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: The District of Columbia does not require a mentoring program or any other induction support for all new teachers. The District does require District of Columbia-approved educator preparation programs, which are not housed in institutions of higher education, to provide candidates with intensive mentoring that lasts at least one academic year, with more intense support during the first eight weeks of employment.
However, the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) requires that all new teachers participate in a three-year mentoring and induction program. Mentor support includes "classroom management and effective teaching techniques." This applies only to DCPS and is not a policy of the District of Columbia.
Mentor Selection Criteria: The District of Columbia does not address this in policy.
Collective Bargaining Agreement 2007-2012 http://www.wtulocal6.org/usr/Final%20WTU%20DCPS%20Tentative%20Agreement.pdf Eligibility Requirements - State-Only Post-Baccalaureate Accreditation and Program Approval https://osse.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/osse/publication/attachments/Eligibility%20Requirements%20-%20State-Only%20Post-Baccalaureate%20Accreditation%20and%20Program%20Approval_0.pdf
Ensure that a high-quality mentoring experience is available to all new teachers, especially those in low-performing schools.
The District of Columbia should ensure that every new teacher—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, the District of Columbia should specify how long a mentoring program for all new teachers lasts, set guidelines on the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet, and specify a method of performance evaluation.
Select high-quality mentors.
While still leaving districts with flexibility, The District of Columbia 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.
The District of Columbia was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.
The District noted that it gives further guidance to non-traditional educator preparation programs regarding scheduling to accommodate an intensive mentoring program, and to provide regular and continuing support for teachers and interns in conventional and distance learning programs through such processes as observation, conferencing, group discussion, email, and the use of other technology. The District also added that CAEP-approved EPPs have a higher standard for beginning teacher mentoring. These EPPs may incorporate teacher induction programs into their evidence for CAEP Standard 4 (Program Impact).
The District also clarified that, depending on the alternate route program, teachers may start out their employment as the teacher of record or as a mentee in the classroom of a teacher of record.
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.