Ms. Joel is a first year 6th grade teacher at a high-needs school. Her preparation program covered pedagogical theory, but she's completely overwhelmed by lesson planning, classroom management, and parent engagement for a full course load of 120 students. She attended a four-day induction program, and her mentor said she can drop by with questions, but she's still overworked and undersupported—and her students can tell. Ms. Joel doesn't know if she'll return next year.
Many school systems struggle with a teacher shortage—specifically, a lack of effective educators for the highest-need schools and subjects. High turnover among new teachers is often part of the problem. While school and district leaders want to grow and retain effective educators, most feel constrained by limited budgets. But it is possible to provide new teacher support with the resources school systems have today. In strategic schools, new teachers’ roles are fundamentally different from those of their experienced peers.
Strategic school systems enable schools to create roles with "shelter" (i.e., reduced workload) and "development" (i.e., opportunities to grow skills and practice) built in. These may be "teacher residencies," or simply innovative school designs (involving changes to scheduling, staffing, class sizes, and more) that support new teachers. The Growing Great Teachers Toolkit is based on ERS' experience working with several school systems to reorganize resources for new teacher residencies or new teacher support.
This report explores how school systems can best leverage their investment in new teachers - with a particular focus on teacher residency models. We share data on relative student impacts, impact on teacher retention, and cost, and provide innovative models for supporting rookie teachers sustainably.
How can school systems create the conditions for schools to provide "shelter" and "development" for their new, rookie teachers? This overview sets the stage.
The Playbook offers five models schools can use to provide shelter and development for rookie teachers of all kinds: pre-service residency models, full-time teachers-of-record, and more. It will be useful for district leaders who want to understand what flexibility and support schools need to implement new models; school leaders can use it to spark ideas for what might work in their context.
School leaders can use this tool to reorganize resources to support new teachers - including budget planning, teacher assignments, class sizes, and other resource shifts - in a cost-neutral way. District leaders should review it to understand what flexibility and support school leaders will need.
As a final step, school leaders must plan for how to make new teacher support or residency models impactful - including selection criteria for mentor or guiding teachers, and protocols for collaborative time.
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New teacher support and residencies should be designed as part of a holistic strategy for system-wide change. This means connecting it to other elements like:
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