The Teacher Mentor Program (TMP) is a collaborative effort between Community Unit School District 201 and the Westmont Teachers’ Association. Through this program all teachers new to the profession and/or District will receive the assistance of a mentor during the first year of their employment.
Through the TMP, District 201 will achieve these goals:
- Provide new teachers with individual assistance to learn about district and school routines, paperwork and structures.
- Ensure that each new teacher develops a personal relationship with an exemplary teacher who can answer instructional questions, give advice, and discuss student and classroom issues as they arise.
- Help new teachers develop skills and learn strategies through special meetings and staff development activities throughout the first two years of teaching.
- Give exemplary teachers the opportunity to share their expertise with those new to the profession.
- Provide opportunities for new teachers to be members of a Professional Learning Community.
- Support teacher quality and improve teaching performance.
- Maintain a high rate of retention among new employees.
With these ideas in mind, the TMP was created through a collaborative effort between interested teachers and administrators. The committee has laid the foundation upon which the program will be constructed and allowed to evolve. After new guidelines from the state were developed, revisions to the program were made in the spring of 2003 for implementation beginning in the 2003-2004 school year. Feedback provided by participants has led to annual program revisions.
The TMP is a two-year program. The first year of the TMP focuses on information and support that will assist in inducting the teacher into the district and the instructional beliefs and priorities of CUSD 201. The second year of the program is tailored to the specific needs of the teacher, with a focus on continued professional growth and participation in a professional learning community.
The Level One TMP includes the following:
- A two day orientation before the school year begins
- Assignment of an individual mentor & consistent meetings between mentor/ protégé
- Formal quarterly meetings and informal contact between the mentor and protégé are designed to help the new teacher with the daily routines of the classroom and should focus on curriculum & instruction and other district priorities for new teachers. Work with the assigned mentor is meant to be the relationship-building portion of the program.
- Collaboration meetings will provide insight into CUSD 201 and opportunities to collaborate with other new teachers and members of the administrative team.
- Protégés will be encouraged to attend district staff development sessions as a way of furthering their knowledge and expertise.