New Teacher Center Policy News

July 2012


Why Schools Should Expand Learning Time for Teachers   
Jennifer Burn, Policy Analyst

New Teacher Center (NTC) recently became a signatory on the Time to Succeed Coalition. The coalition focuses on ensuring that children in high-poverty communities have more and better learning time in school. It is built upon the belief that additional learning time gives students a better opportunity to succeed and teachers a chance to collaborate with colleagues and to individualize instruction.


Beginning teachers, in particular, need opportunities to accelerate their effectiveness and strengthen their teaching practice. NTC believes that districts and schools should expand the time made available to new teachers and their mentors as part of a comprehensive induction program. Mentors should be fully released from their classroom duties to focus on mentoring new teachers. Dedicated time must be built in for mentors and mentees to connect throughout the week. Additionally, both mentors and new teachers need time to participate in learning communities.


Issues of time are addressed in NTC's program and policy work, including in our Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction. Three of our ten key policy criteria address issues related to time, including mentor training, mentor release time and mentor-new teacher contact time.


NTC believes that both foundational mentor training and on-going mentor professional development are important. Our comprehensive induction model provides 12 days of mentor professional development in years 1 and 2, and 9 full days in year 3, in addition to half-day mentor learning forums throughout the year.


Teacher mentors need to be fully released from all classroom-teaching duties to allow mentors to focus their time on supporting beginning educators. One of our long-standing recommendations is to provide between 1.25 and 2.5 hours per week of time for mentor-mentee interactions. Without a sufficient amount of regular contact time, the mentor and mentee may not have an opportunity for meaningful conversations about instruction and classroom observations. By creating specific time requirements, mentor-mentee interactions are prioritized and value is placed on protecting that important meeting time.


In addition, one of the eight key constructs at the heart of NTC's Teaching and Learning Conditions Survey is 'Time'. The anonymous survey, which has been administered in numerous states and districts throughout the country, asks educators a series of questions to identify their perceptions of how the availability or lack of availability of time affects teaching and learning conditions in their schools and districts. The availability of sufficient time for teachers to collaborate in a professional learning community and for teacher professional development can help support great teaching and impact student achievement. In contrast, a lack of time can constrain great teaching.


Results from these surveys have been used to inform policy and practice. For example, in North Carolina, education leaders and policy makers have used the data to make informed decisions that support the success of teachers and students. The Intersection of Policy and Practice talks about the policies implemented in North Carolina as a result of the survey, including a law that requires School Improvement Teams to include in their improvement plan a way to ensure that every teacher will have a duty free lunch and a planning period with a goal of providing every teacher 5 hours of planning per week.


As policymakers and practitioners take steps to restructure the school day and year and expand learning time for students, they should be reminded not to just focus on longer school days and increased time in the classroom for instruction. A multi-faceted approach to time is required by also providing teachers and mentors with the time they need for ongoing professional development that will accelerate their effectiveness and improve student learning.

NTC in the News

Good Beginnings, Great Teachers: A Compelling Profile of NTC's Work    

In Faith and Leadership Magazine's article, "Good beginnings, great teachers," Jennifer Jordan writes about how the NTC's induction work has been helping beginning teachers in Rhode Island. Jordan writes about a new teacher who felt overwhelmed by her new responsibility and completely unsupported. This new teacher was paired with a veteran mentor teacher who, through weekly meetings, was able to help her improve her classroom effectiveness.


Read about it on NTC's website 

Read the Full Article  

STEM Master Teacher Corps Announced

On July 17th, President Barack Obama announced the creation of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps. The program will start with 50 exceptional educators and will expand over four years to include 10,000 educators. $1 billion will be dedicated from the President's 2013 budget request to launch this new national teacher corps. Components of the new plan will include a selection of the best math and science teachers across the country, compensation to Corps members, and communities of teaching practice for Corps members to help students where they live.


As a member of the 100Kin10 partnership, NTC CEO Ellen Moir said, "The STEM Master Teacher Corps has vast potential since support for new teachers is at its heart. Like the 100Kin10 movement, this new initiative acknowledges that providing new STEM teachers with the one-on-one mentoring and professional development they need is as important as efforts to prepare and recruit them. We know from our work across the country that pairing accomplished Corps members with new STEM teachers will result in more effective novice educators who will improve student learning and remain in the profession."


Read the White House press release 

Read the Carnegie Corporation press release  

Policy News

NTC Supports New Teachers in Rhode Island

In a Providence Journal article ("New teachers say coaches have helped them succeed"), Jennifer Jordan reports on the progress that has been made by the New Teacher Center and Rhode Island Department of Education through a statewide induction program to provide mentors to support all first-year teachers. The program began in 2011 as part of the state's $75-million Race to the Top Grant and will continue into its second and final year this fall. This past year 17 induction coaches worked with all 262 of Rhode Island's beginning teachers. Next year 20 induction coaches will work with more than 300 new teachers. '"The growth of a first-year teacher is tremendous," says Monteiro, who coached 15 novices this school year. "When you watch it unfold for a full year, it's like seeing your child read for the first time."' The article is the fourth and final in a series of articles about the program.


Read about it on NTC's website 

Read the Full Article  

West Virginia Targets Mentoring in Education Efficiency Report

West Virginia earlier this year released an efficiency audit of its k12 educational system. The report, Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia's Primary and Secondary Education System, provides four recommendations to improve state policy on new teacher mentoring. The first is to reduce the prescriptive nature of current statutory language on how mentors spend their time and to provide greater flexibility for districts with less capacity to meet the requirements. The second is to clarify the training expectations for mentors. Mentor teachers are required to be provided training by the state's Center for Professional Development, however many school districts also provide training that ends up being duplicative. The third is to allow for greater flexibility on the use of the state mentoring funds. The fourth is to establish best practices and improve compliance with teacher mentoring requirements because current mentoring programs are implemented differently in all 55 counties.


Read the Governor's Press Release 

Read the Audit Report 

Read NTC's summary of WV state policy
Ed Sector Says All States Should Survey Educators About Teaching Conditions

A recent item on Education Sector's The Quick and the ED blog highlights the importance of teachers' perceptions of school leadership on their likelihood to remain teaching at their current school. As school principals are given more power over educator hiring and firing, Ed Sector suggests that states attend to and hold them accountable for creating a positive school culture. It recommends that all states follow North Carolina's example and conduct an NTC-administered, statewide Teaching and Learning Conditions survey.


Read the Blog Item 

Learn more about NTC's Teaching and Learning Conditions Initiative
Good Reads

Wallace Foundation Highlights New Principal Mentoring

A report from the Wallace Foundation features mentoring of new principals as one of five chief strategies to better "prepare them for the difficult task if guiding schools to better teaching and learning." It calls for transforming principal mentoring away from the typical "buddy system" approach, staffed "by well-meaning but inadequately trained mentors and connected only weakly to district needs." The report also features strategies focused on more selective hiring, specialized pre-service training in leading improved instruction and school change, and districts and states using influence and leverage to strengthen pre-service training of future school leaders.


Read the Report  

The Education Trust Calls For Improved Teacher Working Conditions 

In a new study released by The Education Trust, five districts are highlighted for valuing teacher working conditions. Noting common themes amongst the districts, the report suggests that there needs to be strong school leadership and autonomy over staffing. The report also suggests that while it is important to improve teaching and learning conditions, we must simultaneously implement systems that address teacher performance. The authors conclude that an improvement in teaching and learning conditions will increase teacher retention and student achievement in high-poverty and low-performing schools.


Read the Report  

Washington State Study Suggests Induction Is a Good Investment  

A cost-benefit analysis of public programs conducted by an independent think tank in Washington State has determined that teacher induction programs are a sound investment. Looking primarily at benefits that accrue as a result of increased test scores, a study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that induction had a positive cost-benefit ratio of nearly $58. The authors note, however, that the results for teacher induction "should be considered a lower-bound estimate of the economic benefits, because impacts on teacher retention and associated cost-savings are not measured in this analysis." The 2009 Washington Legislature directed the Institute to produce "a comprehensive list of programs and policies that improve . . . outcomes for children and adults in Washington and result in more cost-efficient use of public resources." These results mirror a 2007 peer-reviewed study which found teacher induction programs to produce a positive return on investment.


Read the WSIPP Study  

A Focus on Tomorrow's Teachers   

Watch a terrific set of short presentations from the "Tomorrow's Teachers" session at the recent Education Writers Association conference. Presenters include the University of Pennsylvania's Richard Ingersoll on the changing face of the teaching force and NewSchools Venture Fund president/CEO Ted Mitchell who gives a shout-out to NTC for its work focused on the "craft" and "practice" of teaching.


Watch the video  


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
Why Schools Should Expand Learning Time for Teachers
Good Beginnings, Great Teachers: A Compelling Profile of NTC's Work
STEM Master Teacher Corps Announced
NTC Supports New Teachers in Rhode Island
West Virginia Targets Mentoring in Education Efficiency Report
Ed Sector Says All States Should Survey Educators About Teaching Conditions
Good Reads
Newsletter Archive



NTC Job Openings   

NTC seeks qualified candidates for several positions. 


Current Postings:
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-Director, NTC Boston
-Senior Director, Programs and 
 Partnerships Operations

-Director, Chicago School 

-Director, NTC Hawaii
-Program Consultant
-Program Consultant, NYC
 Systems Support -Specialist/Systems Administrator

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State Policies on Teacher Induction   

Did you know that only 3 states require multi-year induction support for all beginning teachers and provide dedicated state funding to support induction? Did you know that 11 states establish a minimum amount of annual contact time between a mentor and mentee? Find out which states in our Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction.


Read NTC State Policy Summaries 
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