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© 2003 Harry K. Wong Publications, Mountain View, CA
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New Teacher Induction: Print Page

Exemplary Induction Programs

Professional Educator Induction Program Prince George's County Public Schools

If you think induction programs are only feasible for smaller rural and suburban school districts, think again. The Prince George's County public school system, bordering Washington, DC, is the largest K-12 school district in the state of Maryland and the nineteenth largest school district in the United States. It includes 183 schools with 137,000 students. Between 1,000 and 1,500 new teachers are hired annually, and all are inducted.

Both the student and teaching populations are extremely diverse and highly mobile and, historically, attrition rates have been high. Therefore, in 1998, as part of its efforts to better train, support, and retain new teachers in order to increase student achievement, Prince George's County Public Schools implemented the Professional Educator Induction Program. Prior to this, teachers new to the school district received only basic orientation.

Program Goals

The primary mission of the Professional Educator Induction Program is to facilitate teachers' professional development during their two-year induction period. As a result of this process, new teachers can better promote student achievement in a culturally diverse environment by successfully implementing the goals, objectives, policies, procedures, and research-based best practices required by the school system. The assistance this program provides helps ensure the development of a community of learners committed to remaining in the district as professional educators.

These are the goals of the program:

  • To provide new teachers with the opportunity to become familiar with the district's employees, resources, and support services
  • To provide new teachers with an introduction to the curriculum and instructional program for which they are responsible
  • To assist new teachers with lesson planning
  • To assist new teachers in acquiring classroom organization and management skills
  • To provide new teachers with an opportunity to build a network and support system

Program Description

There is evident support of the induction process from the superintendent, directors, supervisors, principals, mentors, classroom teachers, parents, students, and community leaders. All participate in welcoming the more than 1,000 new teachers as they enter the doors of Eleanor Roosevelt High School early on a Monday morning in August to begin four days of highly structured training.

On Day 1, upon entering the training site, new teachers sign in and receive a "welcome bag" including a wealth of information about Prince George's County Public Schools, a copy of The First Days of School,16 various information on first-year teaching and classroom management, several welcome gifts, a resource binder, and more. The resource binder includes these items, among others:

  • Mission and goals of the school district
  • Highlights of key programs and initiatives
  • Information on scope and sequence frameworks, curriculum materials, and support resources
  • Summaries of policies and procedures
  • Information on professional development opportunities
  • Information on certification requirements
  • Tips on classroom management and instructional delivery
  • Tips on successful communication with parents
  • Standards for Excellence in Teaching document
  • Information on teacher observations and evaluations
  • A copy of the school system's yearly calendar

After signing in and gathering materials, participants are treated to breakfast in the school's cafeteria. In the main hallway a variety of booths are set up to provide general information, along with information on special programs, the local credit union, the local teachers' union, mentoring, and other issues that concern beginning teachers. Participants have access to these booths during morning registration, break times, and lunchtime.

Following registration and breakfast, new teachers enter the main auditorium, where they are greeted with music by the high school's string quartet. The director of staff development welcomes everyone, and an elementary student officially begins the general session by singing "The Wind Beneath My Wings," dedicated to all the new teachers in Prince George's County. New teachers then hear from one of the district's principals, who speaks about providing a positive environment for the urban learner. The principal's foremost message is that every child is a vessel of untapped potential and that the most important job of the teacher is to find ways to nourish the seeds of strengths and talents that lie within each student.

During the opening general session, the staff development team members are introduced and the superintendent welcomes the new teachers to the district.

After receiving a general overview of the next four days, the new teachers are assigned to demonstration classrooms specific to their grade levels, content areas, or specialty areas. These classrooms are used as models of what the classroom should look like prior to students' arrival on the first day of school. Here the new teachers spend the next two and a half days with instructional supervisors and some of the district's most successful veteran teachers, receiving instruction on such topics as classroom management, instructional strategies, curriculum programs, lesson planning, and first-day procedures. Lunch is provided daily.

On Day 2 there is another brief general session. After a musical performance by the high school's choir, a local television instructional specialist shares his film following the progress of five new teachers through their first year of teaching. The video piece titled The First Year: A Teacher's Odyssey captures the essence of what a new teacher typically experiences-the anticipation, the frustration, the workload, the questions, the successes, the occasional downfalls, and the daily reminders that theirs is the greatest job of all. Following the general session, the instructional program continues in the demonstration classrooms. This program continues through the afternoon of Day 3.

On the evenings of Days 2 and 3, new teachers have the option of participating in computer classes or visiting the "Make-N-Take Center," where participants make bulletin boards and visuals for their classrooms. The department of staff development supplies this center with ideas and materials for duplication, creation, and classroom use. It is open to teachers throughout the year.

On the afternoon of Day 3, there is a general closing session, where new teachers evaluate the program, hear further words of encouragement, and view a slide show capturing the events of the week.

On Day 4 all new teachers meet by "clusters"- groups of high schools and their elementary and middle feeder schools. Here they receive further training from mentor teachers and instructional specialists before going on to their individual schools for a basic orientation.

In October new teachers participate in a fifth-day follow-up session, where they receive further support and training. For teachers hired after August, induction training is offered on several Saturdays throughout the school year.

The initial four-day induction session marks the beginning of a two-year commitment from the school district to provide ongoing training and support to all of its newly hired teachers.

Support Services for the New Professional

In Prince George's County there are many services to assist the new professional:

  • A comprehensive induction program including a series of intensive training workshops
  • A formal mentor teacher program at 30 schools
  • A voluntary teacher-coaching program at 18 schools
  • A "buddy system" set up at individual schools, with assistance provided by one or more of the following: a fellow practitioner, the grade-level chairperson, the department chairperson, a teacher coordinator, a team leader, or the school administrator
  • Networking classes as part of the certification process, taught by grade-level and content-area master teachers and dealing with specific concerns, instructional tasks, and other content-appropriate issues
  • The professional library
  • The instructional resource center
  • The Make-N-Take Center
  • Certification courses through area universities
  • State-Approved Workshops-Modulated Experiences (SAW-ME) courses
  • On-line professional development
  • "At the Center" professional development programs

Program Results

The Professional Educator Induction Program has met with eager support and enthusiasm from administrators, mentor teachers, classroom teachers, students, parents, the community, and, of course, induction participants. The success of the induction process is evidenced by a higher retention rate of competent and confident new teachers committed to making a difference in the lives of the students they teach.

For more information about the Professional Educator Induction Program, contact

Antoinette Kellaher
Supervisor of New Teacher Programs
Prince George's County Public Schools
William Irwin Buck Staff
Development Center
3901 Woodhaven Lane
Bowie, MD 20715

Turn teaching from a job
into a profession you love,
and you will never have to work
a day in your life.

It is through an induction program that new teachers begin with an attitude of lifelong learning, of working collegially, and of being part of a family that cares for each other's success. With this new culture firmly established it is realistic to believe that people in this profession will love it so much that they believe they are not coming to work each day!