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Updated March 14, 1998
North Dakota -
There is no state-mandated induction program in North Dakota. The state does, however, fund some pilot induction programs which seem to be going well.
The experiences of new teachers in North Dakota districts with induction programs was captured during the school years from 1985 to 1988 in a study done through a 1988 survey which sought input from all new teachers and all principals in the state. Responses were received from about 1/3rd of the new teachers and 87% of the principals. A follow up study found that the data are over-representative of the group choosing to stay in their first year teaching positions. See Harris, M. & Collay, M. (1990). "Teacher Induction in Rural schools". Journal of Staff Development, (11) 4, pages 44-47.
The study found that teachers leaving their first year assignment was about 7.4% higher in North Dakota than the national average. The study also found, however, that about 70% of those leaving their first year position did so because they found jobs in larger communities, and that those who left were generally the more effective beginning teachers. Finally, the study reported that most teachers left their first assignment because the smaller school systems had to give their teachers more teaching preparations, more extra duty assignments, assignments in subjects for which the new teachers felt unprepared, and assignments at more than one site. It was the conclusion of the researcher that it was the more rural aspect of the state which creates these problems for schools and new teachers.
The same study found that new teachers who stayed in their first year assignment felt a greater connection to their colleagues and that this feeling played heavily in their decision to stay. About 70% of the total sample (leaving and staying) said they would have been more effective as teachers in that first year if a support or resource teacher had been assigned to assist them. In response to the difficulty of assigning a mentor in small rural schools, the Harris & Collay article suggested the assignment of a mentoring team. In the 1990-91 school year a first year mentor program, modeled after the group mentoring approach, was developed for implementation in rural areas of the state. This pilot was funded by a state grant that provided a university-based facilitator and $6,000 to each of the 8 participating schools to support mentoring, mentor training, and released time.
In 1991 the North Dakota Teachers Professional Practices Commission adopted a professional development system state-wide for all teachers. A lack of funding, however, blocked the planned implementation of the program.
In 1998 the state contact person is Pat Gnatt at 701-227-2139.
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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