Oklahoma Restores Teacher Induction Program
Thanks to heavy involvement by the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE), Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin recently signed HB 2885 into law, restoring the state’s teacher induction program.
The Oklahoma Teacher Induction Program (OTIP), which had been suspended since 2010, provides professional support, mentorship, and coaching for beginning teachers. Under the new law, school districts can voluntarily offer the induction program during the 2014-15 academic year; it becomes mandatory in the 2015-16 academic year. Furthermore, the bill permits teacher mentors to support more than one beginning teacher, and it establishes a paid teacher internship program at teacher preparation institutions.
The OTIP bill was sponsored by state Representative Ann Coody and state Senator John Ford. OACTE members played an important role in the bill’s development through their outreach and advocacy with Representative Coody. Beverly Warden, president-elect of OACTE and chair of the Division of Education at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, said Ronna Vanderslice (now vice president for academic affairs at Cameron University) has been particularly influential in building the relationship with Coody over several years through cooperative work on a variety of education issues. Beyond working directly with state legislators, OACTE has also collaborated with the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation, and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to rally around common interests.
Warden says the next step for OACTE is to secure funding for OTIP, which will be supported by a grant in its first year. OACTE will focus advocacy and outreach efforts on appropriations and other funding streams to support this program.
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