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.
Consequently, the Alachua County Beginning Teacher Program has the following goal:
To help 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 coach, 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 coach, the new teacher, and at least one administrator
- Quarterly cohort trainings to promote analysis and application of teaching concepts and best practices
- Opportunities to observe exemplary teaching practices
The Mentor coach provides support and coaching to the beginning teacher, and on request, to second- and third-year teachers. Their primary focus is: (1) to assist in the completion of Beginning Teacher Program, (2) to lead quarterly cohort training, (3) to support each beginning teacher in professional development.
Beginning Teacher Orientation
New teachers are required to attend the Beginning Teacher Orientation, which occurs on the Thursday prior to the first day of preplanning. The objective of orientation is to introduce teachers to Alachua County Public Schools’ mission, prepare them with essential information for beginning the school year effectively, and give them opportunities to develop and receive feedback on plans for classroom organization and management.
Each beginning teacher is assigned a support team consisting of the new teacher, a mentor coach, 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.
Quarterly cohort trainings are planned and facilitated by mentor coaches. 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 training is two hours in length. They are scheduled in September, October, January, and March.
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 coaches attend the observations alongside the new teacher to help enhance their instruction.
Beginning teachers are required to complete the Child Abuse Awareness online course. Contact your mentor coach with any questions.