Flipping the Readiness Paradigm: Tailoring Programs to Address the Achievement Gap and Teacher Shortages in High-Need Schools

Readiness ParadigmThis Special Issues Brief from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) outlines the unique characteristics of high-need schools, supports state and district leaders as they consider their role in implementing initiatives with a focus on equity, and explores how programs can be customized to meet the unique circumstances of a high-need school context. We illustrate how to take these factors into account when designing and implementing mentoring and induction programs in high-need schools, the challenges that practitioners may face when implementing such programs in these schools, and the unintended consequences—most notably, the widening of achievement gaps—that may occur if these programs are not designed to meet the specific needs and challenges of high-need school contexts. By addressing these challenges and leveraging mentoring and induction programs to tackle teacher shortages and improve equitable access in high-need schools head on, these schools can create the stabilizing supports required to keep effective teachers. Although this paper focuses on mentoring and induction, the discussion applies to the implementation of all teacher quality programs in high-need schools.