Grants Support Innovative New Teacher Induction

September 11th, 2013

Category: Policy and Practice

According to American economist Theodore Levitt, “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”

“Doing new things,” in the area of new teacher induction programs, is precisely what the Comprehensive Induction Program (CIP) Competitive Grants will fund during the 2013-14 school year. Six districts were awarded a cumulative $186,266 “to provide even greater support for new educators and to ensure that all of Delaware’s students receive a quality education and are college and/or career ready.”

Much like its sister grant, Specific and Innovative Improvement Practices (SIIP), the CIP grant aims to foster creativity and innovation among Local Education Agencies (LEA)—such as school districts and charter schools. However, whereas the SIIP grants seek to directly strengthen student supports, CIP grants seek to provide stronger supports to new educators in order to increase educator retention rates, improve teaching practices of new and veteran staff members, and ultimately strengthen the human capital pipeline of new teachers throughout the state.

Successful applicants include:

  • Caesar Rodney School District ($45,435)
  • Christina School District ($14,751)
  • Colonial School District ($41,546)
  • Indian River School District ($18,180)
  • Sussex Tech School District ($29,732)
  • Woodbridge School District ($36,662)

The DDOE’s push to foster innovation and creativity among LEA comprehensive induction programs reflects an opportunity to ensure that Delaware’s educational practices honor the intent of lauded state policies.

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) awarded Delaware a C+, a higher grade than the national average of C-, for its policies related to “expanding the pool of Teachers.” Specifically, NCTQ stated that one of Delaware’s policy strengths is that the, “induction supports the immediate needs of new teachers.” Delaware’s new teacher mentoring program was also cited as a policy strength related to “retaining effective teachers.” Furthermore, according to a policy study conducted by the New Teacher Center, “Delaware is one of only three states that requires and funds multi-year new teacher induction and makes program completion a requirement for licensure advancement. Mentors must spend a minimum of 30 hours with first-year educators, and less time with second- and third-year educators.”

However, the TELL Delaware survey indicates that there is room to improve new teacher supports. According to the survey: 37% of new teacher respondents indicated that the induction support they received did not improve their instructional practices; and only 50% indicated that the induction support they received was important in their decision to continue teaching at their school. In terms of mentoring supports, 56% of respondents reflected on the effectiveness of their teaching with their mentor less than once a month, 39% of respondents indicated that they had been never been observed teaching by their mentor, and an additional 32% indicated that they had been observed teaching by their mentor less than once a month.

Delaware has made amazing strides in improving student achievement and teacher practices over the past several years. Much of this has been due to the vision of educational stakeholders across the board—policymakers, community partners, and educational practitioners. However, continued progress hinges upon the enduring implementation of this vision. So let’s innovate; let’s do new things.

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Liz Hoyt



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