New Teacher Center

Case study snapshot

The challenge
With an ageing teacher workforce, it’s never been more likely for a class of students in the USA to be taught by an early career teacher. However, many early career teachers do not receive adequate support, so attrition rates remain high.

The response
New Teacher Center is an international non-profit organisation from the USA that’s improving student outcomes by accelerating the effectiveness of early career teachers. New Teacher Center works at all levels of the education system to implement quality mentoring and induction programs.

The takeaways
Quality mentoring and induction programs improve early career teacher effectiveness, which can lead to better student outcomes.

New Teacher Center (NTC) works to effect systemic change to better support and develop effective early career teachers (new teachers). NTC is a non-profit organisation based in the USA, and has extended its services internationally. The mission of NTC is to ‘improve student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders1. It achieves this mission by working with all levels of the education system (schools, districts, states, and federal) to implement mentoring and induction programs.

The NTC program was founded in 1998 by the current CEO Ellen Moir and her associates at the University of California at Santa Cruz. As Head of Teacher Education, Ellen observed the constant difficulties faced by graduating teachers once placed in the classroom. In response, Ellen started an in-service professional learning program run by the university for graduates within the local school districts. The success of this program was noted by districts further afield and quickly expanded.

In 2009, NTC was established as an independent non-profit in order to attract philanthropic funding. This additional source of funding has enabled NTC to scale. Over 2012-2013, NTC had prepared over 5,700 mentors to improve the effectiveness of over 23,000 new teachers. This scale has directly impacted the learning of 1.6 million US students.2 In addition to expanding to the majority of states in the USA, NTC has operated in Canada, Scotland, and currently assists the Ministry of Education in Singapore to deliver a national new teacher mentoring program.

The NTC model generates its revenue through fee-for-service contracts and philanthropic funding. Over half of the NTC revenue comes from contracts with school districts and state organisations. In exchange, NTC assists these school districts and state organisations to:

  • Define induction infrastructure;
  • Manage on-the-ground and online induction programs;
  • Deliver professional development;
  • Develop school leadership capacity;
  • Analyse school teaching and learning conditions.

This process is conducted in collaboration with state and local leaders to ensure program relevancy and sustainability.

The significant expansion of NTC is a testament to the organisation’s approach and reflects the changing context of education in the USA. Jane Barker, Director of Communications at NTC, explained the current demographic shift of an ageing teacher workforce in the USA:

With the baby boomer population of teachers progressively coming into retirement, it’s more likely that there will now be a new (early career) teacher in front of any classroom than a teacher from any other experience level. This is disproportionately the case in disadvantaged schools3′

These demographic circumstances are not dis-similar to the Australian context. Early career teachers (ECTs) in Australia are most likely to teach in low SES schools4, and Australia also faces an ageing teacher workforce.5 The lessons from NTC are therefore very relevant to our national education system.


3 Ingersol, R. & Merrill, L. (2010) The Changing Face of the Teaching Force.
4 McKenzie, P., Rowley, G., Weldon, P. & Murphy, M. (2011). Staff in Australia’s Schools 2010: Main Report on the Survey. Australian Council for Educational Research.
5 page 61.


NTC Theory of Action – System-wide Support for New Teachers

NTC works at all levels of the system – from policy to practice – to develop effective new teachers and school leaders. NTC applies its research-based work by building long-term partnerships with schools, local school districts, and state education departments. Through these partnerships they create Induction and Mentoring policies that drive positive student impact.

NTC’s Theory of Action is displayed in Figure 1 below, followed by a brief explanation:

Figure 1 1

1.  Conditions For Success – These conditions are considered the essential elements before a NTC Induction program can be implemented:

  • A systemic approach to new teacher development – Induction and mentoring programs are applied at school, school district, and state levels. All of these levels of education are invested in the program’s success, and are not dependent on the initiative of individual schools.
  • Selection of quality mentors – Experienced and exceptional teachers are recruited by NTC to mentor new teachers. Mentors can be either internal or external to the new teacher’s school.
  • Supportive and engaged stakeholders – It’s essential that all levels of the education system support a long-term commitment to the new teacher induction program.

2.  Program Design and Evaluation: NTC has identified the following components as necessary to achieving successful program implementation:

  • Capable Instructional Mentors – To become effective instructional mentors, NTC recognises that mentors need a specific set of knowledge and skills. NTC provides training to develop these skill sets among their selected mentors.
  • Effective Principals – The NTC induction programs build the capacity of Principals and school leaders to best develop their new teachers. NTC supports Principals by training them in standards-based supervision and evaluation practices. They also provide ongoing professional feedback so that they can better support their new teachers.
  • Multiple Support Structures for New Teachers – Induction programs include data collection systems, to help new teachers and mentors to improve their practice and student outcomes. They also facilitate peer networking opportunities, classroom observation (both observing others and being observed in the classroom), regular appraisal and feedback, and online courses.
  • Strong Program Leaders – Similar to Regional Directors of school education in Australia, Program Leaders are responsible for implementing NTC program in several schools within a school district. NTC works directly with Program Leaders to ensure effective delivery of the program, and their ongoing development.
  • Program Evaluation – NTC considers continuous evaluation as essential to the program’s improvement and impact. This involves regular collection of data through: stakeholder surveys; effectiveness of program implementation; quantitative data on teacher satisfaction, effectiveness, retention; focus groups and interviews.

3. Impact: The NTC induction program focuses on achieving a positive impact on student learning through the following 3 areas:

  1. Teacher effectiveness – New teachers become more effective in their practice and create improved student outcomes.
  2. Teacher retention – Successful teachers who are supported and valued are more likely to stay in the profession and in hard-to-staff schools.
  3. Teacher leadership – The NTC program seeks to advance the careers of both experienced teachers as instructional mentors, and also fosters new teacher leadership.

NTC Mentors

The main source of support that NTC provides to new teachers is through mentoring. In order to be effective, however, quality mentors are essential. Therefore, the NTC programs place strong emphasis on recruitment and ongoing training of mentors to ensure quality.


Once engaged with a school district, NTC works in partnership with the school district and other local school agencies to recruit mentors. These mentors are experienced teachers that have achieved consistently positive student outcomes.

Once recruited, mentors are released from their classroom or school responsibilities to take on NTC mentor role, either in a full or part-time capacity [TE1] . The district continues to pay the mentor’s salary and is not an employee of NTC. Their classroom teaching position is then filled by another experienced teacher, which is funded by the school district.

Mentors Training

NTC provides ongoing professional learning and skills development for the mentors prior to and during their tenure. This is conducted through NTC’s nationally recognised Formative Assessment System and the Mentor Academy Sessions [TE2] . These training systems are ongoing, and are focused on enhancing the mentor’s skills to:

  • Identify and meet beginning teachers’ developmental needs;
  • Collect, interpret, and action classroom teaching data;
  • Guide new teachers to differentiate instruction based on assessed student learning needs;
  • Develop new teachers’ understanding on the social and emotional learning needs of their students;
  • Support new teachers’ ability to effectively engage and manage their classrooms;
  • Assist new teachers to develop high-level instructional practices that prepare students for success in content standards.

93% of participating mentors found these professional development opportunities to improve their teaching and the effectiveness of their role.2


Mentoring Load

A full-time NTC mentor supports an average of 15 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) new teachers. Mentors meet with each new teacher at least once each week. These interactions[JB3]  can involve observing other teachers, being observed, planning, appraisal, and feedback.. Further support is then provided through online and phone interactions.

School Leadership Development

NTC Induction program offers a range of professional development workshops for Principals and school leaders to better assist new teachers. These skills include:

  • Formative assessment tools to help improve the effectiveness of new teachers;
  • Developing an effective organisational and management structure to best support new teachers;
  • Building an inclusive school culture to support new teachers;
  • Techniques to accurately observe teaching and learning that’s based on teaching standards and student achievement;
  • Coaching strategies to improve the effectiveness of new teachers and mentors.

Partnering with NTC

NTC follows a five phase partnership roadmap to building capacity for involved schools, districts, and state organisations. This is performed over a period of four to five years, as detailed in the table below:


Figure 2.3

Technology-Driven Scaling Plan – A ‘Blended Learning’ Model

NTC has developed an online mentoring program referred to as e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS). eMSS has been developed to support rural and hard-to-staff schools, where access to mentors is restricted. It’s specifically focused on the subject areas that face teacher shortages, such as mathematics, science, and special education.

eMSS provides a range of teaching resources (such as lesson plan ideas, subject specific content, etc.) and facilitates discussion forums between new teachers. The platform also connects new teachers to their mentors. This allows new teachers to discuss issues and receive guidance through video conferencing, group mentoring sessions, and online written discussions.

eMSS mentors are employed and funded directly by NTC. Similar to NTC’s Induction program, mentors are recruited and trained by NTC. All mentors are experienced and practicing (or recently practicing) teachers. Scaling eMSS has been made possible through ongoing philanthropic support.


1 New Teacher Center (2013)Growth Capital Investment Prospectus, page. 9.

New Teacher Center conducts a professional development survey to measure program quality levels of satisfaction. In responses to professional development surveys conducted in 2011, across 71 New Teacher Center trainings, and 8,640 participants, professional development recipients consistently rated NTC professional development at very high levels. The results are shown in the chart above.

3 NTC Induction Program Development






In 4 years, New Teacher Center reached 17k mentors, 63k beginning teachers and 4.4m students. 4 This is larger than the total number of students in school across Australia.3


*For more outcome data (already graphed and tabulated)

1 This cost-benefit study entitled Is Mentoring Worth the Money? A Benefit-Cost Analysis and Five-Year Rate of Return of a Comprehensive Mentoring Program for Beginning Teachers was conducted by Anthony Villar and Michael Strong of the University of California, Santa Cruz and published in ERS Spectrum, Journal of Research and Information.

2 A federally-funded randomized controlled trial found that beginning teachers who received two years of induction produced greater student learning gains when compared with those who received less intensive mentoring. These gains are equivalent of a student moving from the 50th to the 58th percentile in math and from the 50th to the 54th percentile in reading. The study did not show results until year three. This may be due to start-up challenges and suggests that programs must commit to intensive focus on implementation in the first year.

4 Australian schools educate just under 3.6 million students:


  1. Comprehensive Induction: NTC works at all levels of the education system to ensure that new teachers are properly inducted into the teaching profession;
  2. Mentoring/Coaching: NTC ensures that all new teachers receive support and development through mentoring and coaching. The mentors can either be from within the school or external to the school. The mentors receive ongoing support in effective coaching methods;
  3. Observation, Appraisal and Feedback: NTC equips mentors, school leaders, and Principals with the skills to observe and to accurately dispense appraisal and feedback;
  4. Clinical Practice: NTC programs place a strong emphasis on evidence-based teaching practice, and trains all levels of involved teaching staff to accurately collect, interpret, and action student data;
  5. Innovative Professional Development: The e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS) platform is an innovative professional development tool for assisting new teachers in rural, remote, and hard-to-staff school districts.