Five school districts in Clatsop and Tillamook counties along with Northwest Regional Education Service District (NWRESD), have joined forces in a new mentor program to provide much needed instructional and emotional support for new teachers. Participation in mentoring programs can help improve the retention of new teachers and renew the enthusiasm and expertise of veteran teachers.
Collectively called the "NORTH COAST CONSORTIA FOR THE OREGON MENTORING GRANT", the program provides a positive induction into the teaching profession and encourages veteran teachers in the two-county area to evaluate their own teaching and collaborate with other teachers whom they wouldn't normally have an opportunity to work with.
County Education Coordinators Kim Durrer (Tillamook) and Paula Mills (Clatsop) have been assisting with the coordination of the financial and reporting responsibilities of the grant, as well as coordinating and leading training sessions for the mentor teachers.
Initial response from the mentees has been overwhelmingly positive. One new teacher reported that one of her interview questions for her district was whether the district had a mentoring program available and that the availability of a mentor was one of the reasons she accepted her position.
The mentors are receiving training from the New Teacher Center through the Oregon Department of Education. Additionally, Kim and Paula are also participating in this high quality training so they can work with the mentors in monthly mentor forums. In total, the mentors will complete seven days of training over the course of the year.
The grant will support nineteen new teachers and their mentors and will continue throughout the 2012-2013 school year, and provided renewal of the grant, will continue in future years.