Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Doug Eury

Abstract

This dissertation evaluated a beginning teacher induction and mentor program currently used in a rural, county school system in western North Carolina and its effectiveness in the retention of teachers. The system has 29 schools, around 16,690 students, and employs approximately 1200 certified staff members. Using the CIPP Evaluation Model with a formative approach, information was gathered about the conditions that necessitated the program, procedures and practices used by the system to provide support and assistance to beginning teachers, whether or not established processes were being followed, and the impact of the program on beginning teacher retention. Individual and focus groups at the elementary, middle, and high school levels were conducted. A survey about the current beginning teacher induction program was completed by beginning teachers, mentors, and school principals. An open-ended questionnaire was used to provide additional input from beginning teachers. Data were analyzed using triangulation by identifying recurring themes from all sources to determine the effectiveness of the program.

Results indicate that the Beginning Teacher and Mentor Program met the mandate of the state of NC to assist with the retention of beginning teachers. Program components were identified as helping to address the needs of teachers during their first years of service. Specific sessions were found to provide relevant information about teacher expectations. Mentor support was determined to be a vital part of the total program. Principal support, likewise, was noted to be of importance to beginning educators. Established processes are being adhered to by the system, mentors, and principals. The beginning teacher retention rate for the 2007-2008 school year was 91.5%.

Findings of the study support the benefits of an induction program, mentors for beginning teachers, and principal support in the retention of beginning teachers.