• Standard 5: Program Impact

    Program Design and Oversight

    Burbank Unified School District’s New Teacher Induction Program is having a positive impact on the teaching and learning in our community in a variety of ways.  In 2016, BUSD received funds from the Federal Government’s Educator Effectiveness Grant which allowed us to hire TOSA’s (teachers on special assignment) to redesign and restart our previously shuttered new teacher induction program.  This team of highly qualified teachers not only built and now run our new induction program, they design and deliver professional learning experiences to BUSD’s 600+ teachers from Kindergarten to Adult School. After a long period of no induction and limited PD for teachers, we now have a robust array of support for new and veteran teachers. Sharon Cuseo, the assistant superintendent for instructional services, meets regularly with induction program coordinators to review yearly goals, discuss issues, and to develop pathways for continued growth and success for the induction program.  She oversees the annual observations and evaluations of program staff and her findings are routinely positive. Ms. Cuseo examines program numbers, retention data, and number of credentials cleared to determine the overall strength of the program and this information is shared with the Unit Head, Superintendent Matt Hill. New teacher induction is an important part of our district’s Local Control and Accountability Goals. Ms. Cuseo and Dr. Hill work with the board of education to ensure the program is fully funded and that the positions required to satisfactorily run the program are protected.  Ms. Cuseo works to locate and apply for grants whose funding can be used to support and sustain induction.  In addition, in 2018, Director of Special Education Services Tamara Schiern applied for and received a Local Solutions grant that would allow us to expand our induction program to Education Specialist Preliminary Credential holders.  Ms. Schiern and Ingrid Jaimes oversee and evaluate our program strength along with Sharon Cuseo to ensure we are providing a positive, and strengthening, experience to our new teachers.  


    One way we learn about and confirm our program’s effectiveness is through our mentor cohort.  Requirements to mentor in Burbank Unified are high and there are often more teachers who wish to mentor than are selected.  Mentoring in our district is a paid, prestigious role. Teachers who mentor for BUSD have met exceptionally high standards for their own professional practice, ethics, and interpersonal relationship skills.  Each week, mentors file activity logs that illuminate the problems of practice new teachers are working through and help program coordinators understand the issues we must bring to all-hands meetings during the year.  These logs also inform us about particularly strong new teacher candidates as well as new teachers who are struggling more than what is typically anticipated so that we can tailor our outreach to their specific needs.  Mentors are also asked to use feedback in two ways in order for us to ascertain our program’s impact.  First, mentors self-assess their mentoring capacities and share that assessment with us as the first step toward developing their own Individual Learning Plan for the year.  Additionally, mentors provide feedback to us about the design of our program, what is working and what isn’t through mid and end-of-year surveys.  In our most recent mid-year survey, 96 percent of the mentors rated the overall strength of the program as strong or adequate.  86% of mentors reported that they received meaningful feedback from program coordinators about their work.  An area of improvement brought to our attention in the survey is the effectiveness of the in-person PLCs.  The team will work to unpack that finding and adjust the program as needed to help ensure we are providing a stronger experience for all participants. 

    New Teachers

    New teachers in our induction program also provide us with a plethora of information about our program’s impact on their teaching and on student learning in their classrooms.  First, new teachers self-assess their capacities using the CSTPs.  Over the four semesters of induction, teachers do these check-ins three times.  Program coordinators are able to track each teacher’s perceived growth toward mastery. Little by little, teachers are reporting appropriate, if slight, movement on the continuum of professional practice that aligns with their mentors’ and principals’ observations.  Teachers also explore special topics in teaching and learning through the Individual Learning Plans they create each term.  These plans require teachers to anticipate learning outcomes and then measure actual outcomes.  In many cases, the real outcomes meet or exceed the teachers’ expectations.  Whether the outcomes are met, not met, or exceeded, the ILP as we have designed it asks teachers to deeply reflect on their findings.  Curiously, it’s when teachers fail to meet their stated outcomes that they learn the most about their teaching and how they’ve executed their action plans.  We see the greatest growth here as teachers learn what to do and what not to do going forward.  Below is a small sample of the types of inquiries our new teachers engaged in last semester. 

    • How can I incorporate content standards in learning activities that are sequenced to meet the diverse learning needs of my students?
    • How can I  approach teaching reading, what it entails, how to measure student comprehension, retention, and application of key concepts and real-life takeaways, and how to better integrate and support this in the classroom. 
    • Do the daily slides and bell ringers help with classroom management, knowledge retention, and content understanding? 
    • What are the ways that I can teach each ELD student’s unique needs and levels of understanding without having to sacrifice content?
    • Will changing routines increase academic time which will in turn improve student learning and grades?
    • Will the implementation of mastery learning in a classroom setting result in a higher individual assessment grade when compared with their own individual assessment grade from a chapter that did not integrate mastery learning?
    • By allowing students to use their classwork they have built through the unit on a quiz will this allow students to learn how to produce quality work, create good study habits, lower anxiety, and overall increase student proficiency in my 8th grade science classes?

    Each semester, as ILPs are submitted for approval, both mentors and program coordinators use a 3 point rubric to determine competency.  This rubric allows us to judge both the strength of the teaching & learning inquiry but also of the quality of the new teachers’ qualitative and quantitative exploration and reflection. This year, for the first time, BUSD held an ILP Scoring Collaborative where interested mentors could come out of the classroom for a day to help program coordinators review submissions and score them together.  This process was informative and powerful for all parties as teams of mentors discussed the merits of each new teacher’s work and provided scores and feedback for each. Mentors also verbalized how helpful it was to learn about the variety of project ideas they could suggest that their mentees take on. We will make this collaborative an annual event in order for our mentor teachers to see and assess the wide variety of work new teachers are doing in the induction program.  

    Induction Advisory Committee

    Our Induction Advisory Committee (IAC) is also a helpful pipeline for assessing our effectiveness.  In twice yearly meetings of the IAC, program coordinators are able to share successes, ask questions, seek guidance, and get feedback on decisions or issues affecting the work we do.  They guided our transition from BTSA through the inquiry model into the new Individual Learning Plan for improving teacher practice. Hearing from past cohort graduates, mentors, and principals in the IAC that we were on the right track and doing new and innovative things for teachers motivated us to keep working hard to serve our cohort participants.  IAC Committee members also sit in on our final portfolio review meeting and have the opportunity to hear from graduating candidates what they have learned and how they have grown throughout the induction process.  These takeaways help the IAC understand the nature of our impact and how to continue to support new teachers.  

    Regional Partnerships

    Another important indicator that our program is effective is in the regional partnerships we have made with districts and institutes of higher education.  Teachers from outside our district who are seeking induction have an array of options, but in the past year, several have selected Burbank Unified School District as their provider.  As a result, we have Memoranda of Understanding with several surrounding districts to provide induction to their teachers needing induction.  Additionally, we have a Memo of Understanding with neighboring district Glendale Unified to provide services to their teachers in the event their program is unable to serve teachers and vice versa.  Finally, our program coordinator sits on the Student Teaching and Internship Coordinating Committee (STICC) for California State University, Northridge.  Through this work, we are able to share best practices and problem-solve with our higher education partners as well as learn about issues and trends in the teacher preparation pipeline.  This relationship allows us to strengthen our program for the teachers currently in it as well as those the university is preparing to become employed in our district.  

    Professional Development

    When our Induction Program was reactivated, the TOSAs (teachers on special assignment) charged with running it were a select group of accomplished teachers who created & delivered an array of professional development offerings for new and veteran teachers throughout each school year.  Covering a variety of topics germane to a teacher’s needs and experience, these workshops were free, high-interest, and open to all.  We shared our PD menu with Glendale Unified School District and several of their teachers excitedly attended them and left glowing reviews.  With the understanding that we could not require all induction participants to attend the same PDs, new teachers got to select the PDs that most closely connected to their current ILP focus of inquiry or on an area of desired (or needed) professional growth.  In the last four years, this team has been able to provide more professional development within the district than at any time prior.  We have included the last two year’s worth of PD offerings in the form of calendars we send to all teachers as well as a roundup of our total offerings with a sampling of workshop exit-survey feedback from teachers.  We are confident in the depth, breadth, and relevance of the workshops we are able to offer and that they are making a positive impact in the teaching and learning happening in classrooms around our district.  Our program completer survey data also points to a relationship between the completer’s satisfaction with the program and the strength of the PD delivered during induction. 

    End of Induction Outreach

    As induction wraps up for the new teachers and their mentors, our program gathers as much information as we can on exit to determine our effectiveness in their growth and in learning outcomes for our students.  To that end, we hold exit interviews for every candidate whose credential we recommend to be cleared.  In these interviews, we learn that there are three distinct aspects to induction that every teacher finds crucial: completing the class profile and reflecting on their learners, classroom observations of other practitioners, and the mentor relationship itself.  100% of our graduates express that learning about his/her focus class in depth helped them to better understand exactly who they were teaching and what kinds of experiences/skills each child brings to class each day.  The teacher observations are powerful in demonstrating what good teaching looks like in real time and provide instant takeaways the new teachers found themselves using the very next day.  Finally, every teacher spoke to the power of the relationship they developed with their mentor.  Many said that without their mentor, they would not have made it through their first years of teaching or that they would not have had the opportunity to refine their skills properly.  Before we exit teachers from the induction program, we conduct exit interviews.  In these visits, we ask teachers to reflect on their experiences and to share information about how we can make improvements to strengthen our process.  Exit interview information is compiled into a spreadsheet that program coordinators keep and refer to as we build the program year to year.  Here is a quote from the most recent interview we completed: 

    “Mentoring was crucial. I had such good mentors the whole way through. Each one was different but each one had unique strengths and styles and personalities that really helped me. Also, there was nothing better than the teaching observations. Teachers need to watch each other teach; that's how we get better. Because I had release time to see lots of teachers on my campus and others, I saw new ways of doing things I liked and ultimately borrowed. Please never take away observations.”

    We survey principals to learn from them what impact they are seeing on their campuses as a result of the work the new teacher has done in our program.  Here are some of the comments we’ve received recently from site administrators: 

    “I feel that going through the BTSA induction process has really supported my teachers in many ways. My recent "graduates" have been very reflective about their teaching and learning processes. They are able to identify strengths and celebrate them. They are also able to pinpoint exactly what their focus needs to be with regards to lesson planning, differentiated instruction, assessment, etc. One of my recent graduates focused on supporting her English Language Learners during the BTSA induction process and that has allowed her to support her EL's thoroughly. Her use of GLAD strategies has increased and evidence is all over the walls of her classroom. I think the most beneficial outcome of completing BTSA has been their ability to reflect, grow, and adjust their practices to meet the varied needs of their learners.”

    “The induction and mentoring program is essential to the success of our new teachers. The complexities of the teaching role require ongoing support from more experienced educators. Kids learn more when adults learn.”

    One of the comments we received from a teacher during his exit interview was that he wished the support and connection could continue.  His actual words were, “this can’t be it?  You’re going to check up on me, right?”  This gave us the great idea to begin what we call Year Three Outreach.  Starting in 2017, we began emailing and visiting all of our “graduates” to check in and make sure they were doing well.  We did brief observational visits to catch up and to see if there was anything the district could do to help them.  We also created the Year 3 Outreach Survey so that teachers who have been out of the program for a year can let us know how they’re feeling about their induction experience after some time away.  Their comments give us further confirmation that our program is having a positive effect on the teaching and learning in our district.  Here are some recent comments from those teachers: 

    “I truly felt supported as I attempted new teaching strategies and procedures as a new teacher! I learned so much through the mentoring and positive attitudes of everyone in the program. I felt less afraid or overwhelmed to try different things to figure out what works for me and my classroom. I also continue to think about the outcomes I wish to see from my procedures or assessments so that I can take a better look at how those changes worked or didn't work and how to improve in the future. I really enjoyed going through this program and having the people involved by my side!”

    “The induction process gave me the space and tools to analyze my students, as well as my teaching practices to better inform my instruction. It was also very helpful to watch other teachers teach, at my school site and other sites, as I was able to form a different perspective on teaching. My mentor was extremely helpful and easy to work with, which made the entire process that much more valuable.” 

    Program Completer Survey Data

    Finally, the annual data our program receives from the state most recently suggests that more than 80% of our cohort graduates rated our program, the work completed for the clear credential, and the professional learning experiences to be good to excellent.  Due to our program’s shifting size, we don’t always have a graduating cohort large enough to trigger a report that comes back to us, but when we have the news has been very good.  


    Impact Data Links

    General Education and Special Education Induction: 

    Program Start Documentation

    General Education Board Report Link

    Special Education Board Report Link

    Individual Learning Plan and Rubric


    Mentor/Mentee Mid Year Surveys: Given every other year 

    Mentor Mid Year Survey Fall 2019

    Mentee Mid Year Survey Fall 2019

    Mentor Mid Year Survey Fall 2017

    Mentee Mid Year Survey Fall 2017

    Mentee Induction Completion Survey: 

    Began in Spring 2018

    General Education Mentee Induction Completion Survey 2018

    Special Education Mentee Induction Completion Survey 2018

    Year 3 Impact Survey: 

    Cohort members who have graduated and continue to teach in Burbank Unified School District.

    Year 3 Impact Survey 

    Exit Surveys for Program Graduates

    Exit Survey Information (Special Education)

    Exit Survey Information (Elementary General Education)

    Exit Survey Information (Secondary General Education)

    Induction Impact Survey for Administrators 

    Link to Survey Results

    Induction Cohort Retention Numbers

    Retention Data Table

    Induction Provider to Out of District Teacher Candidates

    MOU with Birmingham Community Charter

    MOU with ETMLA (Education Through Music-LA)

    MOU with The Oaks School

    Number of Recommended Clear Credentials

    19 candidates in 2017-18

    9 candidates in 2018-2019

    31 candidates on track for 2019-2020

    Program Completer Survey Data


    Professional Development Offerings

    2018-19 Workshops

    2018-19 Instructional Services workshop totals with feedback

    2019-20 Workshops