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April 5, 2012
For More Information Contact:

JP O’Hare or Jeanne Beattie

(518) 474-1201


Commissioner King Awards Grants To Support New Teachers In Low-performing Schools

State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today announced the award of grants to three school districts to fund programs that will strengthen and enhance mentoring for new teachers in high-poverty, low-performing schools and in shortage teaching areas. The grants, totaling more than $1.3 million, are funded through the state’s Race to the Top "Model Induction Program." Successful applicants – the Albany City School District, the Buffalo City School District, and the Wyandanch Union Free School District – will receive funding for the period July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014.

"Ensuring every classroom is led by an effective teacher is the key to getting more children to graduate college- and career-ready," Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. "Intensive mentoring has proven to be extremely successful in helping new teachers succeed in their classrooms."

"Teacher quality is a critical element of student success," Commissioner King said. "But it’s hard to attract and retain strong teachers in high-poverty, low-performing schools. These grants will help give young teachers the mentoring and support they need to improve their skills and stick with the profession."

Specifically, the Model Induction Program will enable the successful grant winners to create, or scale up, induction models that serve teachers working in high-poverty, low-performing schools and teachers of English language learners, students with disabilities, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.

Rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all approach that prescribes how mentors and early career teachers must interact, districts will instead provide individualized support to each new teacher based upon an assessment of his or her skills and abilities.

The program will also build a cadre of mentors who will continue to work with early career teachers after the grant period has ended.

As required by the terms of the Request For Proposal, successful applicants submitted commitments from their unions to implement teacher and principal evaluations in participating schools in 2012-2013. Funding will not be available unless those commitments are honored and rigorous evaluation systems are implemented.