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New Teacher Center awarded $14.68 million federal Investing in Innovation (i3) Validation grant

Award will expand NTC’s successful new teacher effectiveness work in Broward County Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools and Grant Wood Area Education Agency

Santa Cruz, CA (December 19, 2012) – The U.S. Department of Education awarded New Teacher Center (NTC) a $14.68 million Investing in Innovation (i3) Validation grant yesterday to expand the organization’s work to improve student achievement by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers. The total award of $16.15 million over five years, which includes a private match of ten percent, will allow NTC to expand its teacher induction programs in Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) in Florida, Chicago Public Schools in Illinois and Grant Wood Area Education Agency (GWAEA) in Iowa. The project will serve 164,000 K-12 students and 2,475 first and second year K-12 teachers, with a primary focus on students in high-poverty schools.

The award is recognition of the importance of providing intensive support to the growing number of new teachers in the U.S. The nation’s newest educators are too often placed in the toughest classrooms that serve some of the most disadvantaged students – those with the greatest need for a strong teacher.

“New Teacher Center’s method of identifying and training talented, experienced teachers to mentor their newer colleagues addresses a persistent problem in our nation’s education system, and ensures new teachers are great teachers from the get-go,” says Ellen Moir, NTC founder and CEO. “We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Education for believing in our work and helping us to expand our reach and impact, and for the generous support of our funders over the years.”

NTC has been the premier provider of high-quality teacher induction across the nation for over 20 years. The organization’s comprehensive approach to teacher induction is a departure from “buddy” mentoring programs commonly found in many school districts. With these programs, mentor professional development is limited, there is no dedicated time made available for mentor/mentee interactions and the focus of those interactions can be limited to showing a new teacher school facilities and systems instead of on improving instruction.

In contrast, in NTC’s model, mentors are carefully selected from the best teachers in each district, and are rigorously trained using NTC’s research-based curriculum and methodology for reinforcing beginning teachers’ strengths and bolstering skills and abilities known to have most impact on student learning. The mentors’ work is aligned with state- or locally-adopted Professional Teaching Standards, Common Core State Standard implementation and driven by expectations expressed in each district’s teacher evaluation system. Mentors are fully released from classroom duties to observe and give rich feedback to their new teachers in weekly one-on-one meetings. NTC’s model is designed to be sustainable over the long term, when seed or grant funding ends, by building the capacity of district partners and transferring knowledge and skills.

“We are confident that this opportunity to partner with NTC will be a catalyst in building and sustaining comprehensive mentoring and induction programs across our rural area consortium by accelerating new teacher development and student learning outcomes for all,” says GWAEA Mentoring and Induction Regional Administrator Kim Owen.

The i3 award also supports NTC’s innovative use of technology to expand its reach. It will fund the integration of elements of NTC’s online mentoring program, e-Mentoring for Student Success(eMSS), and give participants in the program – induction leaders, mentors and new teachers – access to NTC’s new online program delivery portal, NTC Learning Zone. This portal hosts NTC’s nationally recognized Formative Assessment System tools; an active online community of practice where new teachers can access the expertise of accomplished teachers and recommended high-quality resources; and includes a video observation functionality that allows mentors and new teachers to capture lessons on video, upload them, independently annotate, then jointly review and discuss.

“As we enter an era of new challenges and greater accountability, our teachers need more support than ever before,” said BCPS Superintendent Robert W. Runcie. “Our partnership with the New Teacher Center is one of these foundational supports. This partnership, through the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant initiative, is a pivotal opportunity to focus on accelerating teacher effectiveness through comprehensive programs for new teacher induction, mentoring and coaching. The programs, developed through this partnership, are critical for fostering improvement, wherever needed, to ensure high-quality teacher performance and instruction, and ultimately improve learning outcomes for our students.”

NTC induction programs help new teachers make better and faster decisions and improve their ability to advance student learning from the outset. Research and impact data shows high-quality, mentor-based, new teacher support programs improve teacher practice, retention and student achievement. For example, U.S Department of Education research that included NTC work found that beginning teachers who received two years of comprehensive induction support produced greater student learning gains when compared with those who received less intensive mentoring. In Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida, new teacher retention rates have jumped from just 72 percent in 2009-10 to 86 percent in 2010-11, and to 94.5 percent in 2011-12 with NTC’s teacher induction program in place as an integral part of the district’s wider, comprehensive talent management system.The goal is to use this award to replicate these types of results in each of the three Local Education Agencies (LEA). Toward this end, the award includes funding for an independent third-party evaluation of NTC’s work, conducted by SRI International, in each LEA.

NTC selected these three partners because each is committed to a comprehensive talent management system that includes high quality teacher development, with a focus on the needs of those newest to the profession. Additionally, with these partners, essential evaluation information can be gathered about the impact NTC is having in diverse district contexts.

In November, NTC’s was the top-rated (98.83) application among 844 total applicants for the 2012 i3 grant fund of over $140 million. In the weeks that followed, to meet the ten percent match required by the U.S. Department of Education, NTC received financial support from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Skoll Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of NY, Finnegan Family Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


About New Teacher Center (NTC)
New Teacher Center focuses on improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders. NTC partners with states, school districts, and policymakers to design and implement programs that create sustainable, high-quality mentoring and professional development; build leadership capacity; work to enhance teaching conditions; improve retention; and transform schools into vibrant learning communities where all students succeed.

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Yael Bailey