Main Content

Activities: Prior to Academic Year

  1. Introduction

    Successful induction programs do much of their planning before beginning teachers are even hired. There are a number of protocols and trainings that must be arranged before a program can take place. This preparation ensures that expectations are in writing for all individuals involved in a mentoring and induction program and that administrators, mentors, and beginning teachers receive consistent information about their roles.

    There is significant research that describes the types of training, mentor selection processes, and orientation topics for a high quality mentoring and induction program. Some of this information can be found on the INTC website , but it is also the responsibility of the Collaborative Leadership Team to make time for their own professional development in order to inform their own practices and continuously improve the induction program.

  2. Tasks

    1. Plan and enact administrator training and/or host Administrator’s Academy #1028 Using the Illinois Induction Continuum for central office and building administrators (See Standard 4, Illinois Induction Program Continuum)
      1. Prepare to review
      2. Confidentiality
      3. Administrator’s role in a mentoring and induction program
      4. Rules and regulations
      5. Selecting qualified mentors
      6. Schedule training when administration can attend and be fully present
      7. Provide administrators with resources during and after the training that they can use to regularly review program progress
      8. Conduct training evaluation
      9. For assistance, contact a Regional Office of Education (ROE) or an Intermediate Service Center (ISC) to see if they have AA#941 or AA#1028 scheduled or if they are planning to schedule one. (ROEs and ISCs, along with the State Board of Education, are responsible for the integrity of the Administrators’ Academy and are legally required to fulfill all of the legislative requirements for Administrators’ Academy trainings.)
    2. Develop selection criteria for mentors and a matching process (See Standard 5, Illinois Induction Program Continuum)
      1. Create/modify an application process for mentors. This may include a written application, letters of recommendation, and an interview.
      2. Decide who will choose the mentors to be trained
      3. Host a mentoring information and recruitment meeting
      4. Conduct mentor application process
      5. Select mentors to be trained
      6. Review pool of beginning teachers to make the most effective mentor matches
        1. Consider the following relevant factors: certification, experience, current assignment, and proximity. It is ideal for each beginning teacher to have a qualified mentor with experience in the same grade/content area. Mentors who are full-time teachers should be matched to new teachers in the same building, but this is not always achievable.
        2. May consider additional factors such as personality traits, learning styles, relevant experiences and/or generational issues
      7. Assign mentors to beginning teachers
      8. Notify mentors and beginning teachers of the pairings
      9. Define a process to make necessary adjustments in mentor/beginning teacher mismatches
    3. Plan professional development for mentors and beginning teachers (See Standards 6 and 7, Illinois Induction Program Continuum)
      1. Plan initial mentor training
      2. Determine and plan ongoing mentor support and follow-up sessions to take place throughout the school year
      3. Plan beginning teacher orientation
      4. Plan beginning teacher workshops to be held throughout the school year with building administrators
      5. Decide if mentors and new teachers are going to be compensated for their time during training
      6. Schedule trainings during times that mentors and/or new teachers can be fully present
    4. Establish expectations and processes for the program year
      1. Establish monthly or quarterly expectations for mentor-beginning teacher contact
      2. Set reflections each quarter or semester by the Collaborative Leadership Team on mentor and beginning teacher needs and progress toward expectations
      3. Create and communicate the expectation that mentors and beginning teachers will complete reflections each quarter or semester on their progress and needs
      4. Plan a celebration at the end of the school year for mentors, beginning teachers, and administrators
      5. Determine a program evaluation process
    5. Conduct initial mentor training as an individual induction program or with other programs, e.g. through a consortium such as a Regional Office of Education (See Standard 6, Illinois Induction Program Continuum)
      1. Invite mentors to training. Include in this invitation the expectations for participation in the training and also for the mentoring program.
      2. Decide whether to plan and conduct the mentor training in-house, or to hire an outside mentor trainer. The trainer could use Induction for the 21st Century Educator training (ICE 21), New Teacher Center (NTC) training, or other mentor training
      3. For in-house mentor training, prepare to review topics including:
        1. Adult learning theory
        2. Stages of first year teacher development
        3. Generational issues
        4. Rules and regulations
        5. Roles and responsibilities of participants in the mentoring program
        6. Confidentiality
        7. Coaching cycle for mentors/beginning teachers
        8. Coaching observation approaches and data gathering strategies
        9. Effective listening and questioning techniques
        10. Formative assessment
        11. Research on effective mentoring
        12. Research on the needs of beginning teachers and implications for a mentor’s role
        13. Professional teaching standards
        14. Frameworks for examining teaching, learning, and assessing
        15. Factors for low commitment
        16. Technological resources
      4. Conduct training evaluation
    6. Plan and implement initial orientation for beginning teachers (See Standard 7, Illinois Induction Program Continuum)
      1. Prepare to review the following (for a district-based program):
        1. District personnel, including Superintendent, Human Resources, Curriculum and Staff Development, and Business Office
        2. Community resources (if applicable)
          1. Business partnerships or grants
          2. Employee Assistance Programs
          3. Park District/Field Trip Programs
          4. A tour of local community and neighborhoods
        3. District expectations and building logistics
        4. District resources
          1. Curriculum guides
          2. Website resources
          3. Personnel who can help
        5. Substantial amount of time allotted for new teachers and mentors to meet, discuss essential topics, and plan according to individual needs such as: beginning of school procedures, lesson planning, and initial contact with parents, etc.
      2. Invite district personnel and make sure that all participants understand their role at orientation
      3. Reserve location
      4. Notify beginning teachers – provide directions and an agenda
      5. Create orientation materials for beginning teachers
      6. Host the orientation for beginning teachers
      7. Conduct orientation evaluation
    7. Share program information with the school community and other stakeholders
      1. Define communication goals
      2. Identify tools to meet the communication goals
      3. Craft the information and messages to be shared
      4. Establish a communications timeline
      5. Evaluate if the communication was effective
  3. Notes on Highly Effective Practices

    1. Mentors and administrators should understand that mentors are not in an evaluative role, and any questions on beginning teachers’ progress could violate their confidentiality. Additionally, new teachers must be reassured by all stakeholders that they intend to abide by the legal and ethical requirements of confidentiality throughout the mentoring process.
    2. ISBE-approved programs include the following topics in mentor training:
      1. Adult learning theory
      2. Standards for Professional Learning (as articulated by Learning Forward, formerly National Staff Development Council)
      3. Foundations of mentoring
      4. Formative assessment
      5. Coaching strategies
      6. Observation strategies
      7. Analysis of student work
      8. Analysis of student data
        This training requires a minimum of 18 hours. The primary training emphases are on classroom practice, teacher development, and student achievement.
    3. The beginning teacher orientation should provide just the right balance between sufficient information and too much information. Additional information can be added during beginning teacher workshops later in the year. Also, the orientation should find a balance between providing information and providing time for new teachers to bond with their colleagues.
    4. It is difficult to find the time to conduct so many trainings. Administrators especially are reticent to leave their school buildings for all or even part of a day. If the training for administrators will last for six or more hours, the Collaborative Leadership Team should brainstorm ways to facilitate this for building administration. Trainings can be split up into smaller chunks, conducted after students are dismissed for the summer or even held in the evenings.
    5. Mentor teachers may also find it difficult to create sub plans for a multi-day training. Some districts have a relatively small pool of subs, creating hardships within buildings when more than one teacher must be absent for professional leave.
    6. Programs sometimes have difficulty with the following, so the leadership team may wish to brainstorm options.
      1. Finding funding to pay mentors/admin/beginning teachers to attend trainings
      2. Training administrators before mentors, so that administrators are able to select the right people for mentor training.
      3. Finding beginning teachers who match the trained mentors
      4. Determining what happens if a mentor drops out.