Effective Teaching...

by Harry and Rosemary Wong

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This article was printed from Teachers.Net Gazette,
located at https://teachers.net.

Retention Rate Is 100 Percent

Islip Public Schools, Long Island, New York, possesses a significant record.


After three years in the school system
100 percent of its new teachers
are still teaching
and teaching well.

The key to this remarkable success:  “Linda Lippman School.”

Dr. Linda Lippman, Assistant Superintendent, has been the director of the Islip Public School’s induction program since its inception 15 years ago.  The most recent data shows that the program is working—and quite well—for training and retaining the new hires for the district.

Retention Rate of New Teachers

School Year

Retention Rate

2009 – 2010


2010 – 2011


2011 – 2012


2012 – 2013


2013 – 2014


Linda says, “I hire them, wire them, and if necessary, fire them.”  The good news is that she doesn’t have to fire them, because after three years of the Islip induction program, 100 percent receive tenure and go on to stay to teach in a happy-to-teach-in school district.

Wired for Success

The reason she does not have to fire them is because she wires them!  As the district’s human resource director and now its assistant superintendent, Linda has directed the district’s induction program.  Thus, since 2000, every teacher and administrator has gone through what is known as “Linda Lippman School.” 

The induction program contributes to a culture where there is trust.  Although she is the assistant superintendent, the same risk-free environment that is encouraged in each classroom begins with risk-free workshops.  Each workshop concludes with a “Dear Linda” letter where reflection, additional questions, concerns, and celebrations are shared. 

As Linda walks in different buildings each day, she has a connection with each teacher.  Because of Linda’s involvement in the induction program, everyone knows who she is, and she knows each teacher’s journey.  They see the business part of her position, but they also see her as a resource, a coach, and as approachable.

Linda says, “What I do is unique, but it should not be, because every school district can do the same.  I feel honored to be the architect of the induction program, to have my research on the need for new teachers to be supported realized and to continue to work with such talent.” 

Compare what Islip does with many schools where training is nonexistent.  Not only do those schools have no induction or training program, but many teachers never even meet their principal when hired.  They show up to the school office, and the school secretary gives them their keys and their schedules.  No one welcomes them or walks them to their room.  As one new teacher said, “I was given a USB, my schedule, and told to teach.”  This is as shortsighted as a student walking into the classroom, given a textbook, and told to learn.

New teachers come into the profession with high expectations for their students and their own lives.  There is no other profession where someone can make a difference in someone’s life.  Yet, the research consistently shows that 16 percent of new teachers drop out of teaching after one year and 50 percent leave within five years of teaching.

The new teachers who leave the profession did not fail.  The school district or the school failed them.  Can you imagine a baseball team not having Spring Training, a Broadway show not having rehearsals, or the pilot of a new Boeing 777 not having a test flight?

In every aspect of the real world, people are trained.  Walmart, Home Depot, and Southwest Airlines train their employees.  Even local small businesses—real estate offices, dentists, and grocery stores—train their new workers.  Every business does this, from the day an employee joins a company or team, until that person leaves.

Teachers want training; they want to fit in; and they want their students to achieve.  For the most part, education has failed to recognize what other industries have recognized almost from the start:  formalized, sustained training matters.

Vision of the Superintendent

The Islip new teacher induction program began in 1998 as a vision of the superintendent to invite teachers new to the district to meet before school, to get to know the culture of the school, and to acquire the skills necessary for being successful.  It has grown into a three-year program with meaningful and purposeful professional development to ensure that the newest educators are prepared and supported as they begin a career that will impact the future.

Components of the Induction Program

Islip’s new teacher induction program begins with Orientation.  Three days of workshops, before school begins, establish a learning environment and a sense of family.  Workshops combine basic procedural information, introductions, a bus tour through the community, team building activities, food, first day advice, ice breakers, organizational strategies, meetings with central office administrators, the payroll account clerk, building principals, and the union president, and more food! 

A sense of belonging is cultivated among teachers that they see replicated in the classroom.  It prepares teachers for the first day and every day of school.  The induction process builds relationships and trust.

Year One:  Classroom Management

Year One teachers are presented with our book, The First Days of School and begin the school year having completed our online course, Classroom Management with Harry and Rosemary Wong.  This provides the skills necessary to ensure that they are successful from the very first minute of the very first day.  Monthly meetings are curriculum based and are sustained for three years . . . right up until tenure.

Meetings are framed around classroom management and instructional routines.  The group proceeds through their three-year tenure track program as a cohort, building relationships and support groups.  Collegial circles are held informally between formal monthly meetings.

Additionally, workshops are given on parent-teacher conferencing strategies, open school night, essential elements of instruction, and more. 

The result is the retention of highly qualified and invested teachers.

Year Two:  Classroom Instruction

Year Two teachers have a two-day orientation and are introduced to Classroom Instruction that Works by Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollack.  Investing in Marzano training and using research-based strategies to deliver instruction contributes to a culture of consistency. 

With a clearly defined district mission, the monthly meetings are framed around the goal of engaging all students in learning by involving questioning as an effective instructional strategy.  

Team building activities are included to promote the sense of cohesion and belonging . . . and yes, there is food!  The cohort continues to grow together toward tenure!

Year Three:  Theory into Action

Year Three teachers have a two-day orientation introducing teachers to the tenets of differentiated instruction.  They meet monthly and focus on turning theory into practice.  Teachers are challenged to apply brain-based research findings, to scaffold learning, to increase challenges, and to respond to diverse learning styles through instruction and formative and summative assessments.  Additional workshops include understanding multiple learning styles, stress and time management, and self-efficacy for educators.  And yes, there is food!  

At the conclusion of Year Three, there is tenure recommendation.

Teachers eligible for tenure are required to present a portfolio illustrating their three-year journey.  The portfolio is designed to showcase their knowledge and skills and to chronicle their professional growth.  The portfolio must include evidence of professional growth, goals, strategies, and evidence of student learning.  After a successful portfolio defense, their tenure appointment is recommended to the Board of Education.

A tenure celebration is planned.  Teachers are asked to complete an I Believe statement, and with their pictures, a multi-media presentation is created to be shared with the Islip community on opening day of the new school year.

The tenure celebration is now part of the culture and the expectation as the teaching staff of 300, plus all the support personnel, attend opening day.  On this first day of school, there are the expected opening day remarks, but the part of the program that excites everyone is the tenure celebration.

Linda develops the PowerPoint presentation that showcases each newly-tenured teacher.  After her introductory remarks (usually a parable of “The Starfish Story”) each teacher’s baby picture is projected, then their I Believe statements, followed by their “teacher” picture.

As each newly-tenured teacher comes to the podium to receive the now famous diploma, a rolled up poster of our  “That Noble Title Teacher,” they are greeted with a cacophony of applause that begins the celebration of that teacher’s tenured career and a celebration of a new school year that renews for all why teaching is a calling.  After the meeting, the newly-tenured teacher is congratulated and that completes a cycle that celebrates and renews the dedication of every educator.  The experience is heartfelt and powerful!

Visible Results

Natalie Hamilton is in her second year of the induction program.  She teaches middle school family and consumer science.

Because of the induction program, she has learned how to organize her classroom for maximum student success.

These are the classroom management procedures that organize her classroom: 

  • She greets students at the door.
  • Upon entering the room, students check the job assignment board for daily rotating lab responsibilities.
  • Students sit with their cooking lab group and together, review the Do Now and the objective.
  • A demonstration sheet and recipe are on their desks for review.
  • She circulates the room to check homework assignments.
  • She goes over review questions, safety precautions, and clarifies student questions in regards to the day’s lab.
  • Students begin lab procedures by putting on aprons, tying hair back, washing hands, and gathering ingredients and equipment.
  • Students who did not complete the You Tube homework assignment, watch the video during class time and answer questions while the lab group begins working.  Once they have viewed the video assignment, they rejoin their respective lab groups.
  • Students share various lab duties in order to complete the lab.
  • Once the lab is complete, students fill out a lab evaluation sheet documenting taste, cooperation, and teamwork.

Click here to see her classroom website so parents and students can readily access the tools they need for success in the classroom.

Click here to see her YouTube channel so learning can continue whether or not the teacher or the student is in classroom. 

Student performance has soared in family and consumer science; her students and their families are engaged, and it’s all because her classroom and instructional management are consistent.

Results of the Induction Program

The Islip School District new teacher induction program works.  This is the focus of the program:

The Islip induction program has been in existence for some 15 years and is still growing and working.  It has the support of the Board of Education, the vision of the superintendent, and the positive responses of the participants.

The induction program supports these core beliefs:

Creating effective teachers through the induction program has provided these results:

These results are with a student population that has shown an increase in the district’s free and reduced lunch program from 11% in 2005 to 25% in 2014.

Induction is the bridge to Islip’s success.  The results in student achievement are compelling as noted with the continued growth in the rate of students who graduate with a Regents diploma and students enrolled in AP courses.  (Students earning appropriate credits in a number of specific subjects and passing a Regents examination in some of those subject areas are awarded a Regents diploma.  The diplomas are earned at the standard level, at the advanced level, and the advanced level with honors.)

Before Induction
1998 – 1999

Regents Diploma Rate

AP Course Enrollment


80 students

After Induction
2014 – 2015

Advanced Regents w/Honors

AP Course Enrollment


305 Students

Advanced Regents


Regents Diploma Rate


Graduation rates for students in Islip are above the New York state and regional rates.

Graduation Rates 2014

New York State


Long Island


Islip Public Schools


Happy, Effective Teachers Stay

Linda Lippman (center, top right) is very present in the professional lives of Islip’s new teachers.  She knows the value of collaboration and has seen the results with lack of teacher turnover and the growth of student achievement. 

New teacher meetings help to get new teachers incorporated into the culture of the district quickly so they feel supported and respected.

Heidi Kissinger (far left), a first-year, family and consumer science teacher, says, “New teacher meetings provide support as a resource for developing classroom management skills.  It’s about being part of a close group of people and to be able to relate to other new teachers.” 

Nicole McHale (center, right, third from top), a third-year, special education teacher, says, “New teacher meetings provide a common place to meet and collaborate with colleagues throughout the district for all of us who are in our first years of teaching.  It is a safe and supportive environment to learn and discuss teaching pedagogies as well as share methodologies.  We get to participate and share ideas, learn from each other and from Dr. Lippman.”

Ali Florio (far right), a second-year, mathematics teacher, says, “New Teacher meetings provide reassurance and feedback.  New Teacher meetings give you a time and place to have discussions with people who truly know and feel what you’re experiencing.  New Teacher meetings provide time for reflection.”

Study after study has shown that most new teachers would forego more money in favor of a good principal, the chance to work collaboratively with other highly motivated teachers, and an orderly, focused school atmosphere.  An induction program provides these components.

The major reason for having an induction program is to provide new teachers with the support necessary to become effective teachers. 

Why does the Islip induction program work?  It is because it spends its professional time and money developing human capital, and they do it consistently—year after year after year after year.

The Islip induction program has shown that effective and successful teachers do not leave.  They not only stay, they are the most significant factor in determining student learning and achievement.

What keeps good teachers are structured, sustained, intensive professional development programs that allow new teachers to observe others, to be observed by others, and to be part of learning teams or study groups where the focus is on student achievement.  The Islip Induction Program Works!

To see another example of a district that builds human capital, a Nobel Prize concept, click here to see the Providence, Rhode Island, induction program.

In the Beginning

Prior to starting the induction program, Linda attended a workshop sponsored by the Flowing Wells Unified School District in Arizona.  Flowing Wells was sharing with others what they were doing to create effective teachers.  Click here to see its program.

After that meeting, the pieces for the Islip district induction program fell into place.  Linda has created a culture of consistency for the district’s induction program, much the same way an effective teacher creates a culture of consistency in the classroom.

Linda could not have attended a better workshop for learning the essential components of an induction program.  Flowing Wells has, arguably, the finest induction program in the country and has been in existence for over 30 years. 

The expectation is for new teachers to walk into a classroom and be as competent as the most seasoned veteran on the staff.  Induction is the quick start program that bridges the gap of competence with confidence—confidence that the new teacher has the skill and knowledge necessary to begin a career competently and with the support to grow those skills into those of a very effective teacher.



Harry & Rosemary Wong products: http://EffectiveTeaching.com

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