New Teacher Center Policy News

September 2011


Kentucky Focuses on Teaching Conditions to Drive School Improvement 

The New Teacher Center (NTC) has worked with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) since 2010 to assist the state's leaders in improving teaching conditions. In June 2010 Commissioner Terry Holliday convened the top education leaders across the state to form the TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) Kentucky Coalition of Partners. In March of this year, NTC administered the first statewide TELL Kentucky Survey, which resulted in a record-breaking response rate (for first-time state surveys) of 80%! 1,245 schools out of 1,395 reached the minimum threshold of 50% response rate in order to have their own data for school improvement planning; 128 districts had every school in their district reach the minimum threshold response rate. All school, district and state results may be viewed at  


But Kentucky has not stopped just because it set a record! It continues to race forward on all aspects related to this work. The state's leaders already have numerous policies either in place or in the planning stages. For example:


 * State Legislation: Persistently Low-Performing Schools/  

Kentucky's definitions, processes and options for school improvement are based on the language contained in House Bill 176, legislation related to persistently low-performing schools passed by the 2010 General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Steve Beshear.  Included in this statute are policies requiring the use of teaching conditions survey data in the assessments of the effectiveness of school administrators and School-Based Decision Making Councils.


In August 2011, NTC provided "Train-the-Trainer" sessions for stakeholders in the state's Persistently Low-Performing Schools. The training centered on the use of each school's own TELL Kentucky data and other data artifacts in designing improvement plans for the upcoming school year.


* Kentucky Board of Education: Policy on School    

  Accountability Model


On June 8, 2011, in its discussion of a new state new regulation on school and district accountability recognition and support, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) voted to direct the KDE to include the use of the TELL data in the current development of the new accountability model to classify schools and districts.


* Kentucky Department of Education: Using TELL Data


The KDE has informed the KBE in June that it is also working on:

  • Including the use of TELL data in the current redesign of the annual school improvement plans - this work should be completed by the winter of 2011.
  • This year's mandatory 3-hour training for  School-Based Decision Making Councils has been developed by KDE and focuses on the use of the data by each school's council, which in Kentucky, have much statutory authority over decision-making and leadership.

* The Kentucky Board of Education: Developing Policy


At its June 2011 meeting, NTC facilitated a two-hour work session with the Board to review TELL findings and discuss opportunities for policy action. Among the possible items for future action:

Sustaining TELL Kentucky in the state budget.

  • Possible use of the data in the instruments being developed for evaluation of administrators and the revised school improvement plan template.
  • Development of state standards for teaching conditions.

Additional TELL Kentucky Resources:


The TELL Kentucky Coalition of Partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding  in September 2010, led by Governor Beshear (seated) that established the central focus on improving teaching and learning conditions and the use of the TELL Kentucky Survey to provide data for school improvement planning.

State Policy News

Launch of Ohio Educator Residency Program

In 2009, Ohio House Bill 1 passed mandating a new teacher licensure system.  The law established an initial Resident Educator license, which requires beginning educators to participate in the four-year Ohio Resident Educator Program. The Program is meant to provide new teachers with mentoring and support and help them enter the profession successfully.  In order to obtain a five-year professional educator license, educators must complete the four-year program. The NTC worked with the Ohio Department of Education and other stakeholders to design program standards and key tools.


Read more about the program here.

Oregon Governor Calls for More Mentoring 

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber gave a "state of the schools" address on September 6th as part of a back-to-school event at a high school.  He outlined a broad set of proposals saying that he wants to "reset" Oregon's education system.  In his comments he reinforced Oregon's commitment to new teacher induction and called for "more mentoring of new teachers, and more time for teachers to collaborate during the school day." Last month we highlighted Oregon's biennial budget that funded the Beginning Teacher and Administrator Mentoring Program at $4.519 million.


Read The Oregonian news story here.

California Blueprint Focuses on Supporting Effective Teaching

California State Superintendent of Pubic Instruction Tom Torlakson recently released a report by his transition advisory team that, among other things, offers specific policy recommendations to strengthen new teacher support. A Blueprint for Schools recognizes the state's widely recognized Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program, but notes that "fewer than half of California teachers receive intensive mentoring or coaching from an expert teacher in their subject area during their first year on the job." It suggests strengthening and integrating the BTSA and Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) programs to ensure stronger mentoring and assistance for beginning teachers and for veteran teachers who are struggling. It also encourages the development of more effective educator evaluation systems supported by training for evaluators, mentoring for teachers, and professional development programs.


Read the report here.

 Good Reads  


Federal Study of Beginning Teacher Attrition and Mobility

On September 14th, the National Center for Education Statistics produced initial results of a longitudinal study on beginning teacher attrition and mobility. The findings indicate that among beginning public school teachers who were assigned a mentor in 2007- 08, 10 percent were not teaching in 2009-10. In contrast, 23 percent of those teachers not assigned a mentor had left the profession by 2009-10.


Read the full study here.     


New poll indicates public trust of teachers

A public opinion poll by Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup surveyed 1,000 Americans about a variety of education topics, including teaching quality and trust of teachers. A few highlights include 73 percent of respondents said it is important to give teachers greater flexibility in the classroom and 71 percent said that they trust teachers to do their jobs well.  Respondents believed that an academic degree, experience, and principal evaluations should be more important than student test scores in determining teacher compensation and informing layoffs. More than 75 percent of respondents said that top high school students need to be recruited into teaching.  Larger classes with more effective teachers were preferred over smaller classes with less effective teachers.


Read more about the poll here.


Study: Good elementary teachers equally important as small class sizes 

Michigan State University associate professor of education Spyros Konstantopoulos conducted a study that is one of the first to show teachers affecting student achievement over time in early grades. The study finds that having effective teachers in the early grades influences future student achievement. Third-grade reading and math scores are traced back to the effectiveness of the student's kindergarten teacher. 


Read the full article here.  


NTC Policy News is a monthly publication by the New Teacher Center. It is produced with funding support from the Joyce Foundation. Based in Chicago, Illinois, the Joyce Foundation invests in initiatives to improve public education and works to close the achievement gap by improving the quality of teachers in schools that serve low-income and minority children.



In This Issue
Kentucky Focuses on Teaching Conditions to Drive School Improvement
Launch of Ohio Educator Residency Program
Oregon Governor Calls for More Mentoring
California Blueprint Focuses on Supporting Effective Teaching
Good Reads
Newsletter Archive


View Past Newsletters Here  


NTC Partners with Singapore Ministry of Education

Thirty schools across Singapore have started on an initiative called Skillful Teaching and Enhanced Mentoring (STEM) launched in July 2011 by the Singapore Ministry of Education, school improvement organization Research for Better Teaching, Inc. (RBT), and New Teacher Center.   

 Read more.

Video Highlights NTC Work

Impacting Student Learning by Accelerating Teacher Effectiveness
Impacting Student Learning by Accelerating Teacher Effectiveness

A just-released NTC  Video communicates new teachers' struggles and showcases the impact that mentoring by expert teachers can have on new teacher retention, effectiveness and student learning.  


This and other videos are available on the NTC YouTube Channel.

Join us at NTC's 14th National Symposium on Teacher Induction  

The New Teacher Center's fourteenth National Symposium on Teacher Induction, Shining a Light on Great Teaching, will be held Sunday, February 5 to Tuesday, February 7, 2012 in San Jose, CA.  At the Symposium, experts in the field will share how high-quality induction, including mentoring and professional development, can accelerate the learning of beginning teachers and leaders to improve student achievement. Join us as we put great teaching center stage.


Click here for more information

External Affairs Staff 


Liam Goldrick, Director 

David Osta, Associate Director  

Dara Barlin, Associate Director 


Teaching & Learning Conditions

Andrew Sioberg, Director



Jane Baker, Director 

Tracy Kremer, Senior Manager  


External Affairs

Eric Hirsch, Chief Officer

Ann Maddock, Sr. Policy Advisor

Jennifer Burn, Project Manager and Newsletter Editor

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