First-Year Teachers, Mentors At Baylor For Support Conference

Jan. 31, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

More than 50 first-year teachers and their mentors will be on the Baylor University campus Thursday, Feb. 1, for an all-day conference focusing on the Texas Beginning Educator Support System (TxBESS), a project to improve the performance of beginning teachers through professional support and development and to reduce the attrition of new teachers.

The conference will begin at 8:45 a.m. in the Barfield Drawing Room in the Bill Daniel Student Center. Focus groups and breakout sessions on such topics as classroom management, successful teaching strategies, addressing learner differences and the importance of mentoring, will be held throughout the day in the student center.

Research indicates that quality mentoring results in substantially higher retention rates of novice teachers. In response, Baylor, in collaboration with the Region 12 Education Service Center and the Waco, Temple and Killeen school districts, is piloting the TxBESS induction model, funded by the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC).

This statewide project is based on these needs:

• Nationally, as many as 30 percent of beginning teachers leave the profession during their first two years in the classroom;

• At the same time that 25 percent of all teachers are nearing retirement, student enrollment is expected to reach its highest peak by 2007;

• The students of experienced teachers, those with five or more years of experience, perform significantly better on the TAAS when compared to first-year teachers;

• Each teacher leaving during their first years costs taxpayers more than $50,000.

Also attending the conference will be 10 Waco and Temple school principals, SBEC board members, Baylor School of Education Dean Robert Yinger, Associate Dean of Education Susan Johnsen, Hazel Rowe and Robbie Edwards with Waco ISD, Barbara Brunson and Dr. Tom Norris with Region 12, and Celeste Alexander with the Dana Center at UT-Austin. Killeen ISD educators will be in an all-day teacher in-service and will be unable to attend.

For more information, contact Krys Goree, Baylor's TxBESS program director, at (254) 710-4172 or Krystal_Goree@baylor.edu.

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