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: Alabama requires mentoring for a minimum of two years, with an optional third year, for all new teachers with no prior teaching experience, including those licensed through alternate route programs. Alabama states that "sufficient time should be scheduled to provide the new teacher with the appropriate level of support and guidance" and that mentors and new teachers should strive for an average of 2.5 contact hours each week. While Alabama states that there is some flexibility in the timeline to match mentors and new teachers for the first year, the state recommends that "ideally, and in subsequent years, new teacher will be matched with mentors prior to the opening of school," although this does not seem to be a requirement. New teachers will complete "regularly scheduled assessments" of the mentor program.
Mentor Selection Criteria: Mentors are current or retired teachers who are chosen by a committee of teachers and administrators, and they must successfully complete Alabama Beginning Teacher Mentor Training or a local equivalent. Alabama requires that mentors have at least three years' "successful" teaching experience and show evidence of effectiveness through evidence such as standardized test score growth, a portfolio of student work that demonstrates learning, observation results, or a videotaped lesson. Alabama also has a mentor selection rubric that defines various desired professional and personal attributes as well as instructional skills. Mentors receive a $1,000 yearly stipend.
Alabama Teacher Mentoring (ATM) Program FY 2016 memorandum http://www.alsde.edu/sites/memos/Memoranda/FY16-2076.pdf Guidelines for the Alabama Teacher Mentoring (ATM) Program 17-18 http://www.alsde.edu/div/dtl/plg/New%20Teacher%20Mentoring/Guidelines%20for%20Mentoring%20Program%2017-18.docx Legislative Report for Mentoring Program 2017 http://www.alsde.edu/div/dtl/plg/New%20Teacher%20Mentoring/Legislative%20Report%20for%20Mentoring%20Program%202017.pdf
As a result of Alabama's strong induction policy, no recommendations are provided.
Alabama was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.
Not applicable. This goal was not scored in 2017.
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.