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: Louisiana does not require a mentoring program or other induction support for new teachers. Candidates in practitioner teacher programs are required to complete their one-year residency, which is required of all teacher preparation candidates in the state and includes supervision by a mentor teacher, as the teacher of record.
Mentor Selection Criteria: Louisiana does not address this in state policy.
Title 28 Part XLV Bulletin 996 Chapter 7 Louisiana State Standards for Educator Preparation Programs http://www.boarddocs.com/la/bese/Board.nsf/files/AEDKRZ5331E2/$file/EE_6.1_Bulletin996_Oct_2016.pdf
Ensure that a high-quality mentoring experience is available to all new teachers, especially those in low-performing schools.
Louisiana should ensure that every new teacher—especially teachers in low-performing schools—receives mentoring support, particularly 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, set guidelines on the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet, and specify a method of performance evaluation. The state should also set a timeline by which mentors are assigned to new teachers, ideally soon after the commencing of teaching.
Select high-quality mentors.
While still leaving districts with flexibility, Louisiana should articulate minimum guidelines for the selection of high-quality mentors. It is particularly important that the mentors themselves are effective teachers. Teachers without evidence of effectiveness should not be eligible to serve as mentors.
Louisiana was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state added that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education revised policies in October 2016 that require undergraduate residents to complete a one-year residency with a mentor teacher. These policies also require post-baccalaureate residents to have a mentor as well.
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.