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 Tteachers: Maryland requires that all new teachers receive mentoring, and districts are required to establish a cadre of full-time or part-time mentors to support new teachers. The state expects each local school system to design a program incorporating components established by the state, including: an orientation program for new teachers prior to the start of the school year, mentor support such as regularly scheduled meetings during noninstructional time, opportunities for new teachers to observe and co-teach with skilled teachers with follow-up discussions of the experiences, ongoing professional learning activities, and an ongoing formative review of new teacher performance such as classroom observation.
Local school systems are encouraged, but not required, to provide a reduction in teaching schedule during induction. All new teachers must participate in induction activities until they achieve tenure. Experienced teachers new to Maryland must participate for one year. Local school systems will evaluate their teacher induction programs using measures including teacher retention and attrition.
Mentor Selection Criteria: Maryland requires mentors to be either current teachers who have an advanced professional certificate or retired teachers and requires that all mentors have obtained evaluation ratings of satisfactory or effective. The state requires mentors to demonstrate skills in knowledge of adult learning theory and peer coaching techniques, and have the knowledge base and skill to address performance evaluation criteria and outcomes to be met by each new teacher, and have a positive reference from a principal or supervisor. Districts are required to provide mentors with ongoing training and feedback that addresses the varied needs of the new teachers, and the state provides additional new mentor trainings each semester and during the summer. The maximum ratio of mentors to new teachers is 1 to 15.
Teacher Induction Fact Sheet http://archives.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/841ABD3D-FC95-47AB-BB74-BD3C85A1EFB8/32256/FS88_2011_.pdf Code of Maryland Annotated Regulations (COMAR) 13A.07.01-.06
Set more specific parameters.
While Maryland has strong mentoring and induction requirements to support its new teachers, they could be made stronger by the state setting more specific guidelines on the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet, particularly during those critical first weeks of school, and further clarifying the timeframe in which mentors must be assigned to new teachers.
Maryland was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state provided that it mentors must be assigned to new teachers before the school year begins. Maryland acknowledged that state regulations do not specify how frequently mentors must meet, but reiterated that a full time mentor cannot be supporting more than fifteen new teachers.
Maryland also added that currently, a work group has been established to discuss teacher recruitment, retention and advancement. One topic under consideration is a statewide standard required of mentor teachers in Maryland.
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.