Xavier Receives Grant to Offer Free Learning Academy to New Teachers

June 15, 2010

Xavier University has been awarded a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation to develop and implement Xavier’s New Teacher Academy, a comprehensive induction program supporting the needs of first-, second-, and third-year teachers in the Greater Cincinnati area. The Academy is a pilot program and will be offered free of charge to 30 first-, second-, and third- year teachers in the Greater Cincinnati area during the 2010-2011 academic year. Applications are currently being accepted from interested first-, second,- or third-year teachers. To request an application, teachers can contact their school district or the project directors, Teresa Young (youngt3@xavier.edu) or Delane Bender-Slack (benderslackd@xavier.edu).

The Xavier New Teacher Academy will assist elementary and secondary schools in Ohio by accelerating teacher effectiveness for beginning teachers in order to improve student learning. Within the New Teacher Academy, beginning teachers will become members of a collaborative professional learning community. Participants will 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 via on-line communication with peer teachers and the teachers’ school-appointed mentors, the Academy will provide a supportive culture to advance teaching practices. The program will be developed with the guidance and assistance of administrators from area school districts to ensure that the program fills the appropriate needs of their teachers.

The passage of Ohio HB 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 will supplement the state’s interim program, which provides a mentor for first-year teachers. Xavier’s program 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, OH, funds projects that promote more effective teaching in Ohio's primary and secondary secular schools.