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 Jersey requires that all new teachers receive mentoring. The state mandates that all new teachers participate in a mentoring program over a period of 30 weeks. New teachers must be assigned a mentor at the beginning of their contracted teaching assignments. The mentor teacher and a novice provisional teacher meet at least once a week for the first four weeks of the teaching assignment, in the case of teachers holding a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (traditionally trained teachers), and once a week for the first eight weeks for teachers holding a Certificate of Eligibility (alternate route teachers). Observation of the new teacher in the classroom and release time are recommended. There are evaluations to assess the effectiveness of the program.
Mentor Selection Criteria: New Jersey requires all mentors to "have received a summative rating of effective or highly effective on the most recent summative evaluation." Mentors must also possess at least three years of teaching experience, be certified in a subject matter similar to that of the new teacher, and complete comprehensive training courses.
It is up to each district to determine compensation based on available funds. If no state funds are available to pay the mentoring fees, the state requires novice teachers to pay the cost of mentoring, unless the hiring district has a provision to subsidize the fees.
New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:9C-5.1-5.4
Prevent fee requirement from creating unnecessary burden.
New Jersey should consider instituting an oversight mechanism to ensure that mentoring fees charged by local districts are reasonable, such that they are able to be subsidized by the district rather than individual novice teachers, or provide more state funds to cover mentoring fees.
Set more specific parameters.
In addition to the weekly mentoring required during the first one to two months of a new teacher's assignment, New Jersey should set guidelines on the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet.
New Jersey was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for 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.