2011 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-needs schools.
Texas does not require a mentoring program or any other induction support for its new teachers. According to the state, "each school district may assign a qualified mentor teacher to each classroom teacher who has less than two years of teaching experience in a subject area or grade level."
For districts choosing to participate in the state's beginning teacher induction and mentoring program, Texas requires that the mentor teacher teach in the same school and, if possible, teach the same subject matter or grade level as the new teacher. Mentors must complete a training program, have at least three years' teaching experience and have a superior record of improving student performance. Funding is provided for mentor stipends, mentor training and mentor release time to meet and observe beginning teachers.
Beginning Teacher Induction and Mentoring http://www.tea.state.tx.us/btim.aspx Texas Education Code 21.458
Ensure that a high-quality mentoring experience is available to all new teachers, especially those in low-performing schools.
Texas should ensure that all new teachers—and especially any teacher in a low-performing school—receive mentoring support, especially in the first critical weeks of school.
Set more specific parameters.
To ensure that all teachers receive high-quality mentoring, the state should specify how long the program lasts for a new teacher and a method of performance evaluation.
Require induction strategies that can be successfully implemented, even in poorly managed schools.
To ensure that the experience is meaningful, Texas should guarantee that induction includes strategies such as intensive mentoring, seminars appropriate to grade level or subject area and a reduced teaching load and/or frequent release time to observe other teachers.
Texas noted that all teachers teaching under a probationary certificate are required to be assigned a cooperating teacher/mentor. Texas Administrative Code (TAC) 228.2 and 228.35 define the cooperating teacher/mentor and the role and responsibility that the cooperating teacher/mentor has with respect to the beginning teacher.
All beginning teaches from either traditional or alternate routes are required to have a campus mentor by TAC 228.35 (e). The mentor must have received training in guiding novice teachers from the school district of the educator preparation program. The mentor is selected by the campus administrator in collaboration with the educator preparation program.
Texas Education Code 21.458 states, "[E]ach school district may assign a mentor teacher to each classroom teacher who has less than two years of teaching experience." The Education Code states that a teacher assigned as a mentor, to the extent practicable, should teach in the same school, teach the same subject or grade level, complete a research-based mentor and induction program and have at least three years of teaching experience with a superior record of assisting students in achieving improvements in student performance.
The state of Texas developed the Texas Beginning Educator Support System (TxBess), a mentoring program whose standards identify attributes of a successful mentoring program while allowing school districts and educator preparation entities to customize the model to meet their needs. The program is research-based and covers planning for instruction, classroom environment, instruction and communication and professionalism. While this program is not mandated by law, it is widely used among districts and educator preparation programs.
The cooperating teacher/mentor identified in the state's response refers to preservice support. As both the analysis and the state response indicate, Texas only articulates that districts "may" assign a mentor to new teachers.