Legislation that established the TEAM Program requires that the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) monitor district implementation of the program to ensure fidelity to its plan and goals. In order to meet this requirement, the Department has developed a five year plan to visit randomly selected school districts, charter schools, technical high schools and approved private special education Facilities from each of the six RESC regions around the state.
CSDE Education Consultants will meet with District Facilitators, TEAM Coordinating Committees, beginning teachers and mentors to determine how CSDE and the RESCs can be more responsive to needs of each district. Conversations will focus on the elements of the district’s three-year support plan to ensure that:
- a TEAM Coordinating Committee (including members as required by legislation) is in place to develop, monitor and support beginning teachers and mentors participating in the TEAM Program;
- resources and activities are available to achieve the district’s goals to support the state’s mission statement for the TEAM Program;
- a process is in place to select and train mentors and reflection paper reviewers in order to meet the needs of the district/school;
- a process is in place to resolve any conflicts or disputes regarding a teacher’s participation in the module process, mentor-beginning teacher relationships and the outcome of reflection papers; and
- mentors are providing approximately 10 hours of mentoring support to beginning teachers, as required by legislation, with the appropriate disbursement of mentor stipends based on required mentoring hours
Following a TEAM Program site visit, CSDE will provide the district with a report to highlight commendations and provide suggestions about the district’s implementation of the TEAM Program. We will also outline an action plan for additional assistance and support, if needed, from TEAM Program consultants at CSDE and the RESCs.
Using a simple online survey, TEAM provides districts and program developers with reports that reflect the responses of beginning teachers, mentors, administrators, reviewers, and district facilitators to scaled and open-ended questions about new teacher support and learning through TEAM. Each district receives a report that has been compiled specifically for that district.
TEAM legislation requests that districts “submit an annual report on mentor-teacher activities to the district TEAM Coordinating Committee for review and approval.” Districts are encouraged to use the information from the survey in their annual district reports to their TEAM Coordinating Committees to inform support plans and the allocation of financial support to meet the needs of beginning teachers and mentors in the next year. Additionally, the TEAM program developers use the results to inform program development and guide changes. The report may also be used by the state to determine effectiveness of the program and report outcomes to key stakeholders.
Survey questions are designed to address module content, process and impact of the TEAM program (e.g. how often beginning teachers and mentors meet; in what types of mentoring activities did beginning teachers and mentors engage; how has TEAM improved beginning teacher instruction; how work in the module process impacts student achievement; how effective a mentor feels in supporting the beginning teacher in the module process)Respondents are also invited to answer to open-ended questions (e.g., what do you consider the strengths of the TEAM program? Or, what area do you consider in most need of improvement?)
In addition to the online survey, District Facilitators are provided with a dashboard through the TEAM website where they are able to monitor mentor and beginning teacher meeting logs, contact hours (“each mentor is required to provide a minimum of 50 contact hours to each beginning teacher over the beginning teacher’s two years, with the expectation of providing approximately 10 contact hours per module”) and progress in the module process. Education consultants at CSDE can also monitor individual district compliance with mentor and beginning teacher assignments and the required number of mentoring hours. RESC field staff and CSDE consultants are available to provide technical support to the individual districts as requested.
TEAM and Teacher Evaluation
At this time in the school year, the teacher evaluation process joins TEAM as a major focus for new teachers. This message will provide you with some specific suggestions for how your TEAM work can also help you achieve your teacher evaluation goals.
As you construct your teacher evaluation goals and begin your TEAM module process, your mentor can help you better understand that while the two processes serve different purposes (certification and employment decisions) they focus on the common goals of professional growth that leads to improved student achievement.
Once you have established your student learning goals for teacher evaluation, share them with your mentor. Together you can identify specific ways in which your TEAM professional growth goal can help you get one step closer to achieving your student learning goals.
For example, if you set a goal for teacher evaluation that focuses on improving students’ competence in literacy, you can also work on that same concept for one or more of your 8-10 week TEAM modules. You can then choose to share the evidence from your TEAM reflection paper(s) with your administrator if it is relevant to your evaluation goal.
Another example – If you are working in Module Three, Instruction, your work may result in improved student learning/outcomes because you learned about and implemented new evidence based instructional strategies. When your administrator observes you as part of teacher evaluation, s/he may see students demonstrate a high level of student to student discourse which could become positive evidence for the performance and practice section of your evaluation.
Working with your mentor to coordinate TEAM and teacher evaluation can help you see connections, grow as a professional and demonstrate your competence through the TEAM process and teacher evaluation.