So how to ensure NTI programs are working across the district? Good data practices that keep administrators informed, coaches aligned, and educators clear on their next steps. But of course, this is easier said than done — a fact that Keller Independent School District knows well. We spoke with Valerie Minor, Coordinator of Professional Development and Mentoring, about Keller’s NTI and mentorship program, the ins and outs of creating valuable data structures, and much more.
Keller ISD by the numbers
- 35,000 students
- 42 campuses
- 4000 employees
- 100-125 first-year teachers per year
Located in the Dallas Fort Worth suburbs, Keller ISD is a thriving district made up of four high schools, seven middle schools, and 28 elementary/intermediate campuses. The district uses feeder patterns to route students through the K-12 journey, culminating in one of the four high schools. This means that the goals for new teachers may vary depending on which school they are hired into: “Each feeder pattern has a different focus that they work on,” says Minor. “So being part of the district support system, our curriculum and instruction department is really [focused on] specialized support for each of those feeder patterns based on the initiatives that they are tackling with each one.”
Keller’s NTI program is a two-year support system for first- and second-year teachers, focusing on classroom management fundamentals and student engagement. It kicks off with a “new hire week” in August, with classroom simulations starting the first day. Mentor teachers guide new educators through setting up the classroom and first week of instructional planning. They’re also pulled into small cohorts throughout the year — replaced by e-PLCs during COVID — as well as personal meetings with Minor once per semester, and monthly non-evaluative observations.