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OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 23, 2022) – Amid a catastrophic teacher shortage, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is committed to ensuring early-career teachers have opportunities to create sustainable careers in Oklahoma classrooms. The First Class Teacher Induction Program is accepting applications for teachers and instructional coaches through Sept. 16.
“I remember my first year teaching some 34 years ago. Thankfully, I had a master teacher and role model who I still draw from today. All new teachers deserve a mentor to walk with them through those first critical years,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “The First Class program provides the sustained support and training early-career teachers need to effectively impact their students’ learning needs but also to help keep teachers in the profession for many years to come.”  
The First Class program provides comprehensive support to guide early-career teachers in classroom management and instructional practices that engage students and improve their academic performance. The program can accommodate up to 300 first-year teachers, 200 second- or third-year teachers and 60 virtual instructional coaches who have taught for at least three years.
The program offers two pathways. One pairs first-year teachers with a site-based mentor teacher assigned by the school district, and in the other, second- and third-year teachers work with a virtual instructional coach. Kickoff activities begin in late September 2022, with mentoring and coaching continuing through the end of the school year. First-year teachers will collaborate with their mentor teachers on an ongoing basis and in virtual professional learning sessions after the conclusion of the school day. Instructional coaches will work to help small groups of up to three second- and third-year teachers deepen their instructional practices via a virtual coaching platform.
First-, second- and third-year teachers and site mentors assigned by the school district earn $500 stipends for each completed semester of First Class, while instructional coaches receive stipends of $1,125 per teacher coached and can work with up to three second- and third-year teachers during the 2022-23 school year.
Applications and schedules for participants can be found in the First Class application packet. Applications must be completed by Sept. 16. For additional information, visit the First Class initiative webpage.
The OSDE is investing $2.4 million in pandemic relief funding in the First Class Teacher Induction Program through summer 2024. The First Class program is a component of Ready Together Oklahoma: An Action Plan for Supporting Students Through the Pandemic and Beyond. More information is available in this FAQ document.