The Essex Westford School District New Teacher Mentoring Program is a program designed to provide effective support, assistance and guidance for teachers new to the district or transitioning to a new position in the district. The focus is on school and district acclimation and the promotion of professional growth and success in order to improve teaching quality, promote the retention of high quality teachers and ensure high quality learning for our students.
- Acclimating new and transitioning teachers to the culture, systems, goals, and best practices of the school and district;
- Supporting new and transitioning teachers with district instructional practices and supervision & evaluation model;
- Introducing new and transitioning teachers to the K-12 curricular work and current initiatives within the content/program area of the teacher.
The EWSD Mentoring Program is being provided as a benefit to all New and Transitioning Teachers to help them succeed in their new position. All New Teachers and Transitioning Teachers are expected to fully participate in all applicable aspects of the program without additional compensation.
General Mentoring Program Design
- Planning: The EWSD Mentoring Program Coordinator and the Mentor Coordinators shall coordinate, schedule, and communicate the program for the subsequent school year. Building Principals will schedule events for their new teachers as well.
- New Teacher Orientation Day: A EWSD-wide District induction/orientation session shall be held prior to the start of the school year. Mentors and Professional Peers and their assigned teacher shall attend and participate in the orientation session unless dismissed from attendance by the school principal/director. This District event will be a 1 /2 day event. The other time alloted at the beginning of the year will be building based.
Roles and Definitions
- Teacher: All professional educators working under a non-administrative endorsement including both classroom teachers and professional support services (i.e. Guidance, Librarian, School Nurse, Psychologist, etc.).
- New Teacher: A teacher who is in his/her first year of teaching in a member district who holds a level I, Provisional, Apprenticeship or Emergency educator license. An individual who worked as a teacher in the district, separated, and then were rehired by the district shall not be considered a New Teacher for purposes of this program unless the Principal directs otherwise. All New Teachers shall participate in the EWSD Mentoring Program and shall be assigned a Mentor. Following the first year the principal may recommend the teacher continue with mentoring in the second year.
- Transitioning Teacher: A teacher who is in his/her first year of teaching in a member district who who is working under a level II educator license, or any teacher previously employed within the district transitioning to a new district, school, or assignment regardless of whether the individual is working under a level I or level II license. All Transitioning Teachers shall be assigned a Professional Peer unless the Principal directs otherwise.
- EWSD Mentoring Program Coordinator: The EWSD Mentoring Program Coordinator shall be assigned by the Superintendent to coordinate the EWSD Mentoring Program, provide direction and support to all mentor coordinators and school principals/directors, and serve as primary liaison between the Mentor Coordinators and the Principals.
- Mentor Coordinators: The Mentor Coordinators are responsible for coordinating, implementing, and facilitate the EWSD Mentoring Program collaboratively and for their assignment; and to work directly with the Mentors and Professional Peers and their assigned New/Transitioning Teachers. The Mentor Coordinator shall be the primary contact for the school principal related to the EWSD Mentoring Program. Both EHS and CTE shall have Mentor Coordinators.
- Teacher Mentor: A professional educator assigned to acclimate a New Teacher or Transitioning Teacher to the culture, goals, and best practices of the school, district and EWSD; to orient the assigned teacher to the EWSD Supervision and Evaluation Model based on Danielson's Framework; to provide general support in the various domains, components, and elements of Danielson’s Framework; and to introduce the assigned teacher to the K-12 curricular work and current initiatives within the content/program area of the teacher.
- Professional Peer: A professional educator assigned to acclimate a Transitioning Teacher(s) to the culture, goals, and best practices of the school and district. All Transitioning Teachers shall participate in the EWSD Mentoring Program and shall be assigned a Professional Peer. At the request of the School Principal, a Transitioning Teacher may be assigned a Mentor instead of a Professional Peer.
Assignment and Supervision of Mentors/Professional Peers
The school principal shall be responsible for selecting mentors for his/her school with input from the EWSD Mentoring Program Coordinator and Mentor Coordinators. Mentors shall be selected on an annual basis. Principals are responsible for ensuring that Mentors/Professional Peers are fulfilling their responsibilities to the best of their abilities. Failure to fulfill the requirements of the mentor/peer coach position could result in a principal re-assigning those responsibilities to another mentor/peer coach. The Principal’s decision in selection, assignment, re-assignment is final.
If a New Teacher is split between two schools, the New Teacher may be assigned a Mentor from one of the schools, and a Professional Peer from the other school. The Mentor and Professional Peer shall be paid in accordance with the compensation structure outlined herein.
If a Transitioning Teacher is split between two schools, the principal may request the Transitioning Teacher be assigned one of the following:
- A Professional Peer from each school s/he serves. In this event, each Professional Peers shall be paid the full compensation amount outlined herein.
- A Mentor from one of the schools, and a Professional Peer from the other school(s). In this event, the Mentor and Professional Peer shall each be paid in accordance with the compensation structure outlined herein.
A Principal may determine that a new teacher in their second year should have a second year of mentoring and/or a Professional Peer. The Principal’s decision is final.
Mentor/Professional Peer Responsibilities
All Mentors and Professional Peers are tasked with supporting new teachers to provide support in meeting the goals of the New Teaching Mentoring Program. Program goals and resources shall be provided by the EWSD Mentoring Program Coordinator and Mentor Coordinators.
- Meetings with New/Transitioning Teachers: Mentors and Professional Peers shall be expected to meet one-on-one (or in small groups) with his/her assigned teacher on a regular basis throughout the school year Mentors shall be expected to meet one-on-one with his/her assigned teacher at least two hours a month (either once a month for two hours or twice a month for one hour every other week) to address issues and concerns specific to the New/Transitioning Teacher. Professional Peers shall be expected to meet one-on-one with his/her assigned teacher at least one hour once per month to address questions, issues and concerns specific to the Transitioning Teacher(s).
- Classroom Observations: All Mentors should plan to conduct classroom observations of their assigned teacher throughout the school year. The purpose of the observations is to provide feedback and recommendations for improvement/development in Domains II and III, targeting specific areas as identified by the New/Transitioning Teacher. The feedback and recommendations provided shall be informal and provided directly to the assigned teacher for his/her formative use. Mentors shall also allow and encourage his/her assigned teacher to observe their classroom or other classrooms as models of best practices in the field. Nothing that is recorded in the mentor classroom observations should be used as part of the New/Transitioning Teacher’s formal supervision and evaluation.
Relationship between Mentor and Teacher Supervision & Evaluation
Supervision and evaluation of teachers participating in the EWSD Mentoring Program is required for all teachers in addition to receiving services under this program. However, the New (or Transitioning Teacher if applicable) is encouraged to share his/her supervision and evaluation timeline and goals with his/her assigned Mentor and coordinate components being evaluated by the school administrator with those areas being observed by the Mentor. Mentors are not the New/Transitioning Teacher’s supervisor and should not be directly involved in the supervision and evaluation system but should serve as a support role for the New/Transitioning Teacher as he/she navigates the system.