Coaching program proven to support new teachers, increase retention

For 12 years, the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) has supported beginning teachers in their first years in the field. With the current teacher shortage, this support has proven more important than ever.

“The North Carolina New Teacher Support Program, in collaboration with educator preparation programs and institutions of higher education, has exercised a proven model of induction support contributing to increased student achievement and improved teacher retention,” said Dr. Patrick Conetta, NC NTSP director of teacher induction and development. “As a state, if we are committed to improving outcomes for all students, we must continue to invest in the development of a skilled and diverse teacher workforce by broadening access to NC NTSP as a system of support with proven results.”

The North Carolina New Teacher Support Program served more than 1,000 teachers during the 2020-21 academic year, with 89% planning to return to teaching.

The North Carolina New Teacher Support Program served more than 1,000 teachers during the 2020-21 academic year, with 89% planning to return to teaching. (ECU file photo)

The main program office is located on East Carolina University’s campus with additional partnerships with Appalachian State University, Fayetteville State University, NC State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Western Carolina University.

Data from evaluations conducted by the Friday Institute have shown that the NC NTSP improves teacher retention rates at the school, local educational agency (LEA) and state levels.

In the 2020-21 academic year, 1,046 teachers were served; on average, 89% planned to return to teaching and 51% said that NC NTSP was one of the factors in their decision to stay. In the survey, teachers said that NC NTSP coaches helped improve their instruction, confidence, planning, knowledge, skills and virtual teaching ability.

“Our coaches are phenomenal,” said an ECU region administrator in the NC NTSP’s annual evaluation survey. “You cannot put a price tag on the value they bring through their relationships with the teachers they serve. Their support has kept more than one teacher in the classroom and helped eager teachers become the professionals we know they are destined to be.”

The goal of the program is to provide individualized, targeted coaching to beginning teachers to increase teacher retention and improve classroom outcomes. To fulfill this, 11 higher education institutions in the University of North Carolina system administer the program, and coaches work closely with schools and districts to develop locally relevant, personalized coaching strategies and professional development opportunities.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, coaches had to rethink many of their strategies. One valuable change to the program was the introduction of a hybrid coaching model. Coaches began meeting with their teachers face to face during the 2021-22 academic year but kept a virtual option available for flexibility with scheduling conflicts.

“Because of the staff shortages and not having the subs to cover classrooms and things, our planning most of the time was consumed with covering the classrooms,” said one teacher in the UNC-Chapel Hill region in the annual evaluation survey. “So (our coach) giving us the virtual option, it made things so much easier that we felt we could connect and still get those resources that we need.”

A future goal of the NC NTSP is the ability to help more teachers across the state. Currently, they have had to cap the number of districts they can serve with the number of coaches they are able to employ.

“Basically, now we have a little under 1,400 teachers, and that’s the max we can help with our current funding,” said Dr. Elizabeth Hodge, NC NTSP research, innovations and operations director and ECU College of Education assistant dean. “We know there’s a need — clearly even more so with the teacher shortage.”

For more information about the NC NTSP, contact Hodge at