NEWS

 

State Education Board wants mentoring

and induction for novice teachers

Early support helps retain teachers, saves local districts money – McGee

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     FOR INFORMATION, CALL

October 23, 2000                                    (217) 782-4648 or (312) 814-3490

 

Springfield – New teachers would receive special assistance in their first three years on the job when such support is most needed, under an induction and mentoring program proposed by the State Board of Education.

 

The State Board at its regular monthly meeting voted to seek legislation and funding to implement a three-year program with actual induction, mentoring and other appropriate support starting in fall 2002.

 

The proposed program would cost about $48 million for all four years of initial implementation. That figure includes $5 million for one year of planning and training of mentors and local administrators in the 2001-2002 school year. Once fully implemented, State Board officials do not expect the program to cost more than $20 million a year. Each new teacher would receive three full years of induction, mentoring and support.

 

If approved by the General Assembly, the program could also save local school districts millions of dollars spent annually searching for and replacing teachers who leave the job after only a few years.

 

“Teachers have the most direct, critical impact on our students,” said State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee.

 

“To ensure that Illinois education is truly Second to None, we must keep the best teachers in our classrooms. To do that, we must do everything we can to support our teachers in their first, crucial years,” he said.

 

“We strongly believe that an induction and mentoring program will help us retain quality teachers and retain them in the districts where they are most needed.”

 

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The first years of teaching are often the most difficult and harrowing, according to teachers. One in five Illinois teachers leave the job in their first three years, including about 13 percent between their first and second years, State Board research shows.

 

Mentoring and induction programs can significantly reduce the number of teachers who leave the profession in the first several years on the job, according to several national studies.

 

Research also clearly shows that early mentoring improves teacher effectiveness, and that increased teacher effectiveness leads to higher student achievement.

 

Studies show that school districts nationwide spend between $4,000 and $50,000 to replace each new teacher lost. Using the $4,000 figure – which experts caution is very conservative – an effective induction and mentoring program could save Illinois school districts about $10 million annually.

 

The proposed induction and mentoring program would cost the state about $2,250 per new teacher over the three-year period -- $1,000 the first year, $750 the second year and $500 the third year.

 

State Board officials project about 8,500 new teachers will start teaching in the 2002-2003 school year, when the mentoring program would actually start. To save money and to evaluate the program’s effectiveness, the State Board decided that only first-year teachers would participate the program’s first year.

 

The State Board’s proposed plan would require local school districts to develop and implement a three-year induction and mentoring program to be incorporated into the local school improvement plan.

 

The first two years, local districts would provide mentoring, resource development, classroom management skills and other support to the novice teacher. The State Board, in cooperation with local districts and higher education, would develop opportunities for deeper study in content and instructional techniques.

 

The second year would also include training in the development of a portfolio -- an important, mandatory component aimed at encouraging personal and professional reflection and assessment. In their third year, teachers would work on completing their portfolios.

 

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