Last winter, the Teacher Retention and Induction Network (TRAIN) applied for and received a grant to attend the Teach to Lead summit in Boston. The purpose of the summit, developed by President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, is to provide teams of teachers time to work on projects that they would like to see implemented in their districts and to network and collaborate with teachers from around the country.
Members of the PPSD TRAIN team who attended are Christine Brierly, Kimberly Yeaw, Ana Montalban, Peter Bellisle and Melissa Palumbo.
Before the conference, the entire team decided that their project goal was to add a second year to the Teacher Induction Program (TIP) and design and provide a more enriching experience for participants. They succeeded, and this year, 65 teachers will be the first group of second-year TIP participants. All of these teachers successfully completed their first year of the Teacher Induction Program last year and have volunteered to continue with the program for a second year. The additional year will still include some observation and feedback cycles, but will be more focused on creating professional learning communities through the formation of Critical Friends Groups (CFG). Critical Friends Group communities consist of 5-12 members who commit to improving their practice through collaborative learning and structured interactions and meet at least once a month for about two hours. In CFG’s, participants learn specific protocols and activities to promote best teaching practices as well as improve student achievement.