Induction Program Summary
Leadership & Communication within the Induction Program
Burbank Unified School District’s New Teacher Induction Program is housed within the Instructional Services division and is supervised by Sharon Cuseo, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services. One full-time Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) oversees the induction program and also specializes in secondary educator development activities for the district. Assisting this TOSA in coordinating the Education Specialist and Elementary level induction activities are two district teachers who are given a .02 to perform these extra duties. This team of three works closely together to run the program. They communicate regularly with the assistant superintendent regarding the induction program’s direction, challenges, and accomplishments.
Induction program participants are guaranteed one hour per week of face-to-face mentoring for the entire three to four semesters they are in the program. Our first effort is to match teachers who are both at the same site and who teach the same grade or subject. When this is not possible, we aim to match mentors to mentees by the subject or grade they teach. Mentor/mentee teams negotiate travel arrangements for their weekly meetings based on individual schedules when they are not at the same site. The overarching guide for the mentor’s work with the new teacher is the yearly goals sheet which is developed in the first month of the induction program and is described in detail in a later section. Mentors have been trained to engage in just-in-time support at each meeting which moves gradually into learning-focused conversations to develop the new teacher’s understanding of how to strengthen teaching and improve student learning. The two major topics of conversation at weekly meetings are 1) support for learning how to be a new teacher, and 2) thinking through the Individual Learning Plan and tackling the work required for it. Mentors use active listening and questioning tactics to elicit information & thinking from new teachers which helps them learn more about themselves as educators and about how to help students as well as how to proceed with ILP action steps. Each week, mentors complete activity logs detailing topics discussed, questions to be answered, & next steps for developing their mentee’s capacity. These logs are turned in at the end of each month and reviewed by program coordinators.
Qualifications, Selection, and Training of Mentors
To join the induction program mentor cohort, teachers in the district must meet the following qualifications: a demonstrated commitment to continuous professional learning and collaboration; a clear California teaching credential; the ability, willingness, and flexibility to meet the needs of the new teacher; and a minimum of three years effective teaching experience as determined by professional evaluations and administrator recommendation. Any teacher who fits this description may fill out an application in January when they are released to sites. Should he or she pass the paper screening and recommendation process, potential mentors are observed teaching and then interviewed by program coordinators. If the candidate is successful in these final rounds, he or she is welcomed to our mentoring cohort. Induction program coordinators oversee this application, observation, and hiring process.
All mentors receive training in the Mentoring Matters process for learning-focused conversations. Every five years, our district invests in the full 5-day mentor training with consultants from MiraVia LLC. In between, program coordinators provide refresher training to mentors as part of their yearly development. Mentors are also asked to create their own growth plans each year where a specific mentoring and/or teaching goal is stated, an action plan for meeting the goal is articulated, and then program coordinators monitor mentors and provide opportunities for reflective conversation and feedback based on mentor goals and outcomes for the year.
Means for Stakeholder Input
Stakeholder input comes to our program via the Induction Advisory Committee (IAC). This group is made up of an assistant superintendent, induction program coordinators, a representative from a nearby institute of higher education (CSUN), a current mentor, a recent graduate of the induction program, and an elementary and a secondary principal. The IAC meets twice per year to learn about program activities and statistics, to hear about current issues or challenges to the program, and to provide advice and guidance about program activities and outcomes. Induction program coordinators facilitate these meetings and implement suggestions or action items immediately.
Assessing the Quality of Services
To assess the quality of our induction program and the services it provides to new teachers, we administer a mid-year & end of year survey to mentors and mentees. The information generated from these surveys are used to make decisions about, and adjustments to, our program. We also consult the Program Completer Survey data made available to our district from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to determine our program’s effectiveness and participant satisfaction. Finally, feedback and advice provided to program coordinators from the Induction Advisory Committee is used to strengthen the work we do for new teachers and their mentors.
In the 2018-19 school year, we added induction for Special Educators. We continue working to hire and train mentors to serve the needs of our district as well as building out professional development options specifically designed for special educators. In the last two years, we have migrated assigned induction work from Microsoft OneNote to Google Classroom successfully.
Course of Study
The Individual Learning Plan: Components, Development, & Mentor Involvement
The Individual Learning Plan (ILP) is designed around an action research inquiry cycle which begins once the new teacher self-assesses on the CSTPs & then works with his or her mentor to create appropriate yearly goals for each teaching standard. These goals are shared with the new teacher’s administrator during the Triad Meeting. Site administrators are allowed to suggest adjustments or additions to the new teacher’s goals. After this meeting, the new teacher, with the mentor’s input, selects a teaching standard he or she would like to focus on. Working closely with the mentor, the new teacher poses a research question the ILP will help him or her answer. The new teacher then engages in the following process: research the topic of interest, create an action plan to achieve a desired outcome, select a focus class, determine potential measurable outcomes, observe a colleague who specializes in the ILP focus area, attend two or more self-selected professional development workshops, be observed by the mentor doing the work delineated in the action plan, gather artifacts and evidence to illuminate the process, and complete a reflection piece summarizing both the student outcomes and the teacher takeaways from the ILP process. Throughout the entire process, from the CSTP self-assessment to the development & completion of the ILP, the mentor acts as a guide, analyst and cheerleader for the new teacher’s work. All of the work completed is documented in the new teacher’s ILP form, uploaded to Google Classroom along with the curated artifacts, and is reviewed & assessed by program coordinators for evidence of growth and learning.
Professional Learning Opportunities
The induction program requires cohort participants to attend all of our Professional Learning Community (PLC) Meetings, of which there are 4 per semester. At these meetings, a range of topics from classroom safety, supports for English Learners, Instructional Strategies, Professional ethics and conduct, Classroom management, and many more, are covered. These eight meetings, led by program coordinators and supplemented frequently with guest speakers (examples: district nurse or Assistant Principal of Instruction) are designed to provide new teachers with essential information they will need in order to survive and thrive in their classrooms. In addition, Burbank Unified School District offers its new and veteran teachers a plethora of free professional development all year. From hour-long after school workshops, to half-day trainings, to full day Kagan Cooperative Learning classes, teachers have no shortage of in-house opportunities to grow and strengthen their practice. New teachers are also encouraged to expand their network of support by attending regional, state-wide, or national conferences, attend virtual workshops or webcasts, or participate in any other professional development activities germane to his or her content and/or passions. Two self-selected PDs are required each semester in the induction program but teachers may choose which PDs fit their unique growth pathway.
Assessment of Candidates
There are multiple checkpoints along the two year induction program where teacher competencies and progress are assessed-both informally and formally. In the first month of induction, new teachers are asked to perform a self-assessment on the California Standards for the Teaching Profession. They review every standard and the elements within a standard to determine their current level of practice. They initial & date each choice and provide at least one detail to explain that placement. This CSTP self-assessment is presented to mentors for review & discussion and then submitted to program coordinators for second review. This provides mentors and program coordinators with helpful initial placement information from the candidate upon which future work and Individual Learning Plans can be based.
New teachers return to this form at the beginning of year two of their induction program and self-assess again. This time, they add new initials and dates next to their newly formed judgements about their current level of practice. Mentors review the new assessment, and then it is submitted to program coordinators for a second look. In the final semester of induction, the new teacher does an End of Program CSTP self-assessment. This is the third and final opportunity for the new teacher to say where they feel their practice “lives” within the continuum of developmental levels for teaching.
Each month, mentors submit activity logs detailing the specific conversations, topics, and actions the mentor/mentee are engaged in. Program coordinators read these logs and respond to the mentors with specific feedback or guidance based on their mentee’s progress. This loop acts as an informal progress monitoring for the new teacher.
At the end of each semester, new teachers submit their Individual Learning Plans and the artifacts they have curated to show the story of their learning journey. Mentors and program coordinators read and review every ILP and score each item according to a three point rubric (1- does not meet expectations, 2- meets expectations, or 3-exceeds expectations). New teachers are required to earn 2’s or 3’s on their work in order to advance to the next semester of induction. Induction Completion Logs are where scores are assigned and feedback is written. These logs are returned to the new teachers 1-2 weeks after ILPs are submitted. Any new teacher whose work did not meet expectations is given specific feedback by program coordinators about areas for improvement or gaps in artifacts submission. Occasionally, as needed, face to face meetings are held to help the new teacher understand the ILP process more clearly and to provide direct one-on-one support for improving an ILP submission. The new work is reassessed and if it meets expectations, the new teacher is cleared to move on. This formal assessing of ILPs happens at the end of every semester of induction (4 times total).
During the four semesters of induction, program coordinators use a tracking tool to note the induction cohorts’ efforts in attending meetings, completing assigned professional development opportunities, meeting weekly with mentors, & submitting quality work on time. This spreadsheet helps coordinators ensure participants have demonstrated commitment to the program and operate in good faith to meet their obligations. New teachers who fulfill all stated requirements, as seen in the tracking tool, are considered cohort members in good standing and can be recommended for their clear credential.
Process for Recommendation of a Clear Credential
In a traditional pathway, a teacher who has completed four semesters of successful induction coursework, who has attended the required weekly meetings, monthly PLC meetings, and professional development, who has demonstrated growth toward mastery of the six California Standards for the Teaching Profession is considered to have completed their program requirements and is then recommended for a professional clear credential by the program’s authorized submitter. The CTC returns an email receipt saying they are aware of the recommendation and which details the next steps for the teacher. Our authorized submitter forwards that email to the new teacher to complete the steps, pay their fees, and be approved. The same process occurs for early completers after three successful semesters of induction program meetings and coursework. If at any point in the progression, concerns arise about 1) the quality of the mentee’s work, 2) the commitment to the spirit and/or requirements of the work, or 3) the effectiveness of the mentor/mentee match, program coordinators intervene to counsel new teachers and/or supervise revision rounds on ILP work until the candidate is successfully back on track.
BUSD New Teacher Induction Program
John Burroughs High School
Early Completion Option
In person meetings for mentors/mentees happen monthly at JBHS. Weekly meetings with mentors are held face to face at individual school sites. All program materials and assignments for new teachers in year one and year two of induction are housed, assigned, and completed in Google Classroom.