Induction and Mentoring for Educators of Disadvantaged Students

Mentoring and induction include both formal and informal processes that transition teachers from preparation programs into the classroom. Mentoring and induction are intended to socialize new teachers to their roles, improve their instructional effectiveness, and increase retention. Novice teachers often are assigned to students with high needs; therefore, providing high-quality induction is especially important and should:

  • Help beginning teachers feel prepared and comfortable in the classroom and the school.
  • Establish a professional community among beginning and veteran teachers and leaders through networks and communities of practice within the school.
  • Serve to increase teacher and leader effectiveness and advance student learning among novice teachers and leaders.

What Can I Do to Support Equitable Access to Great Teachers and Leaders?

Strategies to Consider

  • Assign Fewer Students to New Teachers

    Provide new teachers with a reduced student load. 
  • Establish Cross-District Principal Mentor Networks

    Establish cross-district principal mentor networks to build the capacity of principal-mentors to give actionable feedback and helpful support. 
  • Evaluate Current Inservice Support Programs

    Evaluate any current efforts to provide inservice support, through a survey of preparation program graduates who have received it. 

  • Identify Best Practices in Providing Inservice Support

    Identify the most beneficial inservice assistance that educator preparation programs can provide for their graduates and partner schools. Assistance should:

    • Draw on the strengths of program staff and faculty.
    • Avoid duplication of support that graduates can more readily obtain from the district and other sources.
    • Leverage the program’s unique relationship with its graduates and unique program resources. 
  • Identify Local Partnerships to Enhance Inservice Supports

    Enlist partner schools, as appropriate, in developing or making changes to an educator preparation program’s inservice offerings.
  • Identify Strengths and Weaknesses of Inservice Supports

    Assess the strengths and weaknesses of new teachers as the basis for developing inservice support:

    • Survey educator preparation program faculty, staff, and graduating students about their perceptions of program strengths and weaknesses.
    • Survey recent graduates in their first year or two of teaching, especially graduates who have placements in high-need schools, about the most challenging problems they face in their work.
    • If possible, survey principals and mentor teachers about program graduates’ on-the-job performance. 
  • Research Effectiveness of Inservice Supports

    Determine the success of current efforts to provide inservice support for educator preparation program graduates. 


  • Arkansas Teacher Survey

    The Arkansas Partnership for Teacher Quality—a consortium involving Arkansas educator preparation programs—the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the National Education Association conduct a periodic survey of graduates of the state’s educator preparation programs within their first five years of program completion. The survey is a rich source of data on teachers’ postgraduate teaching experience and their views of how well their preparation programs prepared them for teaching careers.
  • Connecticut Teacher Education and Mentoring Program (TEAM)

    The Connecticut Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM) Program provides differentiated support to beginning teachers based on their individual contexts and needs. It is a collaboration between the state department of education, institutes of higher education, and regional education service centers. The TEAM induction and mentoring program is designed to help teachers transition into the classroom, develop a common language about effective teaching, and provide professional growth opportunities for new teachers based on an action research project. Teachers must complete the TEAM Program to become eligible for full certification in the state.
  • Creating and Sustaining Urban Teacher Residencies: A New Way to Recruit, Prepare, and Retain Effective Teachers in High-Needs Districts

    This 2008 publication from The Aspen Institute discusses the clinical residency model of teacher preparation as both an effective preparation strategy and a direct response to the problems of teacher recruitment and retention in high-need schools. Urban teacher residency programs generally have high percentages of minority graduates who are specifically trained, through strong partnerships with urban schools, to be successful teachers in those schools after graduation. The programs continue to mentor and support new teachers for several years after they take full-time positions. Because many of the residency programs prepare their candidates for a specific district, they have easy access to program graduates for mentoring follow-up and can report confident data on teacher retention and effectiveness.
  • Lessons Learned From Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) Implementation in Montgomery County, Maryland

    The National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (now the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders [GTL Center]) identified several lessons learned from implementation of the program. Although Montgomery County uses PAR for its evaluation system, some of the lessons learned can apply to the implementation of PAR for induction and mentoring purposes. As with other PAR program implementation efforts, the Professional Growth System (PGS)  development came from collaboration between the teacher and administrator education associations and the school district. The district introduced the system through in-person meetings, as well as provided handbooks and online resources describing the evaluation activities and a database of professional development courses. The district noted that, although it made an effort to communicate through various sources, having a strategic communication plan would have improved implementation. The district also identified lessons learned related to the use of consulting teachers. One important factor to consider is training and implementation fidelity, specifically improving the process by being explicit with rating specifications and justifications. Finally, the district also identified several lessons learned related to alignment with professional development standards; specifically that the district should evaluate professional learning activities and ensure that they continue to align with individual teacher needs, school needs, and professional standards. For more information on the PAR system, visit A User’s Guide to Peer Assistance and Review on the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Project on the Next Generation of Teachers website.
  • Metropolitan Multicultural Teacher Education Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

    The Metropolitan Multicultural Teacher Education Program (MMTEP) specifically serves the needs of diverse students in Milwaukee’s public schools. It recruits a high percentage of minority candidates who are currently paraprofessionals into a postbaccalaureate alternate route that involves a short course of summer training, followed by placement as teachers of record and a year of collateral coursework and mentoring leading to certification and a guaranteed teacher contract in the Milwaukee Public Schools after program completion.
  • New Teacher Center Program Theory of Action

    The New Teacher Center (NTC) is a national nonprofit organization that works with school districts and states to develop and implement induction programs. Its theory of action is based on research of effective induction programs. These programs, according to the NTC, should include a mentoring program, but also additional supports to ensure a comprehensive introduction to the district, school, or teaching profession. NTC divides components of effective mentoring programs into one of the four following categories:
    • Mentor Development, Ongoing Assessment, and Communities of Practice
    • Principal and Site Leader Capacity Building
    •  New Teacher Development, Ongoing Assessment, and Communities of Practice
    • Program Leadership and Induction Systems Development
  • Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California

    The Rossier School of Education offers advanced degree and professional development programs both online and on-campus, including a master of education in advanced instruction, that specifically aim to strengthen the knowledge and skills of current teachers and administrators who work or wish to work in urban schools. Rossier students specialize in one of four areas: special education (differing abilities); elementary or secondary science, technology, engineering, or mathematics education; or secondary humanities.
  • Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers

    This 2010 report of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Blue Ribbon Commission stresses the central role of clinical practice in reforming teacher preparation and recommends that educator preparation programs include inservice development of their graduates as part of their responsibility to ensure their effectiveness in the classroom.
  • UTeach

    The UTeach Institute was originally founded at the University of Texas–Austin to provide a high-quality teacher preparation route for top science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students. Now a national program replicated on numerous campuses, UTeach is a specific response to the need for increasing the number of STEM teachers in the pipeline. UTeach actively recruits outstanding students (both undergraduate and postbaccalaureate) with high minority representation, and it prepares its teacher candidates to teach diverse students in high-need schools. After candidates complete the program and take full-time teaching positions, the program continues to provide two years of individualized mentoring and induction support. UTeach reports that the retention of its graduates in the profession is much higher than average for science and mathematics teachers, and it claims that almost half of its graduates teach in low-income schools.