Exemplary Induction Programs
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.
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
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
- 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
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
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
- A comprehensive induction program including a series of intensive
- 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
- 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
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
For more information about the Professional Educator Induction
Supervisor of New Teacher Programs
Prince George's County Public Schools
William Irwin Buck Staff
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!