Rep. Lisa P. Tomasso (D – Dist. 29, Coventry, West Greenwich) is hoping the public will be able to gain a better understanding of how federal funding is being used to implement the latest strategy in the Race To The Top initiative: the Rhode Island Beginning Teacher Induction Program.
The mentoring program allows new teachers to receive support and guidance from an experienced educator and mentor, who will make recommendations on classroom changes and teaching methods based on data collected during the year. Representative Tomasso noted that the Race To The Top Steering Committee heard a full presentation on Tuesday about the benefits of the data-driven support program for educators who are just starting out.
“The commencement of the teacher induction program – another wonderful measure we’ve been able to implement through the $75 million Race To The Top grant – is an integral part of ensuring the success of every student and classroom teacher in Rhode Island,” she said. “This is the next crucial step in transforming our education system. I have reviewed the information RIDE has given me as a member of the Race To The Top Steering Committee and I fully believe this program is going to be a large step forward in accelerating the progress of our newer educators.”
According to the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE), current district mentoring programs only have access to limited resources, thus making it difficult to be effective. Program leaders have also experienced difficulty in finding time within schedules for meetings, collaboration, observation, etc. Overall, RIDE officials said at Tuesday’s meeting that there’s an inequity among Rhode Island’s district mentoring programs.
The new program will allow for carefully-selected coaches to guide teachers in conjunction with rigorous and ongoing professional development. Formative assessments of teachers will now be fully aligned with professional standards and there will be more accountability for both teachers and mentors. RIDE chose the induction model because it’s instructionally-focused and provides data-driven support. Education officials added that this model will produce improved and accelerated teacher performance, as well as increased student achievement and a more collaborative environment within each school district.
To date, there are 27 induction coaches present in Rhode Island schools, with each responsible for 15 to 16 beginning teachers.