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Updated March 14, 1998
North Carolina -
The story of providing assistance for beginning teachers in North Carolina seems to begin in 1978 when the state legislature mandated the strengthening of professional certification and teacher preparation programs. The State Department of Public Instruction developed the "Quality Assurance Program" as a response addressing, among other things, the need to provide support and assistance to novice teachers during their first two years of teaching.
A later state effort was the 1985 North Carolina Initial Certification Program (ICP) which was designed to support mentoring for beginning teachers during their first two years working with an Initial certificate. Mentors supported new teacher work to demonstrate mastery of the state's "Teaching Competencies", a step necessary to attain the "Continuing Teaching Certificate". Districts were required to provide a mentor or support team which discusses expectations with the beginning teacher, observes and coaches, helps in the design of a professional development plan, provides resources and modeling, and helps to solve problems. Three state supported training programs are made available to support the work of local mentors.
In 1986 the state published the "North Carolina Mentor/Support Team Training Program". See NC Division of Teacher Education Services (1987). Raleigh, NC: State Dept. of Public Instruction. This document was helpful in that it created more of a common vocabulary and program of training across the state.
There are many highly informed university and school-based educators, a rich history of experience, and a strong knowledge-base concerning mentoring and induction in the State of North Carolina. The collaborative school & university approach N.C. has used has led to strong preservice and induction partnerships, strong preservice and induction program evaluation studies, and some valuable conclusions about what is necessary to support the successful preparation and induction of new teachers.
With that as a given, it is also important to say that North Carolina has continued to struggle with problems similar to that of other states which emphasize an assessment approach in their mentoring program. For example, the state has long required the mentoring programs to use the North Carolina Teacher Performance Appraisal Instrument (TCPAI), a state assessment instrument for assessing student teacher competencies. Such a role often brings mentors dangerously close to compromising their assistance role and the safety required for risk taking, candid and open discussion of problems, and learning. This is especially a potential problem in North Carolina as the evaluations are used to determine future employment and eligibility for state teacher certification.
In 1987 the University of North Carolina Task Force on the Preparation of Teachers presented their report "The Education of North Carolina Teachers" to the state legislature. The report advanced four recommendations to improve teacher preparation. These were: greater use of summer for student teaching, a stronger supervision during the first two years of teaching, cooperative development of "clinical teaching programs", inclusion of school-based educators as university "clinical faculty" in teacher preparation programs. That same year the N.C. General Assembly enacted the legislation and provided funding to support programs that would demonstrate one or more of the Task Force recommendations. Competitive grants were awarded to 12 universities. The North Carolina Model Clinical Teaching Program (NCMCTP) was the result of this legislation and grant.
The NCMCTP is a collaborative between 10 branches of the North Carolina State University, two private universities, local school districts, regional agencies, and the State Department of Education. Some flexibility was designed into the approach and each university/school district partnership has developed in somewhat a unique direction. It should be noted that, while many of the major teacher preparation institutions are involved in this effort, the state of NC has 47 such institutions.
A 1988 article describing the early efforts of educators in North Carolina is Reiman, A., McNair, V., McGee, N. and Hines, J. (1988). "Linking Staff Development and Teacher Induction". Journal of Staff Development (9) 4, Pages 52-58. Much of the work was a collaboration between school-based educators and university teacher educators.
In 1990 the state published the "North Carolina Initial Certification Program". See NC Division of Teacher Education Services (1987). Raleigh, NC: State Dept. of Public Instruction. This document contains guidelines forms and procedures for the Initial Certification Program, which was created in 1985.
The next year in 1991 the North Carolina Professional Practices Commission conducted a study of the Initial Certification Program. While participants rated the program as "worthwhile" they also offered several suggestions for program improvement. Given the availability of the 1990 ICP Guidelines, the following stated needs are very interesting. ICP participants stated:
1992 -Summaries of the various programs, the lessons learned, and research findings are published in the book "Learning to Teach in North Carolina: The Model Clinical Teaching Network" was published in 1992 at Chapel Hill N.C. by the University of North Carolina General Administration. Contact them at PO Box 2688, 910 Raleigh Rd. Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2688. this summary reflects numerous positive results for schools and new teachers, valuable feed back for university teacher education programs and some remaining questions in need of investigation.
The NCMCTP has been recognized by several professional organizations for the quality of its work and results. The Network continues to depend on annual state appropriations for support. as of 1997 the NCMCTP served over 320 schools in 71 districts, has prepared over 1850 mentors, and uses over 100 clinical teachers in university classes.
1995 - Another progress report on the NCMCTP was issued titled "Accomplishments in Teacher Education in North Carolina". This work further describes accomplishments as well as sets out a research and development agenda. This report is available for $5 from the Model Clinical Teaching Network office at NC State Univ, C & I Box 7801, Raleigh, NV 27695-7801. Makes checks to the NC St. Univ. Extension Trust Fund.
In 1997 the NCMCT Network wrote a strategic plan which contains a vision and mission statement to focus their efforts and resources, and 6 goals to improve the quality and impact of the member partnerships. This group is really worth watching.
In 1997 the N.C. General Assembly enacted additional legislation and provided new funding through the "Excellent Schools Act (SB 272 and HB 351). 1997 legislation has required and funded an improved state mentor training process, a three day orientation for new teachers and has shifted from a 2 year to a 3 year induction period and then another year of probation to earn a teaching license. Mentors are now paid a $100 a month stipend through state money, but the stipend is only funded for the first of the three year induction period. The state has continued to "pile" responsibilities onto the mentors beyond mentoring the new teacher. These added responsibilities include doing observations for the purpose of evaluation. To avoid destroying the confidential mentor-protege relationship, most mentors only evaluate new teachers other than their own protege.
The Mentor Teacher Network is an extension of the NCSU Model Clinical Teaching Program. It is a collaborative established about 8 years ago and has expanded since to include the North Carolina State University and seventeen local school districts. The primary focus of this collaboration is the development of a cadre of skilled mentor trainers. To accomplish this, trainers attend a two semester course which uses the "trainer of trainers" model. This effort has produced the desire cadre of strong mentor trainers.
The future: it is expected that by 1999 the INTASC-based standards and an authentic assessment (portfolio-based) will be used for licensure of beginning teachers in NC
Although not all it might be, the collaborative, cohesive, and productive N.C. model of university, school and now, State Dept. effort is an effective model that many states need to consider. Their intent to keep pushing their knowledge and the implementation of effective programs is manifest in their work.
If you are aware of incorrect statements in this material OR if you can add authoritative new information concerning mentoring and induction in the various United States, please contact Barry Sweeny with that information. His e-mail is
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