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Educator Effectiveness

Supporting New Educators

Spotlight on Racial Equity

Building Supportive, Anti-Racist Workplaces for New Educators

  • As schools and classrooms open their doors to more new and diverse educators than ever before, they have the opportunity to fundamentally shift the way novice teachers are supported, sustained, and positioned to thrive. This is especially true for new educators of color who have the potential to improve outcomes for all students in meaningful and significant ways, and yet are more likely than white educators to leave the profession after their first year (22% of new educators of color vs. 15% of new white educators in 2018).1
  • Top four reasons new educators of color leave the profession:
    • administrative leadership
    • school culture
    • lack of a supportive working environment, and
    • lack of support from supervisors.
  • This MA data aligns with national data on the need for strong, relationship-based, supportive school cultures that affirm and celebrate the identities of educators of color. This work begins on a personal or adaptive level, with leaders learning about the many ways racism can show up in schools and in their own mindsets and actions, adopting ongoing, adaptive personal and professional reflection, and taking concrete steps toward equitable action.
  • New Resource: The DESE Induction and Mentoring Handbook for Novice Principals (Summer 2021) supports this adaptive work and its connection to school practices and policies. To be notified upon the Handbook’s release, please complete this form.

Supports to New Educators of Color through the InSPIRED Initiative

  • InSPIRED Fellows are in-service educators helping to cultivate, support, and retain a culturally responsive and diverse educator workforce in MA schools. As leaders work to build supportive school cultures, Fellows can provide supports to educators of color, including:
    • Licensure Support: InSPIRED Fellows are providing resources for educators of color seeking to obtain or advance their educator license. Fill out this form to be notified when more information is available.
    • Mastermind Sessions: In Spring 2021, the InSPIRED Fellowship BIPOC Support team is launching a series of Mastermind Sessions, a space for discussion and resources that can support BIPOC educators in schools across the state. Each Session is geared towards meaningful discussions around a topic of interest as identified by BIPOC educators across the state. Educators of color can express interest in attending and suggest topics for discussion in the interest form.
  • DESE is currently piloting alternative assessments to the Communication and Literacy Skills and Subject Matter MTELs. Stemming from the Commissioner’s push to examine licensure practices and diversify the MA educator workforce, these pilots are intended to identify alternative mechanisms for assessing knowledge and skills while continuing to maintain a high bar for all educators. You can learn more information on the DESE MTEL page.

COVID-19 Considerations

Supporting New Educators on Emergency or Provisional Licenses

  • In the 2021-22 school year, your school/district may employ novice educators who did not have traditional preparation experiences, including educators with emergency licenses and those who completed student teaching in a remote or hybrid setting. As you identify and elevate the unique strengths and experiences that these educators bring to your school/district, consider additional supports they may need to be successful in their new role. This may include guidance for developing routines for an in-person classroom, opportunities to observe experienced educators teaching full-sized classrooms, and mentorship (see Best Practices below).
  • Consider holding listening sessions or gathering targeted feedback from new and novice teachers working in your school or district in the 2020-21 school year. What helped them feel supported, and what do they need now to continue their growth and development?

Flexible Staffing Models

  • Now is the time to reimagine and embrace flexibly-designed staffing structures that leverage experienced teachers’ skills and competencies, provide targeted supports and resources to new and novice teachers, and do so in explicit service of meeting student learning needs. Consider working with your local union partner to explore:
    • Mentor Teachers who oversee and facilitate collaboration and instruction for other educators
    • Co-teaching models, which hold promise and opportunity particularly in meeting the needs of students with disabilities and English learners
    • Differentiated roles working in teams: Break apart all the jobs individual teachers are each currently all doing and assign a specialty focus to each for a cohort of students (e.g., Planning Expert, Family Coordinator, Feedback & Check-ins, Differentiated Support)
  • Additionally, consider these additional flexibilities to promote flexible staffing in 2021-22:
    • Licensed educators can teach up to 50% out of field
    • Individuals with a bachelor’s degree can serve as long-term sub for full school year
    • Co-teachers are considered "in-field" as long as the other co-teacher is appropriately licensed
    • DESE will consider waiver applications with internal and external postings
    • Cap on retiree income for the year has been lifted

Best Practices

Induction and Mentoring

Induction and mentoring programs are especially important for supporting new and novice educators, and particularly for educators of color.

  • Differentiated coaching and mentoring: Differentiated coaching and mentoring models can support novice educators based on their preparation experience.
    • Educators on emergency and provisional licenses may benefit from additional hours of coaching and opportunities to observe more veteran teachers.
    • Adopt a blended approach. Virtual observations, coaching, and mentoring can yield more options for differentiation and are associated with increased feelings of efficacy, as educators often appreciate the flexibility and support they provide.
  • Mentoring to Support New Educators of Color: In the 2018-2019 school year, nearly a quarter of Massachusetts teachers of color leaving the profession identified inadequate mentoring as a major factor in their departure.
    • Given the unique challenges of being an educator of color, consider pairing new and novice educators of color with mentors who also identify as people of color. When done thoughtfully and in a way that ensures the mentor is compensated for this added responsibility, this relationship can support new and novice teachers of color to navigate the profession both within and outside of the classroom.
    • If your school faces barriers in pairing educators of color in mentoring relationships, consider cross-school mentoring relationships within your district, or thoughtfully identifying white educators who are invested in the ongoing work of dismantling racism and white supremacy in themselves and their work.
    • Affinity spaces can also help new teachers of color to process their experiences in a supportive and responsive environment. The Retention section of this guide (coming soon) provides additional resources about affinity spaces.
  • Induction and Mentoring for Novice Principals: DESE is developing a model Induction & Mentoring Handbook for novice principals, as well as a professional learning network for districts in support of its implementation. The Handbook includes evidence-based, actionable learning modules for use in implementing an Induction and Mentoring program for school leaders that underscores the role of the principal in supporting effective instructional talent within a building, and cultivating an anti-racist, culturally responsive teaching and learning environment. The handbook and professional learning network will be released in Summer 2021.
  • 2020-2021 Annual Reporting: The 20-21 Induction and Mentoring Annual Survey opens in May 2021 with a reporting due date of July 30, 2021. Compared to previous years, the survey is abbreviated to facilitate completion of this report. Your district’s Induction & Mentoring contact(s) will receive an email upon the survey’s release.

Flexible Staffing Models

Now is the time to reimagine and embrace flexibly-designed staffing structures that leverage experienced teachers’ skills and competencies, provide targeted supports and resources to new and novice teachers, and do so in explicit service of meeting student learning needs. Consider working with your local union partner to explore:

  • Mentor Teachers who oversee and facilitate collaboration and instruction for other educators
  • Co-teaching models, which hold promise and opportunity particularly in meeting the needs of students with disabilities and English learners
  • Differentiated roles working in teams: Break apart all the jobs individual teachers are each currently all doing and assign a specialty focus to each for a cohort of students (e.g., Planning Expert, Family Coordinator, Feedback & Check-ins, Differentiated Support)

Equitably Assigning Teachers & Students

  • Equitable Student Assignment: As you assign new teachers, examine the presence of inequitable student/teacher assignment practices that may compound over time for individual students or specific student groups. Consider assigning students who are economically disadvantaged, persons of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities to teachers who have already demonstrated strength in order to narrow opportunity gaps, and ensure that these teachers are receiving equitable assignments, too. Taking the opportunity to assign students more strategically within schools in 2021-22 can narrow critical equity gaps.
  • Resource: See the Student Learning Experience Report for your student assignment data.

Questions to Consider

  • How are my fellow school and district leaders and I building authentic and affirming relationships with new educators, particularly new educators of color?
  • How are we planning to orient and build culture among new and novice educators in our community this fall?
  • Am I strategically leveraging staffing models and student/teacher assignments to position new teachers for success?
Additional Resources

Acknowledgements

For their contributions to this module, we’d like to thank the following individuals:

Darryl Delzie

Darryl Delzie, 6th Grade History Teacher, Springfield

Ricardo Dobles

Ricardo Dobles, Assistant Principal, Barbieri Elementary School, Framingham

Dejour Hollins

Dejour Hollins, Grade 7 ELA Teaching Fellow, Bridge Boston Charter School

Alicia Thomas

Alicia Thomas, Manager of Teacher Development, Teach Western Mass

Jariela Cruz Caliz
Holyoke

Danilo Ferro
Amherst-Pelham

Danielle Phillips
Program Coordinator
Paradigm Shift

References

Goldhaber, Dan, and Matthew Ronfeldt. "Sustaining Teacher Training in a Shifting Environment." EdResearch for Recovery, 2020.

Motamedi, Jason Greenberg, and David Stevens. "Human Resources Practices for Recruiting, Selecting, and Retaining Teachers of Color." 2018.

TeachPlus and The Education Trust. "If You Listen, We Will Stay: Why Teachers of Color Leave and How to Disrupt Teacher Turnover." 2019.


1 2017-2018 MA Exit Survey Data for new teachers.

Last Updated: May 10, 2021

 
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