Expert Viewpoint

Giving New Teachers an Edge with a Centralized Learning Hub

Six ways school districts can increase new teachers' success odds by pairing them up with a centralized learning hub that supports the curriculum, high-stakes standardized testing, and classroom instruction.

Being a new teacher is not easy. The pressure to determine how to best teach curriculum, help students meet or exceed learning standards, and manage a large classroom of unique students can be overwhelming for any teacher.

Add high-stakes standardized testing and the emphasis on data collection to the equation, and the situation gets even more difficult — so much so that over 10 percent of teachers leave the profession after the first year and 17 percent of them turnover within five years.

Teachers believe in helping all students to succeed and want to make best use of the data they receive from standardized tests and other classroom assessment. Finding content to meet the needs of each individual student in a classroom can be time-consuming. At least 58 percent of teachers spend up to five hours a week searching the web for course content.

Combined, these challenges make it pretty difficult to be a new (or seasoned) instructor in today's teaching environment— a painful reality that directly impacts students, schools, and our nation's educational system as a whole.

6 Steps to Instructional Success

Confident teachers build trust and strong relationships with students, reinforcing why they became teachers in the first place. They get satisfaction from being successful at teaching and this leads to higher retention for districts. Here are six ways districts can get on the path to supporting and retaining new teachers:

  1. Give them an easy and fast way to find, create, and modify lessons, assessments, and assignments. In lieu of curriculum binders or textbooks, districts must provide a searchable library of standards-aligned content and customizable master course templates. These tools make it easy to find, create, or modify lessons all in one place.  
  2. Allow them to search for curriculum by state and national standards, grade level, assignment and resource type, format, Lexile level, language, and publisher. Then pull that content directly into a learning path that students can follow. Doing so provides teachers with the tools they need to start teaching on day 1. This improves their confidence and helps to make digital content creation and curation a more feasible undertaking.
  3. Pair the content with standards-aligned student progress and performance data. This critical link allows teachers to use data to inform curriculum, differentiate instruction, and personalize learning. They can also help students develop a growth mindset whereby they learn to take ownership of their own learning while teachers themselves take ownership of their classrooms.  
  4. Create a central hub where teachers can establish stronger links between curriculum, standards, resources, and assessments. With our Wayne Learning Hub, teachers can get up and running quickly, thus improving both confidence and job satisfaction. Using our itslearning learning management system (LMS), the instructors embed instructional strategies in customizable course templates. Those templates feature a standards-aligned planner organized into units and lessons with a variety of linked resources (including rich digital resources and student-centric activities).
  5. Leverage open educational resources. Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing, such as the Creative Commons license. Our digital curriculum resources are housed in our LMS, which includes more than 5 million curated and organized resources from more than 500 vetted sources. This integrated and searchable library helps our teachers do their jobs without the need for additional resources, money, or manpower.
  6. Put the data to work for your district. Our platform's learning analytics and reporting functionalities help us illustrate standards-based progress and performance across students, courses, and schools. This, in turn, informs planning and decision-making while also illustrating the effectiveness of student outcomes.

Sharing in the Success

When teachers are successful, their students are successful. Our district has effectively reduced the complexity of our teachers' jobs while also improving the learning return on our edtech investment. 

About the Author

Michele Eaton is Director of Virtual and Blended Learning at Metropolitan School District in Wayne Township, IN.

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