Beginning Teacher Program Overview

  • The main focus of Alachua County Public Schools is student learning and achievement.  In order to ensure the learning and continuous progress of all students, the School Board, its employees, and the community must maintain high expectations of teachers and other school personnel.  High expectations must be coupled with strong support for teachers and other school personnel as they strive to promote student achievement and effective classroom management that enables teaching and learning to take place.  Ongoing support helps to ensure that teachers maintain exemplary practices and those capable teachers are retained in the profession. In addition, the School Board must communicate its mission to all employees, families, and other community members who participate in the education of students.  Furthermore, a shared mission should guide the recruitment and selection of new employees, particularly the teachers, because they are directly responsible for the education of students.  After new teachers are selected, the School Board has the responsibility to orient them to the district’s mission and help them continue to develop and refine the personal and professional skills of excellent teaching. 

    Alachua County Public Schools Beginning Teacher Program is committed to helping teachers new to the profession implement practices consistent with the school district’s mission and, in doing so, to provide opportunities for beginning teachers to develop their professional skills.

    Introduction to the Structure of the Alachua County Beginning Teacher Program

    The structure of the Beginning Teacher Program is based on a review of research on effective teacher induction as well as a synthesis of years of data collected on the Alachua County Beginning Teacher Program.  Key elements of the program include:

    • The assignment of a mentor teacher, including one-on-one mentoring on a weekly basis
    • A full-day orientation/professional development to prepare for the first days of school
    • The assignment of a support team, including a mentor teacher, Professional Learning Specialist, and at least one school-Based Administrator
    • Quarterly cohort training to promote analysis and application of teaching concepts and best practices
    • Opportunities to observe exemplary teaching practices

    Mentor Teachers

    The school-based mentor teacher provides support and coaching for the beginning teacher. The mentor's primary focus is: (1) to assist in the completion of the Beginning Teacher Program, (2) to support each beginning teacher in professional development.

    Beginning Teacher Kick-Off

    New teachers are required to attend the Beginning Teacher Kick-Off, which normally will occur on the Thursday prior to the first day of preplanning.  The objective of the kick-off is to introduce teachers to Alachua County Public Schools’ mission, provide teachers with essential information and resources necessary for beginning the school year effectively, and grant teachers the opportunity to develop and receive feedback on plans for classroom organization and management.

    Support Team

    Each beginning teacher is assigned a support team consisting of a school-based mentor teacher, a professional learning specialist and at least one school administrator.  These team members are responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the beginning teacher’s professional development plan.

    BTP Cohort Nights

    Quarterly cohort nights are planned and facilitated by the District's Professional Learning Specialist (PDS).  The purpose is to provide essential information to new teachers and give them the opportunity to discuss and apply the information to their specific circumstances.  Each cohort night is two hours in length.  

    Observing Exemplary Teachers

    In order to provide beginning teachers with models of effective teaching practices, they are often provided with an opportunity to observe exemplary teachers.  Typically, mentor teachers attend the observations alongside the new teacher to help enhance their instruction.