To ensure that beginning teachers are retained in Alliance Districts and that all teachers in the highest-need districts are high quality, the State Board of Education should require these districts to include effective beginning teacher induction programs and meaningful, embedded, and ongoing professional development for all teachers as part of their Alliance District funding applications.
Current Connecticut Statute
Although C.G.S. 10-145o established the state’s teacher induction program, TEAM (Teacher Education and Mentoring), implementation has been managed at the school district level.[i] Alliance Districts, which have high levels of teacher turnover and have a great need for beginning teachers, should have the most robust of induction programs for their newest educators. While C.G.S. 10-262u allows for the expenditure of Alliance District funding for a talent strategy that will improve educator retention, the latest teacher turnover data from these districts (see below) suggest that existing strategies are ineffective and should be revised.
Education Reform Districts[ii], the ten lowest performing school districts, and the 20 other Alliance Districts, have difficulty retaining educators. As the table below illustrates, the state’s 30 lowest performing school districts had high turnover from 2012 to 2014.
To fill these vacant positions, the lowest performing districts will have to recruit new teachers. Retaining these new teachers will be a struggle since it is estimated that from 40% to 50% of new teachers leave within their first five years of teaching.[iii] Research suggests that comprehensive induction programs could improve the retention of these beginning teachers.[iv]
Additional benefits of comprehensive induction programs include an improvement of classroom educational practices and an increase in student achievement levels (over those teachers who did not have comprehensive induction programs). [v] Research shows that these successful induction programs include:
- Professional development with training over 2 to 3 years;[vi]
- Study groups so new teachers can network and learn from each other;[vii]
- Mentoring along with strong administrative support;[viii]
- Models for effective teaching during professional development and mentoring;[ix] and
- Opportunities for beginning teachers to visit exemplary classrooms.[x]
Additionally, after the first year of Rhode Island’s new and comprehensive teacher induction program, participants agreed that the program was having a positive effect on student learning.[xi] Rhode Island’s program includes formative assessments with which beginning teachers are informed and coached about how they can improve their instructional practices. [xii]
In Santa Cruz, California, which has used a comprehensive induction program for decades, new teacher retention is at 88%, which is 32% higher than the national average.[xiii] Santa Cruz’ program for new teachers is two years long and includes embedded and frequent professional development to help beginning teachers improve their classroom practice.[xiv]
[ii] The Education Reform Districts are a subset of the Alliance Districts; they are the 10 lowest performing school districts.
[iii] Is There Really A Teacher Shortage?, Richard Ingersoll in a Research Report Co-Sponsored by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education and the Center for Teaching and Policy, Sept. 2003, retrieved from here.
[iv] Impact of Induction and Mentoring Programs on Beginning Teachers: A Critical Review of the Literature, Richard Ingersoll and Michael Strong, Review of Education Research, June, 2011, retrieved from here.
[vi] Induction Programs That Keep New Teachers Teaching and Improving, Harry K. Wong, NASSP Bulletin, March 2004, retrieved from here.
[xi] Rhode Island Beginning Teacher Induction Program, retrieved from here.
[xiii] Retention, The New Teacher Center, retrieved from here.