Date of Award

6-8-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Becky Knickelbein, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Leslie Babinski, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lynanne Black, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Mary Ann Rafoth, Ph.D.

Abstract

An effective teacher is the key to student achievement. Teachers entering the profession today come from various backgrounds and previous experiences. As we increase our understanding of the generation of teachers currently educating our children, we can improve the ways we provide support to best meet their needs and continue to improve teacher retention, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement. This qualitative study examines the first year experiences of 13 newly hired professional staff in Pennsylvania and New York who volunteered to participate in yearlong New Teacher Groups facilitated by a school psychologist. This study analyzes the following archival data: attendance percentages, demographic questionnaires, and interview transcripts from individuals who participated in a New Teacher Group. Specifically, this study addresses the following research questions: 1. Which school district staff members (identified by role) did the new staff members perceive to be particularly helpful to them in their first year? 2. How did the participants describe their mentors? 3. Overall, how satisfied were the new teachers with the institutional support they received in their first year? 4. What do participants perceive to be the benefits and important characteristics of new teacher consultation groups? 5. How did the New Teacher Groups differ from other first year support resources provided to new faculty? All thirteen newly hired professional staff that participated in the New Teacher Groups reported positive experiences, described various benefits, and explained how the support they received in their New Teacher Groups was different from any other type of support they received in their first year. The overall annual attendance rate of 85% indicates the usefulness of New Teacher Groups as a form of induction support. Another important finding of this research is that several different staff can provide support to new teachers in their first year. School psychologists have the necessary background and prerequisite training in problem-solving and consultation skills to facilitate New Teacher Groups. This form of indirect service allows school psychologists to affect student-learning at a systems-level. The induction initiative of conducting New Teacher Groups is a valuable investment for students, staff, and school districts.

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