The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-needs schools.
Nebraska requires that all new teachers receive mentoring. The state mandates that new teachers participate in the mentorship program for the first year of employment. Unfortunately, the state reported in 2009 that this program has not been funded for several years.
If the program were operational, mentors would be required to be experienced and certified, but a minimum number of years of teaching experience would not be mandatory. The mentor teacher program guidelines recommend, but do not require, that the mentors and new teachers share endorsement fields and grade level, and the program would have to provide training as well as time for the pair to observe each other in the classroom. Compensation would be recommended, such as release time, stipends or professional growth points. An evaluation component would be required to assess effectiveness.
Nebraska Department of Education Title 92, Chapter 26 Sections 003; 004; 005
Expand guidelines to include other key areas.
While still leaving districts flexibility, Nebraska should articulate minimum guidelines for a high-quality induction experience. The state should set a timeline in which mentors are assigned to all new teachers throughout the state, ideally soon after the commencing of teaching, to offer support during those first critical weeks of school. Mentors should also be required to be trained in a content area or grade level similar to that of the new teacher.
Fund and implement induction initiative.
NCTQ points out that this Yearbook is based on the existence of regulations, not on the implementation of them. It is unfortunate that this mentoring program has not been funded for several years. Nebraska should either ensure that this program is funded in the near future or remove it from the books altogether because it is, in essence, nonexistent.
Nebraska recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.