Above, Santa Paula Union High School District special education teacher Nikole Ruiz, second from left, and mathematics teacher Michelle Hillberry, right, receive certificates at the school board’s May meeting. Presenting the certificates are Santa Paula High School Principal Elizabeth Garcia, left, and board President Terry Nelson.

Program aims to keep teachers teaching

May 30, 2012
Santa Paula High School

With nearly half of all new teachers leaving their jobs within the first five years and 37 percent of the education work force over 50 years old and planning to retire, school districts are working hard to make sure new teachers get as much support as possible.

The Ventura County Office of Education’s two-year teacher-retention program has a big name -- Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Induction Consortium -- and a big goal -- to keep teachers teaching.

Nikole Ruiz and Michelle Hillberry are two Santa Paula Union High School District teachers who recently completed the program and were honored at the May school board meeting for their achievement. Ruiz teaches special education and Hillberry teaches mathematics.

The teachers attended classes once a month, and each semester completed work with an experienced teacher and conducted research on various topics. 

Hillberry’s projects included “Equitable Learning: Who are my students?”; “Differentiation: How will I differentiate instruction?”; “Special Populations: How will I use data to ensure student success?”; and “Teaching English Learners: How will I assess student learning over time?”

The teachers’ classes included keynote speakers and numerous workshops.

The program has “dramatically increased teacher retention,” said Santa Paula High School Principal Elizabeth Garcia.

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