After a year of mentorship, professional development opportunities, and engaging monthly sessions, forty-two elementary school teachers in Hamilton County have something to celebrate: they have completed their first year of teaching. An outgrowth of the highly successful Benwood Initiative, the mission of PEF’s Teacher Induction Program is to provide support, feedback, assistance and guidance to beginning teachers to increase their effectiveness as educators in order to improve student achievement and performance.
“One of the lessons we have learned in the course of the Benwood Initiative is that new-to-the-field teachers need support in order to thrive their first year, particularly in our urban schools,” says Clara Sale-Davis, Director of the Benwood Initiative. “PEF is proud to partner with HCDE to offer these new teachers authentic and relevant professional development opportunities and support structures.”
The Teacher Induction Program has five goals:
· Ensure that beginning teachers have a dedicated, effective, and engaged mentor teacher and additional support professionals as needed
· Provide beginning teachers and second year teachers with guidance and support from mentor teachers and/or grade level team
· Promote the professional development and learning of beginning teachers
· Engage beginning teachers in collaborative group work to share experiences and effective teaching practices specifically designed to enhance classroom instruction
· Retain highly effective beginning teachers
“It was so comforting to know that I had a mentor in my building dedicated to answering questions and support me both personally and professionally,” says Erica Beaver, a first-year teacher at Orchard Knob Elementary. “It has been a wonderful program.”
Funded by the Benwood Foundation, the Teacher Induction Program hopes to have a long-term impact.
“We know that having an effective teacher in the classroom positively impacts student achievement, and this program is a great way to ensure new teachers get the support they need in order to have the greatest effect on students,” says Rick Smith, HCDE Superintendent.
The program has also influenced the mentors. Sara Rivkin, a first grade teacher and mentor at East Side Elementary states, “As a mentor, I feel that I have been someone who has seen the talent and ability in my mentee and I have helped bring that talent and ability out of them. It has made me a better teacher and has given me the opportunity to use my skills in education. I’m grateful to know that this will be passed on to the next generation of educators.”
For more information on the Teacher Induction Program and the Benwood Initiative, please visit www.pefchattanooga.org