The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) is teaming up with the Citigroup Foundation to help new teachers succeed on the job.
New teachers in dozens of Greater Sacramento-area school districts participating in SCOE's BTSA-Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment-Consortium were honored along with their mentor teachers at a back-to-school reception held October 20 by SCOE and the Citigroup Foundation at the Doubletree Hotel in Sacramento.
SCOE is one of seven educational entities in California receiving support for beginning teachers from the Citigroup Foundation. In 2005, a total of $144,900 has been provided by the Citigroup Foundation-specifically, to support the New Teacher Resource Program (a comprehensive package including the New Teachers Handbook, CD-ROMs of Successful Teaching Practices in Action, and New Teacher Online Survival Courses). Since January 2004, the Citigroup Foundation has awarded more than $1.7 million in grants to support education programs in California.
At the October 20 reception, Citigroup Foundation Assistant Vice President Stephanie Hochman talked about the BTSA program and Citigroup Foundation's efforts to support new teachers. "Retaining top-notch teachers is a critical issue facing many California school systems," said Hochman. "We believe supporting the development of new teachers on the job is a smart investment that will result in higher teacher retention rates and improved student achievement. The joint effort between the Citigroup Foundation, Teachers Network, and the Sacramento County Office of Education will provide new teachers with the resources and encouragement they need to be successful in the classroom."
Martin J. Cavanaugh, Sacramento County Deputy Superintendent of Schools stated, "SCOE is pleased to partner with the Citigroup Foundation to help support new teachers in those first critical few years. The professional support of our BTSA providers, along with resource materials like those made possible by the Citigroup Foundation, dramatically raises the retention rate for new teachers. Our goal is to develop caring, competent, and qualified teachers for every student attending school in our area."
Sarah Gardner of KCRA 3 TV, serving as master of ceremonies, introduced two teachers who spoke about their experiences with the BTSA program: second-year teacher Jonathon Freer, who teaches science at SCOE's Carson Creek Jr./Sr. High School (located at the Sacramento County Probation Boys Ranch facility), and Freer's BTSA support provider, veteran teacher Terry Ahrens, who teaches computer and business technology for the Sacramento County Regional Occupational Program.
Guests at the October 20 reception previewed the new interactive CD-ROM series Successful Teaching Practices in Action and companion handbook, which the Citigroup Foundation's grant is making available to all Sacramento BTSA Consortium participants. Beginning teachers may log on to additional resources such as five New Teacher Online Survival Courses aligned with topics covered in the handbook. Among the topics covered in the new teacher online courses are: Classroom Management; Aligning Standards, Curriculum and Assessment; Strategic Planning; Families as Partners; and Teaching Methods. The online courses may be undertaken through either a teacher's home or school computer. The resources were developed by the nonprofit organization Teachers Network as tools to improve the effectiveness and confidence of new teachers.
In the 2005–06 school year, 538 new teachers are participating in Sacramento's BTSA Consortium, along with 244 experienced teachers who serve as their support providers. The program benefits students and teachers of the following school districts:
- Sacramento County: Center Unified, Del Paso Heights, Elverta Joint, Folsom Cordova Unified, Galt Joint Union Elementary, Galt Joint Union High, Grant Joint Union High, Natomas Unified, North Sacramento, Rio Linda Union, River Delta Unified, Robla and Sacramento County Office of Education
- Placer County: Eureka Union Elementary, Rocklin Unified, and Roseville City Elementary
- Yolo County: Washington Unified
- Identified schools affiliated with the Association of Christian School International (ACSI)
- Aspire charter public schools
The Sacramento BTSA Consortium is authorized by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing as a Professional Teacher Induction Program. In California, new teachers-as a requirement for earning a professional teaching credential-must complete a two-year induction program of support and formative assessment during the first two years of teaching. The goal of the Sacramento BTSA Consortium Professional Teacher Induction Program is to offer to first- and second-year teachers specialized teacher-centered services that will support the academic achievement and overall growth of their students. Each teacher new to the profession works with an experienced, well-trained colleague to hone his or her skills, knowledge and abilities related to teaching practices. BTSA participants include: those new to the profession who hold a preliminary credential, teachers from out-of-state with four or fewer years of teaching experience, and teachers hired by a public school district who have been teaching in the private sector for six or more years with competent evaluations.
Sacramento BTSA Consortium Director Darby Williams reminded participants at the October 20 reception that becoming a teacher is a process that has changeed dramatically in recent years. Teachers are now required to serve a two-year indnuction term that is closely monitored by their districts, their support providers and the Sacramento BTSA Consortium. "Our goal is to see to it that teachers are well-prepared these days to meet challenging classroom settings," she said. We know that mentoring is a critical component in welcoming new teachers into the profession and in supporting continual improvement in practice. Materials such as those offered by the New Teacher Resource Program are welcome tools in this mentoring process."
Citigroup (NYSE: C), the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Major brand names under Citigroup's trademark red umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney and Banamex. The Citigroup Foundation focuses its grants primarily in three areas: building communities and entrepreneurs, financial education, and educating the next generation.
Teachers Network is a national and international non-profit organization-by teachers, for teachers-with a 25-year track record of success, dedicated to improving student learning in public schools. It is unique in its focus on professional development as the key to improving student achievement. Using the power of an award-winning website, videos and print resources, Teachers Network leverages the creativity and expertise of a national and international community of outstanding educators. Through its leadership, Teachers Network empowers teachers to transform public schools into creative learning communities.