Mentoring and Induction for Beginning Educators
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The Iowa Mentoring and Induction (M&I) program began as part of the Teacher Quality legislation enacted in 2001. Each year, approximately 3,000 beginning educators participate in the state-funded Iowa Mentoring and Induction Program. This number is comprised of both first and second year educators in public school districts and area education agencies (AEA) statewide. A beginning teacher mentoring and induction program is created to promote excellence in teaching, enhance student achievement, build a supportive environment within school districts and area education agencies, increase the retention of promising beginning teachers, and promote the personal and professional well-being of teachers.
Beginning Teacher: Every beginning educator in the first or second year of the profession enters into a two-year induction program that addresses personal and professional needs and trains him or her on the Iowa Teaching Standards and Criteria. The beginning educator, employed by a public school district or an AEA, is assigned a mentor - not to evaluate for employment purposes, but to observe, coach, and provide support and feedback in effective teaching practices. In 2006, guidance counselors, teacher librarians, and interns (hired under alternative licensure) were approved to participate in the mentoring and induction program in addition to classroom teachers.
Completing a M&I program is a condition of standard licensure in Iowa. In most cases, after the two-year induction program, the beginning educator receives a standard license. If an educator does not meet the requirements after the two years, a third year in the induction program can be granted by the district, but must be funded by the district. If the educator does not successfully complete the program after the third year, that educator cannot receive a license and cannot continue to teach in the state.
Mentor Teacher: Mentors for beginning teachers must have at least three years of teaching experience and demonstrated skills in classroom training and coaching. They are to receive additional training on district expectations based on Iowa’s teaching standards. Mentoring programs can be designed and delivered by the district or the AEA, which provides school improvement services for the local education community. The mentor must follow this program while focusing on the teacher’s individual needs.
District: Each district and AEA in Iowa is expected to develop a mentoring and induction program intended to support the personal and professional needs of the beginning educator. This program should include training for mentor teachers who support beginning teachers, training for beginning teachers in the eight Iowa Teaching Standards and Criteria and release time for the pair to plan, observe and analyze instructional practice. This program plan should represent the components found in legislation for induction of beginning teachers as well additional supports implemented through the Teacher Leadership and Compensation program. Each district is required to identify a Mentor Facilitator who is responsible for overseeing the plan and to submit to the Department of Education a program plan and any revisions that meet the criteria determined in Senate File 277 and related legislation.
Iowa pays schools districts and AEAs $1,300 for each first or second year educator. $1,000 of those funds is paid to the mentor and the remaining dollars can be used by the district or AEA to pay for related program costs, including FICA or IPERS. In years where the appropriation is exceeded by the demand, funds will be prorated. Although the state’s recommendation is that districts continue to pay mentors that identified amount, local districts will need to determine the best course of action in the event of a proration.
Submitting a Plan
284.5(3). Each school district and area education agency shall develop a plan for the program. A school district shall include its plan in the school district’s comprehensive school improvement plan submitted pursuant to section 256.7, subsection 21. The plan shall, at a minimum, provide for a two-year sequence of induction program content and activities to support the Iowa teaching standards and beginning teacher professional and personal needs; mentor training that includes, at a minimum, skills of classroom demonstration and coaching, and district expectations for beginning teacher competence on Iowa teaching standards; placement of mentors and beginning teachers; the process for dissolving mentor and beginning teacher partnerships; district organizational support for release time for mentors and beginning teachers to plan, provide demonstration of classroom practices, observe teaching, and provide feedback; structure for mentor selection and assignment of mentors to beginning teachers; a district facilitator; and program evaluation.
IA-TPA and the Mentoring and Induction Program
Data Collection and Allocations
School districts and AEAs report in BEDS the number of first year and second year beginning teachers eligible for Mentoring and Induction funding and the number of beginning administrators eligible for Administrator Mentoring and Induction funding. Payments are based on BEDS reporting and subject to availability of funds. Payment information is accessible in the Iowa Education Portal. Additional information about M&I funding is shared regularly through the School Business Alert.