Carolina Teacher Induction Program

The Carolina Teacher Induction Program (CarolinaTIP) supports the schools and students of South Carolina by putting teachers first. CarolinaTIP is designed to be a bridge for new teachers as they transition from university student to leading and teaching in a classroom of their own. The university-based program helps novice teachers grow their confidence, capacity, and resilience by providing responsive and holistic support, including targeted group training sessions, in-class coaching, and personalized, one-on-one mentoring and demonstrates the University of South Carolina’s dedication to the success of its graduates and determination to positively impact teacher retention in South Carolina.

Our Program

While many programs across the nation focus on student achievement data to determine teacher effectiveness, one of the most compelling aspects that sets CarolinaTIP apart is the deliberate focus on support and personalized development of individual teachers as a path not only to increased teacher retention, but ultimately improve student achievement. Teaching experience is strongly linked to student performance, thus efforts to retain teachers, particularly beginning teachers, results in a more veteran teacher workforce more capable of promoting student achievement. (Kini and Podolsky, 2016).

Designed to be a bridge from the university to the classroom, CarolinaTIP is a three-year university-based induction program. The program provides targeted group training and support sessions, individualized in-class coaching, and personalized, one-on-one mentoring to recent graduates from the College of Education. While the model is based on both the established and evolving needs of novice teachers, including their need to pass a formal evaluation process, it is not bound to specific evaluation standards or state-mandated requirements. This allows CarolinaTIP to remain intentionally responsive to the individual needs of teachers and their students while providing transferable support between schools and districts. The external nature of CarolinaTIP enables the program to approach support holistically, with the aim of growing the comprehensive capacity of new teachers by helping them create a solid professional foundation utilizing emotional support, instructional coaching and leadership development. The goal is to help novice teachers develop the tools and capacity to persevere and thrive in the profession, therefore improving teaching, learning, and student development by empowering teachers to meet the needs of South Carolina’s children.

Using Carolina in the title, rather than a name directly connecting the program to the University of South Carolina, was a strategic descision. This decision was made to reflect the long-term goal of serving all of South Carolina. Realizing the teacher shortage is a state-wide issue, the Carolina Teacher Induction Program intends to be part of the solution by developing and expanding a model that leads to improved teacher retention statewide. CarolinaTIP is currently serving 67 teachers in 38 schools across five school districts in the Midlands of SC. Currently, cohorts of first and second year teachers are in progress with a third cohort to be added in the 2019-2020 school year.

Counties Served

Currently serving Lexington and Richland Counties. Expansion plans are discussed within the narrative.

Annual Cost

Projected Cost for 2019-2020 – $665,100

Partner Organizations

  • College of Education at UofSC
  • Colonial Life
  • Center for Educational Partnerships, Research, Measurement and Evaluation Center in the College of Education
  • Richland County School District 1
  • Richland County School District 2
  • District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties
  • Lexington County School District 2
  • Lexington County School District 4.

Funding Sources


The program has the following in committed funds for the 2019-2020 academic year with ongoing fundraising taking place:

  • College of Education – $271,600
  • Center for Educational Partnerships – $80,000
  • Colonial Life – $75,000
  • Private Donations – $50,000


100% of time of University Induction Coordinator, Nicole Skeen, 100% of time of Lead Coach, Angela Adams, 35% of time of Assistant Dean for Professional Partnerships, Cindy Van Buren, 35% of time of Program Coodinator for Professional Partnerships, Sheryl Horton, 5% of time of Associate Dean, Tommy Hodges. In addition, we have an advisory board that is made up of 25% tenure track faculty, 25% clinical faculty, 25% staff and 25% school and community leaders. The advisory board meets as needed with an estimated yearly contribution of 8 hours X 25 people. District Collaborators are also a key to the success. This group meets four times a year with an estimated contribution of 12 hours X 22 district collaborators.


National and State Context: CarolinaTIP is designed to provide a solution to the teacher shortage in SC through retaining teachers. Teacher shortages are a critical concern across the United States. While recruiting new teachers into the profession is important, and high quality prepration is critical, addressing the alarming rate at which novice teachers leave the profession must be a central focus in addressing the teacher shortage. Gray and Taie (2015) report that 30% of new teachers leave their current position within the first five years of teaching. In South Carolina, the teacher shortage has reached catastrophic levels, with 5,300 teachers leaving the profession at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. This mass exodus resulted in 621 classrooms with no teacher at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, while many other students in the state were left with under- or unqualified teachers. Almost half (48%) of those leaving the profession in SC were induction teachers with five or fewer years experience.

Alarmingly, a full quarter of first year SC teachers left the classroom during or at the end of the 2017-2018 school year (CERRA, 2018). If the existing trends continue, SC will be short 6,000 teachers by 2027-2028. This trend has established a revolving door of new teachers in schools, leading to unstable school climates and negatively impacting student learning. If the exodus of teachers from the profession is not addressed, the negative impact on student learning will increase dramatically over the next ten years.

Though these figures are daunting, teacher induction programs that provide support and mentoring for teachers entering the profession are a promising avenue for improving teacher retention. In fact, strong, evidence-based induction and mentoring programs have shown significant potential in improving teacher retention and overall performance (Bastian & Marks, 2017; Ingersoll & Strong, 2011; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). This research demonstrates that new teachers need individualized support. Yet, induction efforts that focus exclusively on the needs of the teacher by tailioring support for individual teachers’ strengths and needs are in incredibly short supply. CarolinaTIP fills this void with holistic teacher-centered support by targeting the most pressing reasons teachers leave the classroom, including struggles with classroom management, stress, self efficacy, and navigating the demands of the job. Ultimately, improved classroom management, increased self efficacy and decreased stress among teachers leads to increases in student achievement (Zee, 2016).

Importantly, university teacher preparation programs can draw on existing relationships and build partnerships with local schools and districts to provide support that will help beginning teachers persist in their specific school environments (Bastian & Marks, 2017). The existing connection between universities and beginning teachers leads to an increased understanding of an individual teacher’s strengths and challenges. University-based induction programs, which are independent from schools and districts, operate without the additional stress of teacher evaluation that comes along with employer-based mentoring and induction programs, making universities ideal facilitators of teacher induction programs.

Evaluation and Outcomes

The Research, Evaluation, and Measurement (REM) Center at UofSC conducts ongoing research and evaluation to examine the effectiveness of CarolinaTIP, and to inform continuous program improvement. The REM Center team is focused on collecting data on several key predictors of teachers leaving the profession, including teacher attendance, teacher self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and job stress. These measures, combined with additional forms of formal and informal feedback from participating teachers and core CarolinaTIP team members, are used to measure the program’s progress toward meeting its stated goals. Importantly, the indicators chosen, particularly self-efficacy, have been closely related not only to teacher retention but also to positive outcomes for students, with teacher efficacy serving as a major predictor of students’ overall achievement and motivation for students at all levels (Zee, 2016).

Early data emerging from the CarolinaTIP evaluation demonstrates that the program shows great promise. The initial teacher retention rate of 100% in the program’s exploratory cohort is reinforced by additional data which show an increase in job satisfaction and teacher-efficacy with a corresponding decrease in job stress. This data is promising, as more than 40 years of research has shown that low teacher self-efficacy, resulting in increased and emotional exhaustion, are predictors of teachers leaving the profession (Zee, 2016). More specifically, the percentage of participating teachers who felt that had considerable influence over controlling disruptive behavior in the classroom increased by 52% over three time points from Fall 2017 to Fall 2018 while those teachers citing managing classroom behavior as a major source of stress decreased by 25% over the same time period, due to the additional support. This is among the most promising findings, as low self-efficacy for classroom management is perhaps the most important trigger for abandoning teaching altogether (Zee, 2016). External, non-evaluative support received from CarolinaTIP was cited as one of the strongest influences on novice teachers’ overall job satisfaction due to the one-on-one emotional and instructional support provided by the Carolina Coach.

This preliminary outcome data is evidence of the program’s initial success, with positive feedback from participants providing further evidence of impact on teacher retention. One teacher’s comment is particularly representative the feedback collected by REM during teacher focus groups. The teacher stated, “CarolinaTIP has changed my heart about teaching. I was at my breaking point and was almost ready to give up, but now I know I have support from someone who isn’t looking at me in an administrative way. It has made me more confident in my teaching. It honestly made me a better teacher with more support than I ever expected to have.”

Evaluation Report and Evaluation Summary can be provided.


The program is financially sustainable at its current size. However, our expansion plans cannot be implemented until more funding is secured.  In 2019-2020, with current funding we can add our third cohort of new teachers from the 38 participating schools. Based on three year hiring trends, we anticipate adding an additional 60 teachers to the program.  This will result in CarolinaTIP working with approximately 128 teachers next year. Our next expansion goal is to serve all of UofSC graduates working the five partner districts.

Looking ahead, we also are working to secure funding to start both a Lowcountry pilot and an Upstate pilot. We are in conversation right now with Berkeley County schools and several differing potential funding groups. If funding comes through next year to start the Lowcountry pilot, we will be adding up to 10 additional teachers to CarolinaTIP.

We have a strong fundraising and development plan. A large part of our effort is to work with the College of Education Development team and our partners in University Central Development.  We approach corporate partners, foundations and private donors to help fund this important initiative. The Development Team has implemented a new fundraising plan called Corporate Partners in Philanthropy. Our first corporate partner, Colonial Life, has increased their gift each year from $25,000 to $50,000 to $75,000. In addition to the fundraising efforts described above, we are always looking for the right grant to support this work.

We are maximizing our resources by hiring part-time Carolina Coaches to serve new teachers. While we have two full-time staff in place to develop and lead the program, we are making excellent use of retired teachers who still have a lot to give to the profession. This path allows new teachers to benefit from outstanding coaches without placing a drain on the system overall. Currently we have four part-time coaches working with CarolinaTIP with plans to hire at least four more next year.

Bringing teachers together from across multiple districts with a program that is not based on district mandates (and thus can be transferred easily to any school/district) is a strategic way of maximizing resources. Also, CarolinaTIP is influencing teacher retention across the Midlands (5 districts, 38 schools, 68 teachers) for a cost of $4,000 per teacher per year. The per-teacher cost will go down as the program expands and is taken to scale. Current data indicates that every time a new teacher leaves the profession it costs the state $18,000.

Grades Served

  • Early Childhood (Pre-K – 2)
  • Elementary (3-5)
  • High School (9-12)
  • Professional Development

Related Subjects

  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Technology
  • World Languages

Contact Information 

Cindy Van Buren,