photo of Chicago public school

New Teacher Center's eight-year partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) began in 2006, under Arne Duncan’s leadership as Chief Executive Officer, when CPS brought in NTC to turn the tide of chronically low student achievement. CPS, the nation’s third largest district, was losing three or four out of every five new teachers, and its leaders knew low student outcomes were related to high teacher turnover. NTC (then known as Chicago New Teacher Center, or CNTC) worked with the district to implement a new teacher induction program that would improve student outcomes and reduce the high teacher turnover.  Despite budgetary challenges, the program continues to evolve and is now integrated into CPS’s professional learning strategy, a comprehensive approach to developing and supporting educators. 

Accelerating Teacher Effectiveness

The new teacher induction program supports teachers that are new to the profession in CPS. Induction coaches—chosen from the district’s best teachers and who have been released from their teaching duties—observe teachers in their classrooms and meet with them individually to discuss student engagement and instructional outcomes. Induction coaches receive intensive on-going professional development that provides a foundation in assessing the practice of beginning teachers, working with adult learners, and the use of NTC’s standards-based Formative Assessment and Support System. Both induction coaches and new teachers commit to performance goals, agreed upon by the district, ensuring program accountability.    

CPS has committed to increasing teacher effectiveness and student achievement by implementing a rigorous teacher evaluation rubric and Common Core State Standards. In light of these initiatives, NTC is working with CPS to support school leaders in their ability to effectively enhance teacher growth. Leaders develop comprehensive coaching knowledge, skills and dispositions while improving their ability to observe teachers and provide meaningful feedback. Through this partnership, NTC and CPS aim to accelerate teacher effectiveness, improve teacher retention, strengthen school leadership, and enhance learning communities throughout Chicago schools.  

NTC offers professional development aligned with district learning goals that is open to all CPS teachers. Topics have included: classroom management, guided reading, literacy development, no-nonsense nurturing, and social and emotional learning. A Summer Academy orients teachers that are new to the district. Learn more about NTC Professional Development for CPS.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, 98% of Chicago Public Schools teachers served by NTC intended to remain in the profession in the next school year. According to one beginning teacher, “Having a mentor observe a class and give me feedback on teacher and student data was very valuable…The mentors bring real life experiences to the table and they are understanding of what new teachers are experiencing.”

Supporting New Teachers in Key Content Areas

Even in large districts like CPS, it can be difficult to find a teacher with the appropriate content background to mentor new science, math, and special education teachers. NTC’s online mentoring program, eMSS, solves this problem by pairing new teachers with expert teachers from across the country that work in the same content area and grade. eMSS offers a unique blend of one-on-one mentoring, high-quality professional development, a facilitated community and content-specific support that would be difficult to implement by individual districts. Teachers and mentors participate in the program anytime, anywhere.

Supporting School Leaders 

Based on the success of the teacher induction program, NTC worked with CPS to develop school leaders through one-on-one executive leadership coaching and building their capacity to coach teachers. Beginning in the 2010-11 school year, CPS asked NTC to develop a first year induction program offering experienced leadership coaches for all first year principals, ensuring that they are successful from the beginning. Coaching sessions focus on the data-driven analysis of student achievement, teacher observation and evaluation, goal setting, and community interaction. Summative data collected from program participants in the first year of the program indicated that 68% of new principals exceeded the district average for improvements on student outcomes measured by the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT). 
NTC also offers a series of professional development opportunities to build the capacity of school administrators and CPS leaders to enhance mentoring skills and engage in reflective dialogue around practice to accelerate teacher effectiveness. Learn more about NTC Professional Development for CPS