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 York requires all new public school teachers to receive mentoring. The state requires that mentoring activities include modeling teaching instruction, observations, instructional planning, and release time from instructional and non-instructional duties for both teacher and mentor. A decreased workload is required for both mentors and new teachers, and districts are eligible for funding to support release time.
Districts may apply for the competitive Mentor Teacher Internship program. If districts are awarded the grant, then their internship plan must include one year of mentoring, as well as "criteria for assessment of mentor performance, and criteria for assessment of intern performance in areas including, but not limited to, instructional planning and management, classroom management, presentation of subject matter and communication skills." Special consideration will be given to proposals from districts designated as High Need by the NYSED State Aid Group.
Mentor Selection Criteria: District-designed mentoring programs are required to describe the procedure for selecting mentors, the role and preparation of mentors, and the activities of mentors. For the optional Teacher-Mentorship Induction Program, local district personnel will compile a list of eligible mentor candidates based on "superior pedagogical skills, superior subject matter skills, excellent teaching abilities, and interpersonal relationship qualities." Mentors must also have skills that are "determined to be equivalent" to a composite Annual Professional Performance Review rating of highly effective or effective. The district superintendent then pairs the mentor with the new teacher. The mentor teacher must have "the same area of certificate title as the intern, or [be] permanently licensed in the same license area as the intern."
New York Code, EDN, Title 4, Article 61, Section 3033 Commissioner’s Regulations Section 100.2 (dd) (2) (iv) Commissioner’s Regulations Section 80-85.2 Mentor Teacher Internship Program http://www.highered.nysed.gov/kiap/mtip/documents/mtiprfp2013.pdf
Set more specific parameters.
While still leaving districts with flexibility, New York should articulate minimum guidelines for a high-quality induction experience. The state should require a timeline in which mentors are assigned to all new teachers, ideally soon after the commencing of teaching, to offer support during those first critical weeks of school. The state should also set guidelines on the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet.
New York was helpful in providing NCTQ with 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.