Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School Mentoring Program Handbook
What is a Mentoring Program?
A Mentoring Program is defined as a series of stages through which most mentoring pairs work that include a flexible sequence of strategies that mentors match to the developing needs of the mentee. Mentoring evolves into an informal process as the mentee becomes self-sufficient and the pair continues its friendship and mutual support after the formal mentoring is finished. The process may take from 1 - 2 years, depending on the situation.
Why Do We Need a Mentoring Program?
Effective October 1, 2001 individual educators and school districts in Massachusetts are subject to new licensing (certification) requirements. Newly hired teachers will come to districts via additional, alternative routes to licensure and at various stages of readiness. School districts will be required to provide induction programs and a trained mentor for all beginning teachers and administrators and all other incoming teachers. While district induction programs have been required by statute since 1993, the many other requirements of Education Reform have tended to absorb the resources and energies at the district level.
LAWS & REGULATIONS
MGL Chapter 71 Section 38G
Each public school district seeking to hire a provisional educator must submit a provisional educator program plan to the department of education. Each public school district seeking to hire a provisional educator with advanced standing must submit a plan to the department of education which details how the district will supervise and support such provisional educators with advanced standing.
603 CMR 7.00 Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation
Program Approval - Effective 10/1/01
7.12: Standards for Induction Programs for Teachers
- Application. All school districts are required to provide an induction program for teachers in their first year of practice. (Emphasis added) Induction programs provide the structure that maximizes beginning teacher learning in the context of the classroom experience. New teachers learn from veteran teachers; schools increase the possibility of retaining strong, well-trained educators; and, most important, student achievement can be elevated. Guidelines based on the following Standards will be provided by the Department.
- Standards. All induction programs shall meet the following requirements:
- An orientation program for beginning teachers and all other incoming teachers.
- Assignment of all beginning teachers to a trained mentor within the first two weeks of teaching.
- Assignment of a support team that shall consist of, but not be limited to, the mentor and an administrator qualified to evaluate teachers.
- Release time for the mentor and beginning teacher to engage in regular classroom observations and other mentoring activities.
- Assistance to the beginning teacher in developing materials that will be used to assess performance for the Professional license.
As a way of establishing a common mentoring language the following terms will be used throughout the handbook.
|Induction||The process of entering a new profession. In teaching, this often includes orientation, mentoring, coaching, support activities, professional development, and observation of models of effective teaching.|
|Mentoring||The mentor's activities that build a trusting relationship, accomplish valued tasks, and facilitate the process of the mentee's professional growth so that the mentee may quickly become a successful educator.|
|Orientation||The process of learning about a work setting, the key people and places, the traditions and the organizational culture, the district's expectations of its professional staff, the curriculum and other programs of the district.|
|Mentee||Usually a brand new teacher with no previous paid experience, who has had little opportunity for full responsibility for his/her own classroom. A Mentee may also be an experienced teacher who is new to the district. A beginning teacher may be a recent graduate of a higher education teacher preparation program. Sometimes the beginner has raised a family or worked in another job prior to becoming a teacher and has attended a brief training program or may have a background in the content with no teacher preparation.
Also called a protégé or novice.
|Mentor||An experienced, caring person whose wisdom and skills with people and the job assignment are made available to a mentee so that s/he can quickly learn and succeed in her/his new responsibility.|
Mentoring Program Goals:
- To integrate new teachers into the culture and climate of the school community.
- To develop professional relationships characterized by trust and collegiality.
- To reduce the concerns and attempt to overcome the challenges common to new teachers.
- To enhance new teachers' personal and professional development, enabling them to attain higher instructional competence and to elevate student achievement
- To provide opportunities for new and experienced teachers to analyze and reflect upon their teaching.
- To retain highly qualified new and experienced teachers.
A Mentoring Orientation will take place prior to the beginning of the school year. New teachers will be provided the opportunity to meet with their assigned mentors, receive a teacher handbook, student handbook, and other curriculum materials.
The purpose of orientation is for the beginning teacher - and the veteran teacher new to the district - to learn about "how we do things around here." The orientation program should focus on five key components: the community; school district policies and procedures; the teacher's association, the curriculum; and the school.
The Community: New teachers should learn something about the socioeconomic conditions of the families served by the public schools; the local norms, customs, and values; the resources that exist within the community; and the special needs within the community. Teachers who are new to the community should be provided with a map.
School District: New teachers should be provided with a guided tour by mentors and/or administrators through such district policies and procedures as: attendance policies; teacher evaluation process; and record keeping.
The Diman Teachers Association: New teachers should be given an orientation to the Diman Teacher's Association including salaries and benefits; teacher evaluation process; legal rights and responsibilities; and the role of the teachers association;
The Curriculum: New teachers should be introduced to the philosophy, purpose, aim and goals of the school curriculum. They should also be provided with curriculum guides and the curriculum framework(s) that governs their content area(s).
The School: New teachers should have a complete tour of the school in which they will work. The tour should focus on such things as: the available technology applications; getting audio visual equipment; location of all administrative forms; following fire drill procedures. New teachers should also be provided with the teachers handbook and the student handbook.
According to the 2005-2006 Agreement, Mentors and Mentees are compensated for being participants in the program.
Appointment to a mentoring position is voluntary, but not automatic. Ideally, mentors will serve in no more than one partnership at a time, however, if no other candidate exists a mentor may serve in two partnerships, but will be compensated accordingly.
Four Components of a Mentoring Program
Mentor Program Committee
Every mentoring program must be overseen by a committee that should be representative of all groups who benefit from the program: administration, teachers association, mentors and new teachers. The committee will have a chairperson who is responsible for setting meetings, keeping agendas and notes, and communicating with those outside the committee about its work. The chairperson will be responsible for evaluating the committee at the end of each school year.
The Mentoring Program Committee will be responsible for:
- Writing and revising the Diman Mentoring Program Handbook
- Selecting mentors according to established criteria and qualifications
- Training of mentors for duties defined in the program
- Matching mentors with mentees
- Addressing problems which arise (e.g. a mentor/mentee partnership isn't working)
- Communicating with the school community regarding the program's opportunities, resources, and evolving development.
- Evaluation of the program through a program evaluation survey administered to mentors and mentees at the end of the school year
Mentoring Program Evaluation Survey
Hiring and retention rates, as well as mentee satisfaction, are important indicators of an effective mentoring program. However, it is also important that the Mentoring Program Committee evaluate the program for purposes of ongoing improvement by rating the following:
- Impact on job satisfaction for mentors and mentees
- Satisfaction with mentoring experience for mentors and mentees
- Effectiveness of mentor training;
- Adequacy of time;
- Value of specific activities (e.g. pre-conferencing, observations, post-conferencing) for mentors and mentees
- District support for mentor program and activities
- Degree to which the program is resulting in an overall beginning teacher/veteran teacher collegial culture
The certification regulations call for all new teachers to have a "trained" mentor. Training will be provided by the district. When a trained mentor isn't available, the untrained mentor should receive informal training from the Mentor Program Committee and should agree to attend the next available mentor training.
Mentor- Mentee Partnership
Mentors should be assigned to mentees on the basis of experience and certification in the academic or vocational area in which the mentee is teaching; and where not possible, in a closely aligned area. A partnership will be established as the mentor and mentee build a trusting relationship in which all parties benefit. Mentees are supported in the partnership to become effective teachers in a new school, while mentors receive valuable professional development as they reflect on their own practices.
Release time from regular teaching duties will be provided so that the mentor and mentee may observe each other's teaching practices. This is a regulatory requirement of all mentoring programs.Mentors must be trained in the observation protocol, including pre-conferencing, observation techniques, and post-conferencing.
A mentor demonstrates an array of qualities that cannot necessarily be quantified and checked off on an application form. However, they have been identified by research and will help in identifying and recruiting those individuals most suited to the challenge.
Qualities of Effective Mentors
The qualities of effective mentors - as identified by participants in mentoring programs nationwide - may be organized into four general categories: attitude and character; professional competence and experience; communication skills; and interpersonal skills. Together with a willingness to serve these characteristics comprise an inventory of the qualities of effective mentors.
Attitude & Character:
- Is a role model for other teachers by accepting new challenges
- Is self-reflective and able to improve from mistakes
- Advocates on behalf of colleagues
- Is resilient, open minded, resourceful, and exhibits good humor
- Maintains trusting professional relationships
- Empathizes with a protégé's emotional and professional skills
- Is approachable; easily establishes rapport with others
- Is sensitive and patient to political issues and different cultures
- Is discreet, asks questions prompting reflection, and listens attentively
- Is able to articulate effective instructional strategies efficiently
- Offers critiques in positive and productive ways
- Conveys enthusiasm/passion for teaching
Professional Competence & Experience
- Has excellent knowledge of pedagogy and feels comfortable being observed by other teachers
- Has confidence in his/her own instructional skills and is held in high regard by peer teachers
- Collaborates well with other teachers/administrators and is willing to learn new teaching strategies from protégés
- Understands the school's, district's, and teachers' association's policies & procedures
The Benefits of the Mentoring Experience for Mentors
Much of the conversation around mentoring focuses on the benefits to the mentee. It is equally important to note that research shows beneficial outcomes for mentor teachers as well. Benefits include...
- Opportunities to share information about teaching practice
- Self-awareness and professional growth
- Information about the teaching and learning process
- Satisfaction and pride in observing their mentee's growth
- Knowledge of the effective preparation of beginning teachers and their contribution to school improvement.
The following criteria will be used for the selection of mentors:
- Professional teacher status in the district
- Experience and certification in the subject or vocational area mentoring and where not possible, in a closely aligned subject or vocational area
- Commitment to the goals of the mentoring plan including respect for the confidential nature of the mentor teacher/protégé relationship
- Demonstrated exemplary command of content or vocational area knowledge and of pedagogy
- Knowledgeable about the social/workplace norms of the school and the community
- Knowledgeable about the school's resources and opportunities and is able to act as a referral source to the mentee
- Has the ability to commit the time necessary to be an effective mentor
- Has completed or agrees to complete a comprehensive mentor-training program.
- Submits an application to be a mentor
- To focus on classroom/ shop curriculum
- To offer and demonstrate an array of instructional techniques
- To suggest and demonstrate a variety of classroom/ shop management strategies
- To provide emotional support
- To socialize teachers into the school community
- To support quality instruction (formative) without being evaluative (summative);
- To provide confidential support
- To educate the mentee about district policies and procedures
Confidentiality provides a "safe haven" around the beginning teacher and mentor. Reciprocal trust, honesty, and confidentiality are key qualities in the mentoring partnership. The role of the Administrators does not change: they are still responsible for supervision, evaluation, support, resources, etc. The administrators cannot delegate those responsibilities to the mentor. The Administrators cannot use the mentor to gather information on the mentee. It is inappropriate for the administrators to ask the mentor about the performance of the mentee. Administrators should be getting this information on their own through their own observations, conferences, and informal meetings with new teachers.
The mentor-mentee relationship is confidential in nature. The mentor plays no role in supervision or evaluation.