Residency V: W-BEST (The W’s Beginning Educator Support and Training), is a collaboration between Mississippi University for Women’s School of Education and school districts across the state of Mississippi. This comprehensive, university-based induction program provides support that is strategically aligned to the stages of development in new teachers and offers multiple services designed to increase teacher effectiveness, enhance professional growth, and reduce attrition among beginning teachers. W-BEST provides each first-year teacher: (1) an intensive induction institute, (2) individualized cognitive coaching, (3) mentor/mentee program (if applicable); and (4) aligned professional development during their first year of teaching. Ultimately, Residency V helps recent graduates make the transition from college student to successful classroom teacher.
Near the end of internship, all students will participate in an induction seminar where they will be introduced to the comprehensive, university-based Residency V: W-BEST. The soon-to-be new teachers will be provided with the details of the induction program so that they can make an informed decision as to whether or not they choose to participate during their first year of teaching. Specific topics to be covered: (1) phases of first year teachers, (2) cognitive coaching, (3) mentor/mentee program; and (4) professional development.
Each participating first year Residency V teacher will be supported by a trained cognitive coach. Cognitive Coaching uses a three-phase cycle similar to teacher evaluation through clinical supervision: pre-conference, observation, and post-conference. The primary difference between Cognitive Coaching and evaluation is that Cognitive Coaching uses these cycles for the sole purpose of helping the teacher improve instructional effectiveness by becoming more reflective about teaching. While the pre-conference requires a teacher to articulate the lesson goals and the post-conference calls for assessment, the teacher, not the coach, evaluates the lesson's success. The ultimate goal of Cognitive Coaching is teacher autonomy: the ability to self-monitor, self-analyze, and self-evaluate. In early cycles of Cognitive Coaching, the coach must draw these capacities from the teacher, but as the cycles continue, a teacher begins to call upon them internally and direct them toward an area of personal interest.
Most schools have a mentoring program for beginning teachers. However, the MUW School of Education is prepared to support the facilitation of a Mentor/Mentee Program if needed. The program provides a handbook supporting post-graduates in the classroom, ease the transition from teacher preparation practice, increase retention of teachers, and increase skills of new teachers in order to improve student achievement in accordance with state learning standards.
Excellence in teaching is a journey, not a destination. Ongoing professional growth is essential to cultivate this excellence and to maximize student achievement. Masterful teachers continuously add to their repertoire through deliberate efforts to improve their instruction, classroom management, content and curriculum knowledge, assessment, technology integration, and leadership skills. Residency V: W-BEST participants will have the opportunity to participate in quality professional development that targets the new teacher needs.