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.

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. 

Serve, both formally and informally, as mentors for beginning teachers.

Teacher Coaching:  A Tool for Retention
Griffin, N.C., Wohlstetter, P., and Bharadwaja, L.C.  (2001, January). The School Administrator
This article from the American Association of School Administrators describes a decentralized model of teacher coaching being used in several Los Angeles schools.  This model, known as DELTA, provides new teachers with one-on-one coaching from an experienced teacher and a personalized support plan that emphasizes skill development rather than evaluation.

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.

The George Lucas Educational Foundation.  (1999, Fall).  Edutopia
This issue of Edutopia magazine
focuses exclusively on the topic of mentoring.  It describes highlights of research on mentoring, provides a detailed description of the high quality mentor, and gives many examples of successful programs.

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.

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.

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