Wednesday, April 6, 2016

How do school districts mentor new teachers?

New survey results show that in most districts in a five-state region of the central U.S. mentoring for new teachers is provided by teachers who teach a full-time class load on top of their mentoring duties. Mentoring usually ends or declines after the first year and funding is identified as a major barrier to fully implementing mentoring programs across districts, according to a new report released by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

The survey was developed by the Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance in partnership with the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central and was completed by nearly 1,000 school districts in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This project arose because alliance members wanted to know the policies, practices, costs, and implementation challenges associated with operating mentoring programs for new teachers in their region.

Key findings include:

•    Mentoring is provided primarily by full-time teachers with no release time;
•    Roughly half of districts require mentors to observe their mentees teaching;
•    In most districts, mentoring ends or decreases after the first year;
•    About one-third of districts require mentor training before starting mentoring;
•    About half of districts provide stipends to mentors; and.
•    Across all five states, lack of funding was the only factor consistently identified as a barrier to implementing adequate mentoring programs.

The report offers education leaders a series of potential next steps in light of the survey findings and existing research.

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