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

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.

Program Goals

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:

  1. Effective instructional practices
  2. Effective classroom management procedures and routines
  3. A sensitivity to and understanding of the Flowing Wells community
  4. Teaching as a reflection of lifelong learning and ongoing professional growth
  5. Unity and teamwork among administration, teachers, support staff, and community members12

Program Description

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 program
  • 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 are discussed.

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 Teacher14 video series.

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 continued emphasis.

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 growth.

Induction Training Seminar

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

Program Results

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

Numbers and Definitions

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 released.

After 1 year 11% attrition
After 2 years 21% attrition
After 3 years 29% attrition
After 4 years 33% attrition
After 5 years 39% attrition15