From BTSA to induction: the changing role of school districts in teacher credentialing

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Date: Spring 2006
From: Issues in Teacher Education(Vol. 15, Issue 1)
Publisher: Caddo Gap Press
Document Type: Article
Length: 5,657 words
Lexile Measure: 1710L

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A 2nd year BTSA teacher, Sarah, called the county BTSA program director to ask how to complete the two-year Induction Program in four weeks. The program director explained that according to program records she had not fully participated in Year 1 and could not complete two years in four weeks. Sarah said that she had not participated in Year 1 because her BTSA support provider told her it wasn't important. Sarah was assured that the district portfolio required for all probationary teachers was more important than BTSA. The district portfolio was a requirement to keep her job. And since no one ever checked the BTSA box, the support provider urged her to throw away all the "the BTSA crap." But now Sarah was ready to finish induction quickly, because her district sent her a letter stating that to move from one salary column to another she would need to complete induction for a Professional Clear Credential. This would increase her annual income by approximately $3,800. Sarah was informed by the BTSA program director that she had received incorrect information and would have to complete the two-year program.

This true story highlights challenges that occurred as successful Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Programs, statewide, transitioned to SB 2042 Induction Programs. In this article the authors, who direct two large county BTSA consortia, describe how the transition from BTSA to BTSA Induction has dramatically changed the roles and responsibilities of school districts, BTSA Induction Directors, and the educational communities they serve. The authors will discuss four primary themes which surfaced in Sarah's story and illustrate why the transition has been difficult, and what future changes need to be made to ensure that SB 2042 Induction Programs will be successful in meeting the needs of new teachers. They are:

1. The evolving nature of California's landscape of support for new teachers;

2. System wide communication to all stakeholders;

3. Redirecting and redefining norms within a mature BTSA community; and

4. Protecting the integrity of BTSA and the induction requirements while promoting the success of beginning teachers.

The article will conclude with thoughts concerning the future of teacher preparation, including California's BTSA Induction Program.

From 1988- 2005: The Seventeen-Year Evolution to BTSA Induction

Background: The California Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Program

In 1992, the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) grant program was established to provide funded opportunities for first-and second-year teachers having completed a preliminary or professional clear multiple/single subject, credential. Matriculating from a teacher preparation program to the classroom, they were ready to "expand, enrich and deepen their teaching knowledge and skill through collegial reflection as well as continued instruction and study" (Director's Guide, 2000). Collegial reflection was accomplished with veteran educators while continued instruction and study occurred during ongoing district-based professional development coupled with a formative assessment system of inquiry. The BTSA program was designed to provide a smooth transition into the complex responsibilities of teaching, seeking to increase the retention of beginning teachers and improve learning opportunities for their K-12 students.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A144438195