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Educator Effectiveness

Supporting New Educators

Spotlight on Racial Equity

Building Anti-Racist Workplaces to Support and Retain 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: 80.3% of teachers of color stayed in MA public schools in the 2021-22 school year, compared to 86.8% of white teachers.
    • From 2019 through 2021, administrative leadership is one of the top three reasons that educators of color identify as a reason they left the profession in Massachusetts.
  • This MA data aligns with national data on the need for strong, relationship-based, supportive school cultures that affirm and celebrate the identities of diverse educators. 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.
  • The DESE Induction and Mentoring Handbook for Novice Principals supports this adaptive work and its connection to school practices and policies.
  • In spring 2021, the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign (OCSSR) conducted a case study on Massachusetts charter schools and identified four promising strategies for recruiting and retaining diverse and culturally responsive educators:

    1. Creating a Culturally Responsive, Inclusive Work Climate
    2. Developing Recruitment and Retention Systems and Goals
    3. Providing Ongoing Professional Development on Culturally Responsive Instruction
    4. Incorporating Criteria on Cultural Responsiveness in Teacher Evaluations

    Hear from a panel of charter school leaders about lessons learned and how they have successfully recruited and retained educators. For questions about the report email Jacqueline Chavez .

Current Considerations

Supporting New Educators on Emergency or Provisional Licenses

  • In the 2023-24 school year, your school/district may be employing novice educators who did not have traditional preparation experiences, including educators with emergency licenses. 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. What helped them feel supported, and what do they need now to continue their growth and development?
  • In addition to robust induction and mentoring supports, make sure these educators have the support and guidance needed to navigate the licensure process so they can successfully convert to a provisional or initial license. Additional information for emergency licensed educators. DESE has also launched pilots for alternative assessments for the Communication and Literacy Skills and several Subject Matter Knowledge 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 and be responsive to feedback from the field while continuing to maintain a high bar for all educators.

Flexible Staffing Models

  • As staffing needs continue to fluctuate and ESSER funds start to expire, 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)

Best Practices

Induction and Mentoring

Induction and mentoring programs are essential for supporting new and novice educators, and particularly for educators of color who face unique challenges navigating the profession given ongoing systemic racism and bias.

  • 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: From 2019-2021, 22% of Massachusetts teachers of color leaving the profession identified inadequate mentoring as a major factor in their departure.
    • 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.
    • Support the development of collaborative mentor-mentee relationships that value and affirm the experiences and perspective of novice educators.
  • Induction and Mentoring for Novice Principals: DESE has released a model Induction & Mentoring Handbook for novice principals , which 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.

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 can narrow critical equity gaps.

    Resource: See the Student Learning Experience Report for your student assignment data.

Leveraging Federal Funding to Support New and Transition Educators

As districts continue to manage staffing shortages, many school leaders are looking to support existing staff in accessing training (including coursework and/or practicums that lead to degrees and/or licensure) in specialized areas given the ongoing need for this expertise. This is particularly true with respect to meeting the needs of students with disabilities and English learners. Existing streams of federal education grant funding can be used to directly support educators, including:

  • Title II, Part A, Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants
    These funds may be used to support course reimbursement, professional development, or any kind of educator development to support teacher/educator recruitment and retention, especially if it expands access to teachers in high-demand areas: teachers of children with disabilities, English learners, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or other areas where the State experiences a shortage of educators. The IIA statute underscores the use of Title IIA funds for developing mid-career professionals from other occupations, paraprofessionals, former military personnel, recent graduates, etc., in the field of education. See also Title II, Part A: Quick Reference Guide — Fund Code 140
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding
    From DESE's IDEA guide to allowable costs includes:
    • College creditsspecial education coursework: IDEA funds may be used to reimburse staff or the LEA for the cost of higher education credits related to special education instruction and related services.
    • Tuition for special education staff: Tuition is allowed as a fringe benefit for special education instructional staff to advance their degree, if related to special education or related services, or, as a means to train staff to become qualified to teach special education.

Questions to Consider

  • How can our district strategically leverage induction and mentoring, innovative staffing models, and student/teacher assignments to position new teachers for success?
  • How are we collecting and using input from novice educators on the supports that they need to be successful?
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.

Gist, Bristol, Flores, Herrera, and Claeys. "Effective mentoring practices for Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers." Kappan, 2021.

Bacher-Hicks, Chi, Tichnor-Wagner, and Baloch. "Evaluating Emergency Licensure in Massachusetts," 2023.

Please contact us at educatordevelopment@mass.gov with questions, feedback, or for additional support and partnership around any of the practices and resources included in this guide.

Last Updated: November 17, 2023

 
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