Exemplary Induction Programs
Teacher Induction Program
for Success (TIPS) Flowing Wells School District
Located in Tucson, Arizona, Flowing Wells is a small suburban school
district that achieves big results. Though not a wealthy community
(over 50 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced-rate
lunches), Flowing Wells gives education top priority. Achievement
scores are well above the national average, and seven of the district's
eight schools have received national academic recognition awards.
The Flowing Wells Teacher Induction Program for Success
was one of the first of its kind in the United States and, since
its inception in 1985, has continued to receive national recognition
as an exemplary staff development program.
TIPS is designed to transmit the district and community culture.
The major goals of this program are to build a sense of culture
and to articulate the district's mission and philosophy. It involves
a structured training program for all teachers new to the district.
This training provides not merely an orientation to the district's
organizational pattern, but also a framework of the district's vision
for student learning and success.
TIPS emphasizes five critical attributes that are the cornerstones
of the district's vision:
- Effective instructional practices
- Effective classroom management procedures and routines
- A sensitivity to and understanding of the Flowing Wells community
- Teaching as a reflection of lifelong learning and ongoing professional
- Unity and teamwork among administration, teachers, support
staff, and community members12
In Flowing Wells it is difficult to determine where one aspect
of professional development ends and another begins. The transition
is that smooth. Professional development is ongoing and careerlong,
with training that is very specific to the stages of teacher growth.
Therefore, induction has no clearcut timelines. New teachers are
inducted during their initial years in teaching and the training
and support simply meld into ongoing careerlong professional development.
This is the way induction should be and it is one of the main reasons
that Flowing Wells is one of the most effective school
districts in the United States.
TIPS begins with four days of intensive training in early
August before the school year begins. Participation is
mandatory for first-time teachers, and extra days are added to their
contracts so that they can participate in induction. On the morning
of Day 1, new teachers are greeted by the induction team, the superintendent,
and members of the supervisory staff. The feelings of teamwork and
collegial support are immediately evident as the new "team
members" are welcomed aboard. Refreshments are served, pictures
are taken, new teachers are organized into cooperative groups, and
the instruction begins. The setting is that of a model classroom,
with the induction team representing the teachers and the new teachers
representing the students.
The focus for the next four days is on classroom management
and instructional strategies. No time is wasted as new
teachers delve into instructional practice and learn on Day
1 how to introduce a lesson, how to teach
objectives, and how to engage their students in active participation.
Procedures and routines for the induction classroom are established,
modeled, and practiced from the very beginning. Materials provided
to new teachers include the following:
- A copy of The First Days of School13
- A letter of welcome from the superintendent
- A copy of the district's mission and goals
- Information on each of the schools in Flowing Wells
- Information on "what induction looks like" throughout
the first year of teaching and beyond
- Information on the Flowing Wells ongoing career development
- Classroom management tips
- A glossary of education terms
- Sample first-day checklists
Day 2 continues with instructional practices.
New teachers, in their cooperative groups, actually write instructional
objectives and plan sample lessons.
On Day 3 new teachers learn about insurance, health
care, the culture of the Flowing Wells School District, and the
unique needs of the population. They view a video titled The
Flowing Wells Community in Action. Then, new teachers board a bus with the
superintendent for a guided tour of the Flowing Wells community.
A luncheon is sponsored by the Flowing Wells Education Association.
That afternoon new teachers report to their respective schools for
planning time with principals. Curriculum, texts, and school procedures
On Day 4 the instruction shifts to classroom management.
New teachers learn the importance of structured bellwork, routines,
procedures, and more, including a segment on the importance of professional
attire. They also learn to formulate effective discipline plans
with clearly stated rules and consequences. For this segment of
the training, new teachers view parts of The Effective
Next, the new teachers visit the classrooms of some of the district's
master teachers in elementary, junior high, and high schools. These
master teachers have their rooms ready for the first day of school
and new teachers tour the classrooms and receive instruction
from the veterans on "how it's done." Finally, on the
afternoon of Day 4, the new teachers report to
their own classrooms to begin first-day preparations.
Of course, this is not the end of induction. Three days of further
training in instructional strategies and classroom management are
scheduled throughout the school year. The final seminar in March
includes an awards ceremony, where the superintendent presents new
teachers with framed certificates.
Throughout the year the staff development coordinator serves as
a "mentor" to all new teachers, observing each new teacher
five times. The purpose of these observations is to help the new
teachers focus on strengths, weaknesses, and professional development.
Also, each school site has a volunteer site coordinator who meets
bimonthly with new teachers to offer support.
During a teacher's second year with the Flowing
Wells School District, instructional coordinators mentor the new
teachers. These coordinators are master teachers who receive stipends
and release time in order to work with the teachers they are mentoring.
Instructional strategies, professional skills, classroom management
techniques, assessment techniques, and policies and procedures receive
In the third and fourth years, teachers receive
advanced training in instructional strategies, cooperative learning,
higher-level thinking, and more. Instructional coordinators continue
to observe and support these teachers.
Again, the staff development program in Flowing Wells is careerlong.
There are five levels of career development progressing from "novice"
(first-year teachers), to "advanced beginner" (second-year
teachers), to "competent" (third- through fifth-year teachers),
to "proficient," to "expert." (A chart showing
the five-year program is in the References section, page 173.) At
each level there is structured training, along with formative and
summative observations and evaluations. In Flowing Wells there's
something for everyone at all levels of teaching and professional
Each year, Flowing Wells holds a two-day national induction
training seminar for educators interested in learning how
to implement an induction program. Topics and activities include,
among other things, the following:
- A simulation of the first day of induction
- Sessions with the superintendent, supervisors, and principals
- School visits
- Sessions with mentor teachers
- Sessions with first-year teachers
- Training with the staff development coordinator
- A training manual
The success of TIPS sends a clear message to any school district
interested in training, supporting, and retaining highly qualified
teachers: Induction is a MUST!
The following program outcomes of TIPS are typical of any school
district implementing structured induction:
- Reduced anxiety for first-year teachers
- A higher-quality teaching force
- A reduced attrition rate for new teachers
- Increased student achievement
- A common culture throughout the district
- A common mission and set of goals
- A common professional dialogue among teachers, support staff,
and the community
- A willingness to participate in careerlong staff development
For information on TIPS contact
Susie Heintz, Staff Development Coordinator
Flowing Wells School District
1556 West Prince Road
Tucson, AZ 85705
Richard Ingersoll, leading authority on teacher turnover,
reports that teacher turnover is due to two factors:
Attrition-teachers who leave the occupation
of teaching altogether
Migration-teachers who move to teaching jobs
in other schools
Teacher migration does not change the overall supply of teachers
as retirement and career changes do. Migration does not contribute
to teacher shortages.
The most recent attrition data based on surveys conducted
by the National Center for Education Statistics shows 11 percent
of teachers leave in their first year of teaching. This data
is from 1996. At press time, the 1999-2000 data had not been
|After 1 year
|After 2 years
|After 3 years
|After 4 years
|After 5 years