The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-needs schools.
Arkansas requires a mentoring program for its new teachers. Within three weeks of hire, the new teacher is paired with a mentor, preferably one who teaches the same subject and is in the same grade level as the novice teacher. The mentoring program typically lasts one year, unless the new teacher fails the performance assessment test or is nontraditionally trained; if this is the case, the teacher receives mentoring for two years. Nontraditionally trained teachers also receive "front-end" mentoring, whereby the mentor and new teacher engage in more intense mentoring for the first six weeks of the school year and have a specific list of activities to be carried out during this time.
Mentors, who must complete Arkansas Pathwise Mentor Training, are selected by district administrators and are required to have at least three years of full-time teaching experience. Mentors receive $1,200 in compensation per school year, as well as 30 hours of professional development credit. Mentors and new teachers receive two hours of release time every two weeks and are required to meet an additional 25 hours per semester.
Districts are encouraged to allow new teachers to observe experienced colleagues, participate in small-group seminars and have reduced workloads. There are also project directors for each district who are responsible for the oversight of the mentoring plan, approval of appropriate expenditures and all induction correspondence with the Arkansas Department of Education.
Arkansas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.