SAN FRANCISCO, CA – October 15, 2009 – NewSchools Venture Fund today announced an investment of $1.2 million in the New Teacher Center (NTC), a national nonprofit organization committed to helping teachers and their mentors have the greatest possible impact on student achievement. Since it was founded in 1998 by Ellen Moir, NTC has supported more than 49,000 teachers and 5,000 mentors, touching the lives of millions of students through comprehensive mentoring and professional development programs.
The aim of NTC is to increase the effectiveness of classroom teachers – the single most important factor in students’ success in school. Four years in a row of a top-quartile teacher instead of a bottom-quartile teacher can increase students’ achievement enough to close the black-white test score gap. However, for too long, America has lacked the programs and supports necessary to train teachers to effectively drive student outcomes. One reason is the notable gap between education schools and effective teacher practice: education school alumni often report that their preparation failed to adequately equip them for the realities of the classroom. Moreover, few school systems adequately finance the early mentoring – also called teacher induction – that is critical for helping new teachers acclimate to the classroom and learn the skills they need to ensure that students learn. Inadequate preparation coupled with a lack of support often leads to low job satisfaction and high rates of attrition, often among the most promising teachers. As a result, school systems lack the highly effective teachers who are so essential to preparing all students for the 21st century.
In response, NewSchools Venture Fund has sought to identify and support strong entrepreneurial organizations that can expand the number of highly effective teachers in the classrooms that need them most. NTC accelerates teacher effectiveness by pairing beginning teachers with experienced and dedicated mentors in high-poverty urban schools. This work is not only improving teacher effectiveness, it is also transforming school systems. NTC partners with school districts, policymakers and leaders in education to design and implement comprehensive, mentor-based support programs that improve teacher retention, build career pathways, and transform schools into vibrant learning communities. And as a pioneer in the teacher induction space, NTC’s research and policy work is informing the field about the resources required to attract, support, and retain the newest members of the profession.
NTC was initially established as part of the University of California at Santa Cruz. In July 2009, in order to better serve their clients across the country, NTC began operating as a fully independent nonprofit. In the coming years, NTC will grow to serve an even more impressive number of teachers and their expert and clear call for better induction practices will resound in school systems on a national scale.
“Increasing teacher effectiveness will pave the way to closing the persistent achievement gap across our country.” said Julie Mikuta, a Partner at NewSchools who has joined the board of NTC. “Ellen Moir and her team at the New Teacher Center are changing an entire ecosystem of policies and expectations that support high-quality new teacher induction services, and maximizing teachers’ and leaders’ effectiveness to drive student outcomes.”
“We are excited to have found a true partner in NewSchools Venture Fund,” said Ellen Moir, Founder and Executive Director of the New Teacher Center. “NewSchools’ vision and network of public education entrepreneurs across the country will provide key opportunities for NTC to effectively reach new teachers with our programs. At the heart of our work is the belief that every student in America is entitled to a quality education with dedicated and inspired teachers.”
NTC has become the largest teacher induction provider in the country. Last year alone, NTC served 10,000 teachers in over 200 programs across 40 states. The organization has significantly increased teacher retention rates in the systems where they operate. For example, NTC’s intensive mentoring program in the Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto, CA contributed to a dramatic shift from 75 percent teacher attrition rates after two years in some of the most challenged schools, to approximately 20 percent attrition (80 percent retention) in all schools across the district. NTC has also contributed to the field’s emerging knowledge on teacher induction by publishing over 40 research reports, articles, briefs, working papers, and books related to mentoring and teacher and principal induction. As they continue to measure their impact, NTC is part of a small cohort of entrepreneurial organizations and districts leading the field by implementing rigorous measures of teachers’ effectiveness on the basis of student achievement.
NewSchools Venture Fund looks forward to supporting NTC’s important work to improve teacher quality, especially in low-income schools, and to contribute important knowledge to the field about the best ways we can cultivate and retain talent across the teaching profession. NTC will join a national network of entrepreneurs in the NewSchools portfolio committed to the challenge of placing and supporting effective teachers and leaders in classrooms and schools that need them most, including Teach For America, New Leaders for New Schools, and The New Teacher Project.
About New Teacher Center
The New Teacher Center (NTC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders. The NTC strengthens school communities through proven mentoring and professional development programs, online learning environments, policy advocacy, and research. More information is available at www.newteachercenter.org or call (831) 600-2200.
About NewSchools Venture Fund
NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit venture philanthropy firm that has been working since 1998 to transform public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children – especially those in underserved communities – have the opportunity to succeed. NewSchools invests in organizations that provide the systems, people and tools critical to successful public schooling, and connects their work to the broader landscape of public education reform. More information is available at www.newschools.org.