Keeping New Teachers

Induction_cover_1
"By itself, induction programming had no significant
impact on teachers' satisfaction with their job. ," according to this CCSR report (Keeping New Teachers: A First Look at the Influences of Induction in the Chicago Public Schools). "However, strong levels
of mentoring and support for new teachers regardless of whether it was
part of a formal induction programgreatly improved teachers'
experiences and intentions to continue teaching."

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  • Does anyone know what is going on in the Fresh Start Schools? What high schools are Fresh Start?

    At Wells--a Fresh Start School, the mentor program was instituted for the Pats. The mentors are not high school teachers, but grade school teachers.

    Wells put a Freshman Academy on the 4th floor for two years running. We have no data on how the students did--reading scores, Explore, attendance, grades, etc. This year the Freshmen were still separated. There is a lot of difficult behavior--fighting, cursing, profanity, etc.

    The Freshmen Academy students and teachers had a different start time and a block schedule of classes; this is a TDHS program--the curriculum is fixed and the schedule of classes is fixed.

    For next year(07), the big improvement will be to put the Freshmen Academy on the second floor and even though the school will have TDHS (Talent Development High School) for Freshmen and Sophomores, it was decided by the Leadership Team that the whole school would adopt the model. So everyone will be on block schedule of 90 min classes, and put into houses. So far the model includes ETC areas and the Law Academy. Some of us want a College Prep or Humanities House but we have to shout to make ourselves heard. If you have an opinion for the Leadership Team, you are urged to "put it in writing," because it isn't "appropriate" to discuss issues at a department or faculty meeting.

    The English department is on the second floor--so this means moving everyone away from the book room; we lose the computer lab to work in and will not get another one and instead of meeting with the department, we will meet with our "house."

    Last year,(05) when people arrived at school, they had a program on day one; a different program on day two and some had a different program on day three.

    In October (05), courses, programs and classes were changed--for some teachers--with entire new subjects to teach. For students, it was even worse--many had 15-20 program changes.

    The same chaos ruled this September (06). Teachers programs changed day to day and again, some completely in October. Some students did not get programs full programs for weeks. In Quarter Two, students who had been given study halls or jobs as teachers' aides were told they had to take a a class instead--CPS policy--and were scheduled into the class Quarter Two. They were to receive a grade for the entire semester, because it "wasn't their fault" they weren't in class Quarter One.

    When teachers had to move In September in 05 and 06, they were given a scant day to do it. We do have a great engineering staff and they moved files, desks, etc. but teachers ended up moving computers, printers, all books and materials, etc. All the while admonished to get their syllabus and lesson plans in and bulletin boards done on time.

    This year especially there is no money for books or supplies. Literature classes make do with a class set of books and novels, even though our students are several levels behind in reading. How is a student to read Oedipus Rex without Oedipus Rex to read? How does one have rigorous academic standards when a student has no source materials? How does a student with 20 excused tardies or 20 excused absences do work at home without a book? How do any students do homework or study work without source materials to study at home? Is there a state standard for supplying a student with a book?

    I spend my own money--everyone does. But it is wasted--and work wasted--if resources can't be used the next year because the teaching schedule is completely different.

    There was money to buy every freshmen a calculator for the Explore exam. There is money to pay Fresh Start Freshmen Teachers to teach an extra class. This extra class is built into the TDHS model.

    Wells definitely will have a Fresh Start next fall--because we will be moving everything again and losing resources. The English department will lose the second floor and migrate--possibly with classes on every floor.

    To loose a computer lab for an English department is a serious blow. Although the school has numerous computer classrooms for ETC, those rooms are reserved exclusively for ETC teachers and students. Even if the room were empty, no other teacher may use it. Funded by a Federal Program, only ETC teachers/students may use equipment and supplies purchased by the fund.

    However, the English Lab in 204 was not reserved as a lab for English class use. It was staffed with any class, if the school needed it--it wasn't exclusive to the English Department. We would like it to be --for compositons, research and other papers. After all, we do teach all the students.

    In addition to this new bit of freshness, rather than meet as a department, we will be part of a subject (Law, ETC Busines; ETC Horticulture) house and these new houses are loaded with teacher leaders.

    There is to be an attendance leader for each house. Other leaders are to be determined.

    Currently, there is an overall administrator--freed from teaching; a reading coach who was supposed to be freed from teaching but has some classes and a math coach who was to be freed from teaching but has some classes. The TDHS model calls for all 3 to be freed from teaching class.

    This TDHS model is to be adopted for the whole school as a permanent model. So TTDHS curriculum applies to fresh-sophs next year, we will be scheduled as the model, report to work at 7;45; meet in houses with teacher leaders and teach from 8:30 until 3:30. A freshmen English teacher would teach Reading semester one and all of Survey of Literature, semester two.

    Does this mean that all the teachers will have peer mentors? Some of the Pats said that next year, the tenured teachers will be mentored (observed, cautioned, evaluated on daily, weekly, monthly basis)?

    This was the method for choosing the teacher leaders to start the TDHS program at Wells. Last year we had two interim principals--both appointed by the board--how and who exactly isn't clear. Ms. Pigeon--the second interim principal whose actual work as a principal was unclear---decided that people would submit their resumes--she announced in the middle of the day--that day and she would submit a list of names to the retirees who would choose the teacher leaders.

    The people chosen were: a second or third year PAT science teacher; a PAT teacher who had just recently gotten his credentials; a woman who worked previously for Wells as a teacher, left, was eliminated at her "new" school and was now a daily substitute teacher and a tenured math teacher.

    The people from John Hopkins who created the TDHS model sent a questionnaire asking people what they would like to teach next year--never mind credentials.

    At one of our more recent meetings, we found out that we will be teaching students materials during an extended division period that will be held often for the next few months. The reasoning explained for this extended division is that many people at Wells are in a T75 program and need these projects to earn this certificate.

    Silly me. I'm spending all my money at the University of Chicago, reading literature.

  • Does anyone know what is going on in the Fresh Start Schools? What high schools are Fresh Start?

    At Wells--a Fresh Start School, the mentor program was instituted for the Pats. The mentors are not high school teachers, but grade school teachers.

    Wells put a Freshman Academy on the 4th floor for two years running. We have no data on how the students did--reading scores, Explore, attendance, grades, etc. This year the Freshmen were still separated. There is a lot of difficult behavior--fighting, cursing, profanity, etc.

    The Freshmen Academy students and teachers had a different start time and a block schedule of classes; this is a TDHS program--the curriculum is fixed and the schedule of classes is fixed.

    For next year(07), the big improvement will be to put the Freshmen Academy on the second floor and even though the school will have TDHS (Talent Development High School) for Freshmen and Sophomores, it was decided by the Leadership Team that the whole school would adopt the model. So everyone will be on block schedule of 90 min classes, and put into houses. So far the model includes ETC areas and the Law Academy. Some of us want a College Prep or Humanities House but we have to shout to make ourselves heard. If you have an opinion for the Leadership Team, you are urged to "put it in writing," because it isn't "appropriate" to discuss issues at a department or faculty meeting.

    The English department is on the second floor--so this means moving everyone away from the book room; we lose the computer lab to work in and will not get another one and instead of meeting with the department, we will meet with our "house."

    Last year,(05) when people arrived at school, they had a program on day one; a different program on day two and some had a different program on day three.

    In October (05), courses, programs and classes were changed--for some teachers--with entire new subjects to teach. For students, it was even worse--many had 15-20 program changes.

    The same chaos ruled this September (06). Teachers programs changed day to day and again, some completely in October. Some students did not get programs full programs for weeks. In Quarter Two, students who had been given study halls or jobs as teachers' aides were told they had to take a a class instead--CPS policy--and were scheduled into the class Quarter Two. They were to receive a grade for the entire semester, because it "wasn't their fault" they weren't in class Quarter One.

    When teachers had to move In September in 05 and 06, they were given a scant day to do it. We do have a great engineering staff and they moved files, desks, etc. but teachers ended up moving computers, printers, all books and materials, etc. All the while admonished to get their syllabus and lesson plans in and bulletin boards done on time.

    This year especially there is no money for books or supplies. Literature classes make do with a class set of books and novels, even though our students are several levels behind in reading. How is a student to read Oedipus Rex without Oedipus Rex to read? How does one have rigorous academic standards when a student has no source materials? How does a student with 20 excused tardies or 20 excused absences do work at home without a book? How do any students do homework or study work without source materials to study at home? Is there a state standard for supplying a student with a book?

    I spend my own money--everyone does. But it is wasted--and work wasted--if resources can't be used the next year because the teaching schedule is completely different.

    There was money to buy every freshmen a calculator for the Explore exam. There is money to pay Fresh Start Freshmen Teachers to teach an extra class. This extra class is built into the TDHS model.

    Wells definitely will have a Fresh Start next fall--because we will be moving everything again and losing resources. The English department will lose the second floor and migrate--possibly with classes on every floor.

    To loose a computer lab for an English department is a serious blow. Although the school has numerous computer classrooms for ETC, those rooms are reserved exclusively for ETC teachers and students. Even if the room were empty, no other teacher may use it. Funded by a Federal Program, only ETC teachers/students may use equipment and supplies purchased by the fund.

    However, the English Lab in 204 was not reserved as a lab for English class use. It was staffed with any class, if the school needed it--it wasn't exclusive to the English Department. We would like it to be --for compositons, research and other papers. After all, we do teach all the students.

    In addition to this new bit of freshness, rather than meet as a department, we will be part of a subject (Law, ETC Busines; ETC Horticulture) house and these new houses are loaded with teacher leaders.

    There is to be an attendance leader for each house. Other leaders are to be determined.

    Currently, there is an overall administrator--freed from teaching; a reading coach who was supposed to be freed from teaching but has some classes and a math coach who was to be freed from teaching but has some classes. The TDHS model calls for all 3 to be freed from teaching class.

    This TDHS model is to be adopted for the whole school as a permanent model. So TTDHS curriculum applies to fresh-sophs next year, we will be scheduled as the model, report to work at 7;45; meet in houses with teacher leaders and teach from 8:30 until 3:30. A freshmen English teacher would teach Reading semester one and all of Survey of Literature, semester two.

    Does this mean that all the teachers will have peer mentors? Some of the Pats said that next year, the tenured teachers will be mentored (observed, cautioned, evaluated on daily, weekly, monthly basis)?

    This was the method for choosing the teacher leaders to start the TDHS program at Wells. Last year we had two interim principals--both appointed by the board--how and who exactly isn't clear. Ms. Pigeon--the second interim principal whose actual work as a principal was unclear---decided that people would submit their resumes--she announced in the middle of the day--that day and she would submit a list of names to the retirees who would choose the teacher leaders.

    The people chosen were: a second or third year PAT science teacher; a PAT teacher who had just recently gotten his credentials; a woman who worked previously for Wells as a teacher, left, was eliminated at her "new" school and was now a daily substitute teacher and a tenured math teacher.

    The people from John Hopkins who created the TDHS model sent a questionnaire asking people what they would like to teach next year--never mind credentials.

    At one of our more recent meetings, we found out that we will be teaching students materials during an extended division period that will be held often for the next few months. The reasoning explained for this extended division is that many people at Wells are in a T75 program and need these projects to earn this certificate.

    Silly me. I'm spending all my money at the University of Chicago, reading literature.

  • oops. Brocker

  • The management last year was designed by CPS. This year we have a new principal, who inherited last year's decisions. Also our LSC chair has finger in everything. So far this year, he has given two PRIMECO presentations during staff development meetings. He represents them.

    Having a principal depend on CPS and the LSC for a contract seems to me to be an impossible position--what data backs up this model as working?

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