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Board Meetings


January 22, 2008

New Teacher Induction Program

This is the fourth year that we have had a new teacher induction program. The program matches teachers new to teaching in Ontario with experienced teachers as “mentors”. In addition to central workshops on core topics such as an orientation to the mentoring role, planning and assessment and classroom management, each pair has eight release days to use as they determine to support the new teachers’ development. Despite decline enrolment over these four years 182 new teachers have participated in the program. (2004/5 - 39, 2005/6 - 51, 2006/7 – 54, 2007/8 – 38). Mentoring has also been extensive with 179 experienced mentors volunteering. In total this represents approximately 30% of our 1200 teachers.

Prior to NTIP we had developed with our union partners a joint new employee orientation session. Listening to new teachers describe their assignments – frequently split between buildings and subject areas - convinced everyone that more support was essential for both new teachers and the organization.

The Bluewater mentoring program was developed in cooperation and in consultation with federation presidents. We used the model of  the four other district school boards then operating induction programs as well as resources developed by ETFO. We were fortunate that Helen Penfold, a retired Bluewater Administrator and former provincial federation president, who had developed the resource guide for ETFO, was available to coordinate our program.

The heart of the program is based on three core concepts: Professionalism, Trust and Confidentiality.
Experienced teachers realize that they have a professional responsibility to assist new colleagues survive the enormous range of growth challenges essential to perform with success in the teaching role. This sense of professional obligation is either based on payback for the support they received or would have liked to receive as newcomers. Bluewater demonstrates our trust in the participants in the program by allowing them to determine how best to use the eight days of release time allocated to each pair. Sharing of information between each pair of colleagues remains confidential and is not to be shared with administrators who are required to appraise the performance of new teachers.

Three years ago the Ministry of Education began legislative and financial support for the program. Participation in NTIP has replaced the teaching profession entrance examination. In order to receive a notation on their certificate new teachers are now required to participate in the program and attend the centrally offered workshop sessions. Two condensed Performance Appraisals are also now required for new teachers within the first twelve months of employment.

Last year as the first full year of Ministry funding, one time funding was offered to district school boards to develop administrative supports for the program. In Bluewater we used these new resources to develop a package including a DVD given to new teachers upon hiring. This allowed us to address the six week delay from the start of school in September until additional hirings based on actual enrolments added the bulk of our new teachers and the initial orientation held in mid October. Brenda Edwards, Human Resources Officer, was also able to develop administrative supports essential to track new teacher hiring and NTIP participation.

Stephanie Molnar and Charlotte Dicks, new teacher and mentor pair last year, who appear on our DVD, are available to share their experiences and answer questions. Helen Penfold, Program Coordinator, is also present.

Submitted to:
Bluewater District School Board
January 22, 2008
For more information please contact
Richard Gerson, Administrator Employee Relations


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