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Column: New district teachers get support

By Tessa Dierks, District 518

WORTHINGTON — On Aug. 4, while teachers in District 518 were still enjoying their time off, a group of 29 new teachers gathered for the first time at Worthington High School. The new teachers of District 518 were a part of New Teacher Induction Week, Aug. 4-7, which introduced them to the buildings, teaching practice and technology in the district. District 518 is a part of the Flexible Learning Year (FLY), a consortium of 21 school districts in southwest Minnesota, and teacher induction is one feature of this consortium.

Induction programs are in place in Worthington, and throughout the FLY consortium, because we want to retain teachers. Each time a teacher leaves the profession, it negatively impacts student achievement. Our hope is that through this program teachers will create lasting relationships with colleagues and be given the support, tools and resources for them to be successful in their profession.

Worthington’s Teacher Induction Program supports teachers for up to three years. All first-year teachers participate in the induction program. The second and third year may be assigned by the building principal. Once teachers reach tenure in the district, they exit out of the program.

New Teacher Induction Week is only the beginning of the Teacher Induction Program at District 518. The program continues with monthly meetings for new teachers regarding various topics, such as professional practice and student engagement. Many of these meetings will be face to face, but our district is also working with the other FLY schools to create an online option for some of these monthly meetings.

Another aspect of the program is that each new teacher is paired with a veteran teacher who serves as their mentor for the year. Mentors are trained during the New Teacher Induction week on how to be effective coaches, collaborators, consultants and observers for new teachers. The new teachers and their mentors meet throughout the year to reflect on successes and challenges in their classroom. Mentors work to provide the new teachers with feedback on their practice and to ensure they have a successful first year with our district.

Please welcome our new teachers! They are full of energy and excitement for their first year teaching at District 518.

Tessa Dierks is a teacher induction facilitator/peer coach in District 518.