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PR- 227-04
August 23, 2004


New Program to Increase Teacher Retention, Enhance Classroom Instruction, and Improve Student Achievement

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced the creation of a new teacher mentoring program providing comprehensive induction and mentoring for all first-year teachers throughout New York City’s public school system.  Through ongoing professional development and trained teacher-mentors, the new Citywide program aims to increase teacher retention, enhancing the quality of classroom instruction while improving performance and achievement among the City’s public school children.  The $36 million program, paid for mostly with City funds and also with State and Federal funding, will provide 300 mentors to more than 5,000 new teachers in New York City.  Training for mentors began last week.  United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Executive Director of the New Teacher Center at the University of California Santa Cruz Ellen Moir, joined Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein for the announcement at City College of New York in Harlem.

“This new mentoring program will help our newest teachers learn and benefit from the experiences of our veteran instructors,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “We’ve worked hard to recruit the best and Brightest teachers for our schools, and now we want to provide them with the wisdom and guidance they need to adjust to and succeed in their new careers.  I would like to thank the UFT, CSA and the New Teacher Center for their cooperation in developing a program that will help produce and retain even more outstanding teachers for New York City schools.”

“New York City schools face the same problem confronting school districts around the nation—that of keeping promising new teachers in the classroom through the challenging first years of their career,” said Chancellor Klein.  “At the same time, we have many experienced teachers eager for a way to help their younger colleagues and looking to enhance or energize their own careers.  Departing teachers most frequently cite lack of support and their initial inability to be effective in the classroom. However, national data prove that effective mentor and induction programs where experienced teachers share their wisdom can significantly improve new teacher effectiveness and lengthen teaching careers.”

“New York City has traditionally provided mentors only for uncertified teachers,” said Weingarten.  “But mentoring is a critical support that helps schools develop and retain good teachers.  In recognition of this and in response to a new state requirement, the Department of Education has agreed to provide mentors for all new teachers. The UFT worked closely with the Department to craft this plan. I'm glad to join Chancellor Klein and the senior staff of the Department, and particularly with Mayor Bloomberg, whose presence demonstrates the importance of mentors for our teachers, our schools and our kids.”

The new mentoring program was designed by the DOE in collaboration with the UFT, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) and New York City universities.  It will ensure that all of the more than 5,000 first-year teachers joining New York public schools this year receive a high quality induction into the school system.  The program incorporates the components recognized in current research on effective new teacher induction models, and each new teacher will be matched with a skilled mentor.  Every effort will be made to match new teachers with mentors in their content and certification areas. The carefully selected mentors receive rigorous professional development before they begin their new roles.  New teachers will meet approximately every week with their mentors and participate in regional and central professional development and attend monthly new teacher seminars. The program is rooted in standards-based assessment tools that provide a solid framework for improving teaching practices.

Program mentors were selected on the basis of their experience as effective classroom teachers.  They include former classroom teachers, coaches, UFT Teacher Center staff, and regional leaders who were selected for the 300 mentor positions from an applicant pool of more than 1,600.  Each will work with about 17 beginning teachers.  Mentors will be supported by one of 11 Regional Directors and one of 10 UFT Teacher Center Mentor Liaisons who will assist mentors in gathering resources, planning schedules, and problem-solving.

Professional development for mentors will be provided by The New Teacher Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, a nationally recognized program with a proven track record, boasting an impressive 16-year history of success in 31 states and Puerto Rico.  This program has delivered significant results in boosting teacher retention and corresponding gains in student achievement.  88% of teachers who have participated in the Santa Cruz model have remained in the teaching profession after six years, compared to the national rate of 56%. 

“This is a fantastic opportunity to support the development of new teachers in New York City,” said Ellen Moir, Executive Director of the New Teacher Center at the University of California Santa Cruz.  “New teachers thrive when exemplary, trained mentor teachers support their work in the classroom.  This program will help to retain new teachers and accelerate their development.”


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958


Jerry Russo   (DOE)
(212) 374-5141

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