The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-need schools. This goal was reorganized and not graded in 2017.
Mentoring for New Teachers: Arizona does not require a mentoring program or any other induction support for its new teachers. However, the Arizona K-12 Center's Master Teacher Program, funded by the state, places accomplished teachers in qualifying schools to support teacher retention. Beginning teachers receive mentoring in their first three years. To qualify, a site must meet at least two of the following criteria: 60 percent or higher poverty, 25 percent or higher teacher turnover, any middle or high school labeled as underperforming.
Mentor Selection Criteria: Master Teacher applicants must be fully licensed in the grades and subjects they are currently teaching and have at least three years of teaching experience. They must also have National Board Certification or successfully complete National Board Certification Components 2 and 3 with at least a qualifying score of 2.75, and they must have had positive teaching evaluations without any suggestions for improvement in the previous three years. Master teachers are provided release time to mentor 7-15 beginning teachers.
Ensure that a high-quality mentoring experience is available to all new teachers, especially those in low-performing schools.
Although Arizona supports mentoring of some teachers, the state should ensure that all new teachers receive mentoring support, particularly in the first critical weeks of school.
Set more specific parameters.
To ensure that all teachers receive high-quality mentoring, the state should set guidelines on the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet and specify a method of performance evaluation.
Arizona was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.
Too many new teachers are left to "sink or swim" when they begin teaching, leaving most new teachers overwhelmed and under-supported at the outset of their teaching careers. Although differences in preparation programs and routes to the classroom do affect readiness, even teachers from the most rigorous programs need support once they take on the myriad responsibilities of their own classroom. A survival-of-the-fittest mentality prevails in many schools; figuring out how to successfully negotiate unfamiliar curricula, discipline and management issues, and labyrinthine school and district procedures is considered a rite of passage. However, new teacher frustrations are not limited to low performers. Many talented new teachers become disillusioned early by the lack of support they receive, and, particularly in our most high-needs schools, it is often the most talented teachers who start to explore other career options.
Vague requirements simply to provide mentoring are insufficient. Although many states recognize the need to provide mentoring to new teachers, state policies merely indicating that mentoring should occur will not ensure that districts provide new teachers with quality mentoring experiences. While allowing flexibility for districts to develop and implement programs in line with local priorities and resources, states also should articulate the minimum requirements for these programs in terms of the frequency and duration of mentoring and the qualifications of those serving as mentors.