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: New Hampshire does not require a mentoring program or other induction support for new teachers. In 2011, the New Hampshire Task Force for Effective Teaching proposed recommendations, including an induction/mentoring component. The recommendations specify that all new teachers receive mentoring for a minimum of three to five years and the induction program includes orientation, classroom coaching, and content- and grade-specific professional development. The recommendations also suggest that the program is evaluated on an annual basis. However, there is no evidence that these recommendations have become part of the state's formal policy regarding induction and mentoring.
Mentor Selection Criteria: The recommendations of New Hampshire's Task Force for Effective Teaching specify that mentoring programs should have clearly defined standards that inform mentor selection and offer training and professional development to mentors.
New Hampshire Task Force on Effective Teacher Phase I Report Oct. 2011 http://www.education.nh.gov/teaching/documents/phase1report.pdf
Ensure that a high-quality mentoring experience is available to all new teachers, especially those in low-performing schools.
New Hampshire should ensure that all new teachers—especially teachers in low-performing schools—receive mentoring support, particularly in the first critical weeks of school.
Set specific parameters.
To ensure that all teachers receive high-quality mentoring, New Hampshire should make the New Hampshire Task Force for Effective Teaching mentoring and induction recommendations part of the state's formal policy. In addition, the state should set guidelines on the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet, and 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, New Hampshire 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.
New Hampshire recognized the factual accuracy of 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.