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Spotswood Schools

Professional Development » Tier One Programming- Development

Tier One Programming- Development

T1 Programming- Development 

Teachers new to teaching and/or new to a school district encounter two unique problems. The first is the need to develop effective teaching skills - if he/she has been well prepared with a solid theoretical base in child development, instructional methodology and learning theory, then the task becomes one of application of this knowledge to the classroom. The second task is the need to adapt to the social system of the school. Each school has its own “climate.” This climate reflects the norms of the building, the communication and relationships between students and staff, and staff members’ relationships with each other. Neither the situationally appropriate applications of learning theory to the classroom setting, nor a sense of how a school’s social system functions, can be learned in the college setting or from a textbook.

To support this transition, it is the intent of the Spotswood Teacher Induction Program, in an environment of collegial support and ongoing staff development, to provide information, assistance, support, feedback, coaching, guidance, modeling and much more in an ongoing and systematic process that unfolds over four years.

In general, supports for new teachers are organized into five unique components directly aligned to our evaluation model - they include Summer Orientation, Induction Workshops, Mentoring, Peer Observation and Reflection, and Formative Evaluation and Reflection.
T1 - Summer Orientation 
Summer Orientation offers an intensive, focused introduction to the Spotswood School District. The goal of this program is to acclimate teachers to both the expectations that we have and the supports that we offer to all professionals within our district. To best facilitate this, throughout this program, new staff will have the opportunity to interact with various stakeholders, including district and school leadership, civic and community leaders, representative parents and school-based organization volunteers, select students, and, of course, their mentor or "buddy".

It is the expectation of the district that all new teachers/teachers new to our district attend these sessions (4 days) prior to the start of their employment/the beginning of the school year.
T1 - Induction Workshops 
The Teacher Induction Workshop Series, a four-year, articulated professional development workshop series for new teachers/teachers new to our district, explores topics critical to their success as classroom instructors. Directly aligned to our evaluation model (Stronge), the goal of this program is to acclimate teachers to our climate, the supports that we offer, and the expectations that we have for all staff within the district.

It is the expectation that all new teachers/teachers new to our district attend each of these sessions throughout the course of the year.
T1- Mentoring 
The Spotswood Teacher Mentor Program is designed to provide supervision and modeling to teachers new to the district. One can learn the formal norms of a school district and building by reading policies, handbooks and curriculum guides, however, often the best way to learn the informal norms is from someone who is a part of that social system. Because of the complexity of this task and the unique relationship that is formed, mentors become teachers, counselors, friends, role models, and, in the end, often much, much more.

All teachers new to the district are provided with this advantage. For a teacher new to the profession, this person is referred to as a mentor. For an experienced teacher who holds a standard teaching certificate and is new to the Spotswood District, this person is referred to as a buddy. The terms mentor and buddy are considered synonymous in the Spotswood Teacher Mentor Program. See the handbooks attached below

T1 - Peer Visitation and Reflection

A component of the Teacher Induction Program, teachers new to our district are scheduled to observe tenured teachers, who volunteer to be part of the initiative. The expectation is for teachers to observe experienced teachers within their building, record their observations in a journal, and reflect on their observations with their identified mentor. By institutionalizing volunteer, non-evaluative peer observation within the district, a collaborative learning process is advanced by affording time to staff to engage in the recommended stages of the process, including the ability to define, explore, experiment, reflect, and share.

Staff will be presented with a program explanation and a visitation schedule during the Teacher Induction Workshop Series.
T1 - Formative Evaluation and Reflection
Given that we believe the overarching purpose of teacher evaluation is to improve and strengthen the knowledge, skills, and classroom practices of teachers, we are committed to using evaluation as both a formative and summative tool for new teachers/teachers new to the district.

While all teachers in the district are observed formally two (tenured) or three (non-tenured) times throughout the school year, new teachers also receive a scheduled informal observation, first including both a pre and post conference, prior to their formal observation to help prepare and inform reflective practice.