2017 General Teacher Prep Programs 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: Florida does not require a mentoring program or any other induction support for all new teachers. The state requires new teachers with a temporary certificate enrolled in the alternate route Professional Development Certification Program (PDCP) to be assigned a mentor. The mentoring and induction program established by the PDCP must, at a minimum, include "weekly opportunities for mentoring and induction activities, including common planning time, ongoing professional development targeted to a teacher's needs, opportunities for a teacher to observe other teachers, co-teaching experiences, and reflection and follow up discussions." Mentoring and induction must be provided during a teacher's first year and may be provided until the teacher attains a professional certificate.
Mentor Selection Criteria: Florida requires that mentors for teachers in the alternate route program "must have earned an effective or highly effective rating on the prior year's performance evaluation" and have three years of teaching experience. Mentors must also complete clinical supervision training and participate in ongoing professional development.
Florida K-20 Education Code 1012.56(8) CS/HB 7069 (2017) amending section 1012.56(8), F.S
Ensure that a high-quality mentoring experience is available to all new teachers, especially those in low-performing schools.
Although Florida supports mentoring of teachers from alternate routes, the state should ensure that all new teachers—especially new teachers in low-performing schools—receive mentoring support, particularly in the first critical weeks of school.
Set more specific parameters.
To ensure that all teachers receive high-quality mentoring, Florida should set a timeline by which mentors are assigned to new teachers, ideally soon after the commencing of teaching. The state should also specify method of performance evaluation.
Florida was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts that enhanced 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.