East Carolina to Host State Induction Program

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East Carolina University (ECU) has been named the new institutional home of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP), which provides university-based professional development and on-site instructional coaching for new teachers throughout the state.

The NC NTSP aims to boost the effectiveness and reduce attrition among early-career teachers in order to raise student achievement, especially in historically disadvantaged and underserved school districts.

Originally launched with federal Race to the Top grant funds in 2012, the program now operates with funding from the state legislature, which allows districts to enroll teachers in the program at a subsidized rate. Nine universities in the UNC System provide the instructional support in partnership with 53 school districts around the state.

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ECU has been a program leader from the start, being one of the state’s largest producers of teachers as well as geographically convenient for supporting many of the highest-need districts. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education, says the new work coordinating the statewide program is a perfect fit for the institution’s mission and will benefit from ECU’s existing programs, partnerships, and research.

“While we plan to continue building on the strengths of this very impactful program, we see opportunity to expand the work at a national level, providing strategies for universities across the country to see the tangible benefits from engaging in university-based induction,” Hayes said in an interview with AACTE earlier this month.

Aligned Program Model

Teachers enrolled in the NC NTSP participate in three types of activities: (a) a 3-day institute held each fall (see last year’s program for sample content); (b) district-aligned professional development sessions; and (c) intentional, individualized instructional coaching each week. These activities are organized around edTPA’s critical dimensions of teaching–planning, instruction, and assessment–and aligned with key rubric constructs from the assessment system, which are already familiar to educators throughout North Carolina because of edTPA’s use for state licensure.

Hayes says the edTPA rubric constructs provide an ideal structure for induction support, and the state’s partnership with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) enables critical training for the instructional coaches on how to find evidence in classrooms to help them make decisions about coaching teachers to help them improve. “Our partnership with SCALE has helped elevate the support teachers receive along the educator continuum, beyond the preservice level,” Hayes said.

The NC NTSP induction model taps universities’ resources and expertise in partnership with school districts to meet the needs of individual teachers in their local context. Using program funding, experienced educators are hired as college of education employees and undergo edTPA Local Evaluation Training to become instructional coaches to novice teachers. Every participating teacher is visited by an instructional coach at least once per week for hands-on feedback right in the classroom.

Impact and Reciprocal Benefits

Nearly 1,400 teachers are enrolled for the coming school year, representing half the districts in the state. Only teachers in their first 3 years of teaching are eligible for the NC NTSP, and districts choose which teachers to include based on their own needs and finances. Hayes says many districts opt to enroll lateral-entry or alternative-licensure teachers, who generally have had the least preservice preparation, but all teachers stand to benefit from working with the program’s coaches.

The NC NTSP continues to enjoy state funding because of its record of success in achieving its goals. External program evaluations have shown the NC NTSP participants are more likely to persist in teaching than nonparticipant peers at the state, district, and school levels. In addition, participants outscore their peers on evaluation ratings, and their students demonstrate greater academic growth.

Hayes says the benefits go both ways. The instructional coaches not only improve novice teachers’ practice but also engage with university-based teacher educators across the system, and the entire enterprise adds a new dimension to preservice clinical partnerships and provides rich material for scholarly inquiry.

“The work our instructional coaches do in the classroom increasingly informs our colleges of education of what’s happening in the real world and what beginning teachers struggle with when on their own,” Hayes said. “This helps us in our own continuous improvement in teacher education.”

At ECU, the NC NTSP instructional coaches attend department meetings with faculty to share lessons from their field work. Faculty also visit schools with coaches to see the process in action. “This, in turn, has led to reform in clinical practice,” Hayes said, “where we are studying how coaching support can be used with student teachers, rather than traditional supervision models.”

For more information on the NC NTSP, visit http://ncntsp.northcarolina.edu/.

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Kristin McCabe

Editor, AACTE

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