QuickStart Guide and Timeline
This Quick Start Guide is an overview of the steps needed to begin a mentoring and induction program. It can provide program leaders with the essentials and can serve as a “check list” for implementation steps. The accompanying Startup Guide provides details on carrying out each of the tasks mentioned below and provides much more information on creating and sustaining an excellent program.
The chart below shows an approximate timeline of when each of these steps might be enacted. Some programs start planning a full 12 months before they expect to start supporting new teachers, while others only have a few months before the start of a new academic year. More time is ideal, but it is more important to start supporting new teachers right away than to delay until the “perfect” program can be planned and funded. This chart is intended to be a guide, as each program’s situation and context is unique.
|Activities prior to academic year|
|Activities during the academic year|
|Activities at the end of the academic year|
The need to repeat various activities will depend on the status and developmental levels of the program. For example, if all administrators have been trained in a given year, they do not need to experience the same training again. However, they do need some review and clarification to reinforce the importance of supporting beginning teachers and mentors. Likewise, there does not need to be a transition for new leadership if the program leaders remain in place.
Each task can be either Essential or Comprehensive and can be either One-Time or Annual as describe below.
- Essential Essential activities are necessary for all programs—even bare-bones, very new, or very small programs
- Comprehensive Comprehensive activities are important for a program to become fully developed, whether it is brand new or is experiencing ongoing development, but new programs may decide to defer them until later
- One-time One-time activities should be reviewed regularly but only have to be done once as the program is being set up, unless changes are made (e.g. new staff; new program goals)
- Annual Annual activities
First steps: Program Leadership and Collaborative Teams
Quality induction and mentoring programs start with strong, passionate leadership, grounded in high quality teacher development, to promote student achievement and school-wide progress. A program can be started and led by a team or a single person, depending on the context. However, the formation of collaborative teams can help ensure that all voices are represented, continuity is achieved, and a shared vision is enacted.
- Essential One-time Create a Collaborative Leadership Team consisting of representatives from different stakeholder groups
- Essential One-time Determine the Collaborative Leadership Team’s responsibilities
- Essential One-time Designate an Induction Program Coordinator who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about induction, or who is willing to learn
Second steps: Program Goals, Design, Evaluation, and Resources
Local program design is based on beginning teacher development, support, retention, and improved student learning. The goals are guided by current research on induction, effective practices, Illinois Induction Program Standards, district/school improvement plans (if relevant), and local concerns/context/initiatives.
Program leadership allocates and monitors sufficient resources to meet all goals and deliver program components to all participants. Funding is critical to the induction and mentoring program. However, it can be one of the greatest challenges as budget constraints impact most educational programs. To create and sustain a program, local leadership may consider various activities depending on funding available. For example, the number of workshops or training sessions may need to be limited based on budgets. Compensation for beginning teachers and mentors can go beyond traditional stipends to include advancement on the salary schedule, release from special duties, and other means outside dollar amounts.
These steps should be enacted as soon as the first steps are complete.
- Comprehensive Annual Review research
- Essential Annual Establish program goals
- Comprehensive Annual Design program evaluation
- Essential Annual Create a budget
- Comprehensive One-time Define the roles of every stakeholder
- Essential One-time Determine a timeline for setting up a program
Activities Prior to Academic Year
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 in the Appendix to this guide, 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 improve the induction program.
- Essential Annual Plan and enact administrator training
- Essential One-time Develop selection criteria for mentors and a matching process
- Essential Annual Plan professional development for mentors and beginning teachers
- Essential Annual Establish expectations and processes for the program year
- Essential Annual Conduct initial mentor training
- Essential Annual Plan and implement initial orientation for beginning teachers
- Essential Annual Share program information with the school community and other stakeholders
Activities During the Academic Year
During the school year, mentors, beginning teachers, and administrators all need regular and ongoing professional development. This will ensure that the induction and mentoring program goals/outcomes/expectations are met, that the program maintains momentum, and that program leadership provides responsive support on a consistent basis with a focus on student learning.
- Essential Annual Provide ongoing professional development for beginning teachers
- Comprehensive Annual Provide ongoing professional development for mentors
- Comprehensive Annual Advocate for the program / share program information with the school community and other stakeholders
- Comprehensive Annual Conduct mid-year or ongoing program evaluation
Activities at the End of the Academic Year
It is critical that the end of the academic year be a time for reflection, self-assessment, and continuing the process of ongoing program improvement. While celebrations can reinforce a sense of community and accomplishment, other end-of-year activities can go far to assist program leaders in examining progress and identifying future goals and tasks.
- Comprehensive Annual Implement program evaluation
- Essential Annual Design and implement recognition activities
- Comprehensive Annual Plan for sustainability: looking to the future
- Comprehensive One-time Provide transition for new program leaders