Connecticut recognizes that learning to teach is a developmental process that begins during preservice and continues throughout a teacher’s career. In their first years in the profession, early career teachers face the challenge of translating theory from teacher preparation programs into practice and developing effective classroom management skills while planning and delivering instruction to maximize student learning. Becoming a highly effective teacher requires a lifelong commitment to continuous professional learning.
TEAM is a professional growth model that incorporates the CT Standards for Professional Learning and provides beginning teachers with multiple opportunities to reflect on their practice, analyze student data and outcomes, and identify areas for growth and improvement for their individual professional learning.
TEAM is designed around five professional growth modules in order to provide a framework for the support of beginning teachers. Depending on the beginning teacher’s endorsement and assignment, they are required to complete up to five modules which are focused on the following domains of the Common Core of Teaching (CCT): classroom environment, planning, instruction, assessment and professional responsibility.
Successful completion of the TEAM Program is required for eligibility to move from an Initial Educator Certificate to a Provisional Educator Certificate.
Mentors and beginning teachers engage in a cycle of professional growth – together they reflect on practice, identify an area of need/growth, engage in professional learning, apply the new learning, and reflect on the impact on the teacher’s practice and student outcomes. Each module is focused within the context of the teacher’s own students, subject, grade level, curriculum requirements and school and district goals. Teachers then demonstrate the completion of the module through either a reflection paper or project, depending on their district’s plan.
Module 5 Professional Responsibilities is different from the other four modules, which are primarily classroom centered. By design, this module serves to educate new teachers about their professional responsibility in regard to expectations for ethical and moral integrity and making connections beyond the classroom to the larger school/district educational community and to the community of student and families. To fulfill Module 5 requirements, teachers must engage in district-facilitated conversations that focus on ethical and professional dilemmas.
Separation of TEAM Program Results and Employment Decisions
The TEAM legislation states that “local and regional Boards of Education shall not consider a teacher’s completion of the teacher education and mentoring program as a factor in its decision to continue a teacher’s employment in the district.”
Clarification for districts: TEAM Program activities can be aligned with district and school goals and, therefore, aligned with the district’s teacher evaluation plan, considering the balance of both district initiatives and the professional growth needs of the beginning teacher. However, the successful completion of a beginning teacher’s reflection paper(s) or other work completed as part of the TEAM modules must not have any impact on or be a factor in a district’s decision to continue or terminate employment of the beginning teacher. Non-renewal must be based on alternative criteria.
Clarification for beginning teachers: Conversely, a beginning teacher cannot use a successful completion of modules to argue against a non-renewal decision by the district.