Recommendation Four:  Ensure that principals and other school personnel are effectively supporting teachers and responding to primary concerns that prohibit teachers from improving student learning. Teacher support should be accessible, proactive, and collaborative in nature.


Role Group Strategies

Create a culture of continuous inquiry and collaboration focused on identifying and sharing “best-practices.” Encourage peer coaching and observations, action research, and critical friends groups as methods of supporting colleagues.

District Profile:  A Commitment to Craft, Rochester (N.Y.) City School District Career in Teaching Program
Scarpa, S. (n.d.)  District Administration Magazine.
The Rochester City School District established a Career in Teaching Program over 16 years ago with the support of the Rochester Teachers’ Association.  This comprehensive overview of the program explains the mentoring and peer review components of the program, as well as the levels that have been created within the teaching profession in Rochester.  This resource is valuable for district-level administrators or policymakers interested in designing a system of support for new and struggling teachers, a method of stratifying the teaching profession, or a system of peer-review and evaluation.

Their Key to Survival:  Each Other
Gingold, H.  (2004, June). Classroom Leadership, 7(9).
This article from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development describes the work of four teachers in Liverpool, N.Y. who created a “collaborative teacher network” designed to support one another throughout the school year.  The four teachers worked as a team, planning lessons and instruction, evaluating the results of their teaching, and refining their professional practice.  They set aside time each week to meet with one another, and kept in regular contact via email and phone calls.  As a result, their teaching improved and they each developed skills required of reflective practitioners.

Redesigning Professional Development:  Critical Friends
Bambino, D.  (2002, March). Educational Leadership, 59(6), 25-27.
Because of their shared experiences, teachers can often provide the most effective instructional support to their colleagues.  One model for this type of collaboration is the Critical Friends Group.  This article introduces the concept and benefits of Critical Friends groups and tells the stories of three schools that have implemented Critical Friends groups with great success.

Improving Relationships within the School House
Barth, Roland S. (March 2006). Educational Leadership
Roland S. Barth, a former teacher and principal and the founder of the Principals Center at Harvard University discusses different relationships among teachers and administrators in schools that affect the overall school climate and student learning. He identifies four primary types of relations: teacher isolation, adversarial relationships, congenial relationships, and collegial relationships. He focuses on collegial relationships, which are characterized by sharing best practices or “craft knowledge,” observing colleagues’ teaching, and rooting for each others’ success, and he explains what school leaders can do to create collegiality within their school.

Action Research Tools and Resources
The Teacher Leaders Network
The members of the Teacher Leaders Network, a major initiative of the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality, recently examined the process and potential of action research as a school improvement tool.  This web page features an extensive list of action research resources.  Included are articles related to action research, sample action research projects, and reviews of books that are designed to introduce educators to the process of action research.

Coaching:  A Strategy for Developing Instructional Capacity
Neufeld, B. and Roper, D.  (2003, June). Annenberg Institute for School Reform
This report provides a guide through the process of instructional coaching. The authors explain what coaches do, how they are prepared, important factors and challenges in implementation, and the benefits and expected outcomes of coaching programs.

School Based Coaching – A Lit Review
Green, Terry. (2004). National Staff Development Council
This document presents a review of literature supporting school-based staff developers or coaches. The author provides detailed definitions of key terms and then discusses research pertaining to a variety of coaching models. The publication also includes a list of practical tools for use by schools and districts.

Teachers Observing Teachers:  A Professional Development Tool for Every School
Israel, M.  (2003, February 4). Education World
This article explains the benefits of having teachers observe other teachers, not to evaluate performance, but to provide professional development and encourage growth. 

Support the creation of mentoring and induction programs for beginning teachers that are comprehensive, job-embedded and based on identified needs.

Mentoring Timeline Checklists
Parker, E.  (2001). The North Carolina Teachers Network
These checklists, created by the Mentor in Residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, identify the most important  topics of discussion and activities for a mentor to cover with a new teacher.  The lists break down the mentoring process into four distinct quarter and outline specific tasks that North Carolina mentors should complete each quarter to effectively support their protégés.

Needs Assessment Survey
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
The first step in providing support to novice or developing teachers is to identify their perceived areas of need.  The best way to identify areas of need is to survey teachers.  This survey questions respondents on the areas of teaching that they feel prepared to handle successfully, the areas of teaching that they feel least prepared to handle, and their experiences with technology.  While originally designed for use with new teachers, this survey could be easily adapted for use with an entire staff.

Supporting your Initially Licensed Teachers
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
This list, compiled by the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction on the basis of conversations with school administrators and beginning teachers, outlines ways in which principals can provide support to their new teachers.  It contains a “Top Ten Suggestions” section and a section on “Materials it Would be Helpful to Provide" in the support of new teachers.

A Better Beginning:  Helping New Teachers Survive and Thrive
NEA New Teacher Support Initiative.  (2002).
In an effort to stem the teacher turnover tide, the National Education Association has created this comprehensive guide to effective new teacher mentoring programs.  This site begins by outlining the rationale behind mentoring and support programs for new teachers.  It details the characteristics of effective mentoring programs and provides several real-world examples of successful programs.  The site also contains a “toolkit” that includes sample surveys, contracts and program outlines for schools and districts interested in creating or improving mentoring and support programs for new teachers.

Supporting Beginning Teachers: 
How Administrators, Teachers and Policymakers can Help New Teachers Succeed

Brewster, C. and Railsback, J.  (2001, May). Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory
This tool gives a detailed overview of the issue of new teacher support.  It outlines the benefits of new teacher support, the implementation of formal support programs, and special concerns for rural schools and offers suggestions for veteran teachers and administrators interested in supporting new teachers Also included are considerations for policymakers and descriptions of statewide mentoring programs in several Northwestern states.


Watch Over Me
Kersten, Denise. (2006). Teacher Magazine
This article discusses the importance of quality mentoring in stemming new teacher attrition. The author distinguishes between informal and under-supported mentoring programs that provide “buddy” relationships at best and intensive mentoring experiences that include collaborative planning, teaching demonstrations, and networking. She highlights the work of a full-time mentor and a mentee in Virginia and emphasizes the role that funding plays in making such a program successful.

Education Topics:  Mentoring
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Mentoring new teachers can be a formalized experience provided by a district or it can be an informal partnership between two teachers within a building.  Regardless of the nature of the relationship, the support provided to new teachers is critical to reducing the teacher turnover rates that plague many schools.  This webpage introduces the topic of mentoring and provides access to print, video, and audio resources related to the topic.  Also included are answers to popular questions about mentoring from experts and practitioners.

It Takes Much More than Mentors to Help New Teachers
Wong, H.K. (2004, May 17).
The terms mentoring and induction are often used interchangeably when describing supports for new teachers.  In reality, however, mentoring is only one component of induction programs that effectively support new teachers.  This article examines the differences between mentoring and induction, discusses the limitations of a mentoring-only support program for new teachers, and details the components of successful new-teacher induction programs.

Keeping Teachers
Lurie, K.  (2004, May 27). ScienCentral News.

This article from provides an overview of the importance of mentoring to new teachers and shares the story of Jamie Devall and Vicky Condalary, a mentor-protégé team from Louisiana.  A short video featuring the two teachers accompanies the article.

The Voice of the New Teacher
The Public Education Network.  (2003).
This report examines issues related to new teachers, based on a study of 200 new teachers from 4 communities across the United States.  Factors that affect retention, the attributes of effective and supportive leaders, and the characteristics of quality mentors and induction programs are discussed.  The report also recommends specific strategies for teachers, principals and school systems interested in establishing induction programs.

Support teachers by providing professional development that is classroom-based and promotes the knowledge and skills necessary for working with diverse student populations.

Creating a Successful Staff Development Program
Cromwell, S.  (1999, April 19).  Education World:  School Administrator Article
This article outlines the professional development efforts of two schools, Hungerford School in New York and Montview Elementary School in Colorado, both past recipients in the National Awards Program for Model Professional Development.  Also included are links to additional articles and resources related to effective professional development.

Needs Assessment Survey
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
The first step in providing support to novice or developing teachers is to identify their perceived areas of need.  The best way to identify areas of need is to survey teachers.  This survey questions respondents on the areas of teaching that they feel prepared to handle successfully, the areas of teaching that they feel least prepared to handle, and their experiences with technology.  While originally designed for use with new teachers, this survey could be easily adapted for use with an entire staff.

Planning and conducting professional development that makes a difference:  A guide for school leaders. 
Southern Regional Education Board.  (2002)
This guide outlines a step-by-step approach to conceiving, creating, developing, implementing and evaluating school-level professional development opportunities.

Self-Assessment of Your School’s Professional Development:  Rubric for a Powerful Conversation
Alabama Best Practices Center
This rubric, adapted from the National Staff Development Council’s standards for professional development, can help administrators to assess their efforts in this critical area.  The assessment helps administrators determine whether professional development is data driven, research based, focused on quality teaching and carried out in learning communities.  It also helps administrators create an action plan for their schools.

Test Your Professional Development IQ
The National Staff Development Council. (2003, August/September)
This quiz, created by the National Staff Development Council, allows school leaders and community members to evaluate their understanding of quality professional development and to reflect on the nature of effective learning experiences for teachers.  Along with the correct answers to each quiz question, the website includes references for further reading and suggestions for various situations in which the quiz can spur productive discussion.

Facilitator: 10, Refreshments:  8, Evaluation:  0:  Workshop Satisfaction Misses the Point 
Mizell, H.  (2003, Fall). Journal of Staff Development, 24(4).
Evaluating the impact that staff development has had on the teaching practices within a building is critical to determining a course of action for educators.  Traditionally, however, the evaluation of staff development opportunities is limited in scope, focusing on topics unrelated to student achievement or teaching.  This article details these failed attempts at evaluating professional development, examines the reasons that school-based staff developers continue to use ineffective approaches to evaluation, and outlines a more effective method of evaluating the impact of professional development. 

Maximize the contributions of education support professionals and community members.

Critical Issue:  Establishing Collaboratives and Partnerships
Peterson, K.  (1995). North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.
This Critical Issue Report outlines ways in which school administrators can make connections to community groups, enlisting their partnership in addressing many of the non-academic issues that interfere with student achievement.  It recommends "action options," describes implementation pitfalls, profiles a number of schools successfully engaging the community, and provides an extensive list of resources and contacts.

Building Support for Better Schools:  Seven Steps to Engaging Hard-to Reach Communities
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL).  (2000).
This tool provides a  “step-by-step guide" for involving parents and community members in efforts to improve education.  It offers advice on how to know your community, identify issues, designate facilitators, train facilitators, recruit participants, and follow up with participants.

Family and Community Involvement:  Reaching out to Diverse Populations
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.  (2000).
This tool outlines five strategies for administrators and teachers to involve diverse communities in schools.  It encourages principals and teachers to learn more about their surrounding community, engage with community members and parents outside of school, and regularly evaluate their efforts to reach out to the public.

Developing Effective Partnerships to Support Local Education
School Communities that Work: A National Taskforce on the
Future of Urban Districts (2002).
This paper describes design and operating principles used in effective education and community partnerships. The authors emphasize that partnerships should focus on equity in addition to results and aim to affect youth engagement and development.

Working Together for Successful Paraeducator Services
Railsback, J., Reed, B., and Schmidt, K.  (2002, May). By Request.
This tool describes ways that schools can maximize the contributions of their paraeducators.  It also details the new certification requirements expected of paraeducators under NCLB and provides several examples of schools that are successfully maximizing the contributions of all staff members within their buildings.

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