Educational Services Division
Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley New Teacher Project Supports Quality Teachers and Teacher Retention
Early on a recent morning, approximately 75 educational leaders from across Santa Cruz County and beyond gathered at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE) for a breakfast meeting hosted by the Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley New Teacher Project (SC/SVNTP).
The Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley New Teacher Project is a California Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Induction Program. In its 23rd year, the SC/SVNTP supports new teachers in developing effective teaching practices that impact student success. Teachers participating in the two-year program meet weekly with their SC/SVNTP mentors, who are exemplary teachers fully released by districts from their classroom assignments, and who are highly trained for their mentoring roles. Through use of a specialized formative assessment system, mentors and teachers collaboratively assess classroom practice and set goals and next steps for the teacher's growth. In the role of lead educational agency, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education has supported this successful program ever since it began in 1988. Currently the SC/SVNTP supports 182 teachers from districts across Santa Cruz, North Monterey, and San Benito counties. Additionally, there are 17 districts and 357 teachers in Santa Clara that are a part of the consortium.
Each fall, the SC/SVNTP invites site and district administrators to join them for an overview of the current year’s program and an introduction to new additions and innovations. This year, the room was abuzz as the recently-revised California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP) and the newly-developed Continuum of Teaching Practice (state publications) were highlighted and demonstrated as tools designed to motivate professional growth for teachers in all stages of their careers.
The CSTP provides common language for and a vision of the scope and complexity of the teaching profession and are intended to guide teachers as they develop, refine, and extend their practices. The Continuum of Teaching Practice is aligned with the CSTP and is a tool for self-reflection, goal setting, and inquiry into the practice of teaching.
Lively discussions ensued as mentors and administrators collaborated to generate strategies for integrating both documents into site and district professional cultures. Though the hour was early and the challenges in education are numerous, the positivity in the room prevailed and possibly laid the groundwork for meaningful professional development at sites for new and experienced teachers alike.