2011 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-needs schools.
Iowa requires that all new teachers receive mentoring through the Iowa Mentoring and Induction Program. The state mandates that every beginning teacher in the first or second year of the profession participate in a two-year induction program. Beginning teachers are assigned a mentor to "observe, critique, and provide support and advice on effective teaching practices." The state allocates $1,300 for each beginning teacher. $1,000 is paid to the mentor and the remainder pays for related program costs.
Mentors must have at least four years of teaching experience and "demonstrated skills in classroom training and coaching." Mentors receive at least 30 hours of training during the initial year and this includes specialized training on district expectations. There should be a minimum of 15-20 interactions between mentors and new teachers.
Iowa Technical Assistance for Mentoring and Induction Program http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=6410 Mentoring and Induction for Beginning Educators http://www.iowa.gov/educate/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1674&Itemid=2479
Expand guidelines to include other key areas.
While still leaving district flexibility, Iowa should articulate minimum guidelines for a high-quality induction experience. The state should require that mentors be trained in a content area or grade level similar to that of the new teacher, and the state should mandate a method of performance evaluation. It should also offer specifics on release time or reducing teacher responsibilities.
Ensure that mentoring is of sufficient duration and frequency.
Iowa requires just 30 contact hours between new teachers and their mentors over the course of the school year. The state should consider whether time requirement ensures that new teachers receive adequate support, especially in the first critical weeks of school.
Iowa recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.