Retirees will help new teachers

By Karen Colbenson

Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

A teacher induction program aimed at teachers new to the profession or new to Austin Public Schools will be implemented in the district beginning this summer, likely bringing back some of the district’s retired teachers, who will serve as coaches and mentors.

The program will help familiarize newly hired teachers with the district and its procedures.

The five-phase plan, proposed by Superintendent Candace Raskin and the Austin Education Association, includes a "new teacher institute," through which several courses will be offered. Training will cover topics such as course and grade-level assessments, intervention procedures and special education forms.


Teachers with experience but who are new to the district would begin at phase two, which offers three days of training on attendance and grading procedures and other staff development education, as well as a tour of the city.

In phase three, all newly hired teachers would be assigned to a paid coach, likely a retired teacher, for five or 10 hours, depending on whether the teachers are new to the district or new to the profession.

According to Raskin, hiring retired teachers to work with newly hired teachers would offer an opportunity for retired teachers to stay involved in their profession and would help link the teaching methods of new and experienced teachers.

Coaches will observe classes and provide feedback, assist with problem-solving and provide curriculum and classroom management support. University of Minnesota faculty members will train the coaches.

All teachers new to the district also will be provided an on-site mentor, who will serve as the "go to" person for information, said Raskin.

Several of the district’s current administrators will offer classes on different educational practices throughout the school year, which teachers new to the profession will be required to attend. The classes also are open to experienced teachers, said Raskin.

Stipends ranging from $200 to $400 will be offered to teachers who complete the phases.

The program will cost an estimated $20,000 per year, which will be paid for with various funds and grants.

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