That sense of family and community is pervasive in the
Flowing Wells induction program, their Institute for Teacher
Renewal and Growth.
Now in its 15th year, Flowing Wells Institute for
Teacher Renewal and Growth has been described as the "mother
of all induction programs." Among the first such comprehensive
programs in the United States, the Institute for Teacher
Renewal and Growth has become so highly regarded that Flowing
Wells has begun hosting a two-day national induction seminar
which last year filled to capacity as it attracted over
40 educators from seven states.
Each year, Flowing Wells trains some 30 to 50 first-year
teachers, depending on the number of new vacancies that
arise in the district. The induction curriculum followed
by these teachers focuses on five attributes critical to
- Effective instructional practices;
- Effective classroom management procedures and routines;
- A sensitivity to and an understanding of the Flowing
- Teaching as an avenue for life-long learning and professional
- Unity and teamwork among the entire community.
The induction process is launched each August with four
days of intensive training just before students return from
summer break. Beginning at 8:15 on the morning of the first
day, the training team immerses the class in the development
of a cohesive, supportive instructional team. Ms. Heintz
and the district superintendent introduce the new teachers
to key personnel from around the district. Then, the induction
participants are organized into support groups.
From there, and for the next four days, the focus is on
training, and the pace is steady. By late morning of the
opening day, the emphasis has quickly and firmly shifted
to classroom instruction.
"What we are about in Flowing Wells is teaching kids,"
Ms. Heintz explains. "So, we move our new teachers
right into studying instructional practice. We show them
how to introduce a lesson, how to close a lesson. Everything
we do illustrates that what we hold primary is instructing
Typical first day sessions in the induction process find
teachers exploring their classroom responsibilities, teaching
classroom objectives, and engaging students in active participation.
Ms. Heintz and her fellow trainers assume the role of classroom
teachers, and the first-year teachers become their "students."
"I was a teacher in Flowing Wells for 14 years,"
notes Ms. Heintz, "and Im constantly modeling
all the training, all the things we want to see in our classrooms.
Those things we expect them to use in class, they will see
me demonstrate. They become my students for four days."
In fact, so prevalent is the teacher-student dynamic in
the Institute for Teacher Renewal and Growth that each new
teacher is assigned homework on the first two days of induction.
Day Two of the induction process continues with a focus
on the essential elements of instruction. New teachers are
schooled in formulating instructional objectives, planning
and setting up for a sample lesson, and motivating students.
Then, on the third day, the first-year teachers are given
a crash course in Flowing Wells cultural literacy.
"Our new teachers need to know that we are about service
to a unique community," says Ms. Heintz. "Its
important for our new teachers to know that this is a close-knit
community, that this is a lower socioeconomic community,
that parent communication is important here."
To clearly illustrate that message, the Flowing Wells district
staff loads the new teachers onto buses for a guided tour
of the community. The bus tour includes visits to local
businesses, an overview of the districts socioeconomic
climate, and an introduction to long-standing Flowing Wells
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