Xavier is developing a pilot program to support the needs of new elementary and high school teachers in their first three years of employment. The creation of the Xavier New Teacher Academy is possible because of a grant announced recently by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.
The academy is a comprehensive induction program supporting beginning teachers in the Greater Cincinnati area. It’s being offered free of charge to 30 teachers in their first, second or third years of teaching during the 2010-2011 academic year. Its goal is to assist elementary and secondary schools in Ohio by accelerating teacher effectiveness for beginning teachers in order to improve student learning.
Teachers accepted to the program become members of a collaborative professional learning community. They attend six face-to-face seminars that include active, sustained learning on topics such as “Preparing for Effective Parent-Teacher Conferences” and “Managing the Classroom.” Through these meetings as well as through on-line communication with peer teachers and the teachers’ school-appointed mentors, the academy provides a supportive culture to advance teaching practices.
The passage of Ohio House Bill 1 in July 2009 set in motion the creation of a new licensure system for teachers and the development of a Resident Educator Program. Xavier’s New Teacher Academy supplements the state’s interim program, which provides a mentor for first-year teachers. Xavier’s program is being developed with the guidance and assistance of administrators from area school districts and offers an innovative approach to teacher induction that follows national best practices. Research has demonstrated that programs creating professional learning communities that regularly provide seminars on topics of interest and on-line communication with colleagues appear to be most effective in helping beginning teachers ease the transition during their first years in the profession.
The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, based in Cleveland, funds projects that promote more effective teaching in Ohio's primary and secondary secular schools.
Applications are currently being accepted. To request an application, teachers can contact their school district or the project directors, Teresa Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or Delane Bender-Slack at email@example.com.