A five-year agreement signed between the Burbank Unified School District and Van Nuys Birmingham Community Charter High School will allow the district to offer its new teacher induction program for a fee that may help offset some of the curriculum’s costs.
Select instructors from Birmingham High School, a Los Angeles Unified School District institution, will pay $3,000 per teacher to take part in the two-year program, which is offered to Burbank Unified faculty for free.
While there are some differences in teaching credential requirements, generally, new instructors first earn a five-year preliminary teaching credential to be able to teach in a California public school.
From there, the induction program allows an instructor to take the next step and earn what’s called a professional clear credential.
At Burbank, the induction program requires enrollment for four consecutive semesters.
Credential candidates are given an individualized learning plan that will help them prepare for and demonstrate competency required by California standards.
Candidates will observe experienced teachers and complete two capstone activities annually, along with an essay after two semesters and an exit interview at the program’s end.
“You have a certain [number] of years to clear and get a permanent credential,” said Sharon Cuseo, the district’s assistant superintendent of instruction services. “… It’s really a nice perk and not all school districts have it for various reasons.”
One such school is Birmingham, which Cuseo said contacted the district this past spring to inquire about the possibility of enrolling some teachers into the local induction program.
“We haven’t really been looking to have this type of relationship with anyone. We weren’t even thinking about opening the door to anyone from outside the district,” Cuseo said. “Birmingham contacted us, and it felt like we could accommodate their needs and even help offset our costs.”
Cuseo estimated the price of the induction program is around $200,000 per year.
At least for the first year, Cuseo said she’s only anticipating “a handful” of Birmingham teachers, so she hastened to say this is not expected to be a big money-maker.
“I would never call it a cash cow, but we’d like to be able to help bring in some money to help lower our costs,” she added.
Former Luther Burbank Middle School teacher Rebecca Mieliwocki, the 2012 National Teacher of the Year, and one-time Thomas Jefferson Elementary curriculum specialist Jill Johnson are on special assignment in charge of the induction program.
Johnson is the coordinator for elementary induction, and Mieliwocki handles the secondary coursework.
Cuseo said the district entered into a five-year contract rather than a two-year deal — the length of an induction course — for practical purposes.
“We just wanted to put that in place because as they hire new teachers, they might bring another teacher into the program,” she said. “So the program itself is only two years, but we didn’t want to keep coming back if we were happy and if they were happy with the program and the relationship.”