New Teacher Mentoring Program
"Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be."
Eric Parsloe, The Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring
Why have a mentoring program?
How to retain good teachers is a debate that has yet to find consensus after almost a century of discussion. Each year thousands of new teachers enter the profession, only to leave few years later. Though some teachers stay until retirement, others leave earlier for many reason s including the teaching environment and personal reasons.
The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future's findings are a clearer indication that America's teachers dropout problem is spiraling out of control. Teacher attrition has grown by 50 percent over the past fifteen years. The national teacher turnover rate has risen to 16.8 percent. In urban school it is over 20 percent, and, in some schools and districts, the teacher dropout rate is actually higher than the student dropout rate.
Because of these statistics, the Department of Public Instruction created what is known as PI-34 which requires school districts in Wisconsin to have mentoring programs in place for initial educators with the following requirements:
DPI - PI 34
School District Requirements
(Task Force: 1994..Adopted - 2000...Rice Lake - 2004)
- The initial educator shall be provided with a qualified mentor by the employing school district. The mentoring period may be for less than five years.
- Must provide collaboratively developed ongoing orientation for Initial Educator.
- Must provide support seminars reflecting the Standards and district goals.
- Must provide qualified mentor for the initial educator. "Qualified" means holding an appropriate license.
Mentoring Program Goals
- To increase retention of promising beginning teachers
- To enhance student achievement
By having collaborative experiences in a trusting relationship, new teachers will begin to use advance teaching techniques earlier in their careers, and students will benefit from having stronger, more effective, teachers.
- What is it we expect student to learn?
- How will be know when they have learned it?
- How will we respond when they don't learn it?
- To promote the personal and professional well-being of beginning teachers
For many teaches, the first year may mean a move away from familiar settings and people to a situation where everything is new. Mentees may need help fitting into their school and community.
- To promote teachers to reflect on best teacher practice
- To promote school as a professional learning community
- Our foremost goal is to begin building long term professional growth.
Mentor Program Coordinators: The district's mentor program is overseen by Belinda Cernick, fifth grade teacher, and Linda Dufner, retired second grade teacher. They facilitate the new teacher orientation in August, facilitate support seminars, and are available to provide support for both the mentors and the mentees.
Mentor Program Liaisons: The Director of Instruction & Learning, Barb Sparish, supports the mentor program coordinators by identifying and securing helpful resources. The acting principals in the district work with the mentor program coordinators to strive to select the best possible mentor match for each new teacher.
Mentor Teacher: A veteran educator is selected by the team to work on a regular basis with one or more teachers that are new to the district. The mentors are trained in late August to equip them with the skills needed to successfully collaborate with their new mentee. The major role of the mentor is to support and guide the new teacher throughout the year.
Mentee (new teacher): New teachers in our mentoring program are initial educators as well as teachers with two or more years of experience. Our new teachers meet in late August with the program coordinators to get acquainted with their new school district and review classroom management strategies. Each mentee is assigned a trained mentor along with the program coordinators to support the mentee in their new role.