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Turlock Unified creating program for new teachers
TUSD new teacher pic
As a new third grade teacher at Medeiros Elementary School, Hillary Zaklan is in favor of Turlock Unified School Districts plan to create its own induction program since it will be specifically tailored for the districts educators. Zaklan is currently participating in the Stanislaus County Office of Education Induction Consortium. - photo by ALYSSON AREDAS / The Journal

Ever since Hillary Zaklan was a child, she has been fascinated with teaching.

“At a young age I was forcing my brother into being my student and participating in full blown lessons and tests at the end,” said Zaklan. “I have always found teaching to be fun, and as I got older it became less of a fascination and more of a love for helping others.

“As I started college I knew I was passionate about teaching, so I set a goal to do what I love,” continued Zaklan.

It did not take very long for Zaklan to reach this goal. Less than a year after she earned her teaching credential from California State University, Stanislaus, she was offered a position at Medeiros Elementary School as a third grade teacher.

Zaklan said that she decided to apply for a teaching position in Turlock Unified School District because she was involved with district schools since she was a freshman in college. During this time, she learned a significant amount on what it takes to be a teacher at TUSD.

“I knew an opportunity to work in this district would be such a great experience,” said Zaklan. “I have come to really love the district and my ultimate goal was to get a job in the Turlock School District. Once I was hired, I was beyond ecstatic.”

As a new teacher, Zaklan is participating in the Stanislaus County Office of Education Induction Consortium, which is a program that eases novice teachers into the profession by offering them support and advanced training.

“So far in the program, I have attended an introduction day, which gave a layout of what we will be doing throughout the year. I have already learned a lot about my school and district,” said Zaklan. “It is all very new to me, but it is a great way to get the support and help that you will need to be the best teacher you can be.”

Upon completion of the induction program, Zaklan and other participating teachers with a Preliminary Multiple or Single Subject credential, a Preliminary Education Specialist, or a Preliminary Level I Education Specialist credential will be eligible to apply for a Professional Clear Credential.

Although Zaklan said that she is very appreciative of the support she has received from the SCOE induction program thus far, she is completely in favor of TUSD’s effort to develop its own induction program.

“I think this is an awesome idea. A district induction program would be helpful to new teachers because it would be created for teachers of the Turlock Unified School District,” said Zaklan. “This program would have specific goals in mind for its own district, making it easier for its members to accomplish the goals the district specifically wants for you. Also, it would take place in Turlock, eliminating the drive.”

In order to better meet district initiatives, TUSD is currently in the midst of establishing its own induction program. The endeavor was initiated by former Lead Support Provider Josie Ban Alaniz and a number of instructional coaches.

“Although any kind of induction program is definitely going to give our new teachers a look into Common Core, PBIS [Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports], effective teaching strategies and a little bit of PLC [Professional Learning Community], really and truly no one can do that the way we can and that is our goal for this,” said Coordinator of Professional Development and Induction Program Denise Duewell.

In an update given earlier this month, Duewell said that TUSD has conducted research on a variety of induction programs across the state, specifically those in the region, and made contacts with various institutes of higher education.

The district has formed an advisory council under state requirement that includes stakeholders from a variety of areas. Included in this council are support providers, teachers, administrators, principals and representatives from Stanislaus State. 

“Our job as council members is to look at the program as we create it and make sure we’re designing something that will take our teachers through the first two years of their teaching experience,” said Duewell. “Hopefully, it gives them a strong foundation in our district initiatives so they can move forward and be the strongest teachers we can possibly have.”

Once the district finalizes everything that is necessary for the new induction program, it will have to wait for the State to ends its moratorium on new programs and then it will send its program request to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing for approval.

Duewell said that although it is “wishful thinking,” she hopes to see the program start in fall of next year.