative papers provide some information on the nature of mentoring and other induction activities and may improve understanding of the causal mechanisms by which induction may lead to improved teacher practices and better retention. A report from the Alliance for Excellent Education presents four case studies on induction models that it found to be effective. See Tapping the Potential: Retaining and Developing High-Quality New Teachers, Alliance for Excellent Education at: http://www.all4ed.org/files/archive/publications/TappingThePotential/TappingThePotential.pdf

For evidence of the importance of high quality mentors, see C. Carver and S. Feiman-Nemser, "Using Policy to Improve Teacher Induction: Critical Elements and Missing Pieces."  Educational Policy v23 (2009) as well as K. Jackson and E. Bruegmann in "Teaching Students and Teaching Each Other:  The Importance of Peer Learning for Teachers." American Economic Journal (2009).See also Harry Wong, "Induction Programs that Keep New Teachers Teaching and Improving," NASSP Bulletin, 2004; 87(638): 5-27.

For a further review of the research on new teacher induction see Lopez, et al., "Review of Research on the Impact of Beginning Teacher Induction on Teacher Quality and Retention," ED Contract ED-01-CO-0059/0004, SRI International, 2004. 

The issue of high turnover in teachers' early years particularly plagues schools that serve poor children and children of color. Much of the focus of concern about this issue has been on urban schools, but rural schools that serve poor communities also suffer from high turnover of new teachers.

Research on the uneven distribution of teachers (in terms of teacher quality) suggests that, indeed, a good portion of the so-called "achievement gap" may be attributable to what might be thought of as a "teaching gap," reported by many including L. Feng and T. Sass, "Teacher Quality and Teacher Mobility." National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (2011); T. Sass et al, "Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools." CALDER Institute (2010) and C.T. Clotfelter, et al., "Who Teaches Whom? Race and Distribution of Novice Teachers," presented at the American Economic Association Meetings, Atlanta, 2002.
See also Bradford R. White, et al., "Leveling Up: Narrowing the Teacher Academic Capital Gap in Illinois," Illinois Research Council, June 2008.