2017 Hiring Policy
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: Illinois requires that all new teachers receive mentoring. The state requires that all districts develop induction and mentoring programs that adhere to requirements set forth by the State Board of Education. Schools may receive up to $1,200 for each new teacher provided its program assigns a mentor teacher to each new teacher for at least two years. The state requires that mentors and teachers must have at least 40 hours of contact per year and further specifies that 30 of those hours must be face-to-face meetings.
New teachers must be granted release time and reduced course loads. The state induction guidelines require that all induction and mentoring programs must be aligned with the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards' content area standards and any applicable local school improvement and development plans. Illinois requires all mentor programs to be evaluated to determine their impact on retention and performance of beginning teachers.
Mentor Selection Criteria: Illinois requires mentors to have three years of teaching experience and ratings of either excellent or proficient on the two most recent performance evaluations. Mentor teachers must receive reduced course loads and are provided training.
105 ILCS 5/Art. 21A 23 Illinois Administrative Code 65.110-170 Induction and Mentoring Standards http://184.108.40.206/licensure/pdf/induction_mentoring_stds.pdf
Prioritize funding for induction program.
Illinois is commended for delineating strong policy to support new teachers. However, the code indicates that funding may not always be available for this program. NCTQ encourages the state to prioritize funding for its induction program.
Expand guidelines to include other key areas.
Illinois is commended for delineating strong policy to support new teachers. While still leaving districts with flexibility, Illinois should set a timeline by which mentors are assigned to new teachers, ideally soon after the commencing of teaching, to offer support during those critical first weeks of school.
Illinois recognized the factual accuracy of 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.