The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 23, 2004


Mentoring programs support teachers

"Carlisle's Induction Program adds an extraordinary benefit to the teachers and classroom and continuity of the strong curriculum," Stephen Bober, seventh grade language arts teacher and advocate for the mentoring program, told the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) Wednesday, January 7. Of 12 new teachers in 1997, only four remain; three remain of the new teachers hired in 1998. Thirty-five new teachers have been hired in the last four years. He feels the induction program will help to sustain a teacher's success rate in the Carlisle School. "Expectations are high in Carlisle," said Bober. " It is important to make the newcomers feel welcome."

"There are two categories of teachers, brand new and experienced, coming into the Carlisle School," said Bober. "Brand new teachers greatly benefit from a trained mentor. Carlisle has eight on its faculty who have gone through a training program to provide the appropriate assistance to make a first-year teacher feel welcome and confident in a new environment." Carlisle also hires experienced teachers whose needs are different and whose transition into the Carlisle School community can be helped by a Guide.

Assistance takes the form of help in all aspects of the Carlisle School; professional, curriculum, classroom management, record keeping, communication and cultural. Both the Mentors and Guides work to "promote the professional development of new teaching staff by fostering collegiality, encourage reflective practices, and creating a culture of support within a community of learners," said Bober in his report.

More specifically, the Mentors and Guides in the Induction Program provide instructional, professional and personal support for the new teachers. The relationship between the Guide and Mentor and the new teacher is confidential. It includes peer observation and serves as a liaison between other professionals within the school system. Mentors and Guides meet individually and regularly with the new teachers who are asked to keep a reflective journal. At least ten other meetings are scheduled throughout the year to provide help with everything from report cards to student support services to student placement.

CSC Member Suzanne Whitney Smith questioned Bober on the response to the program. Bober felt it was very positive. "The program has evolved over the past three years. It started with a steering committee and now a formal program has been put in place. The question is how many teachers did the school lose that it wanted to keep." Superintendent Fox-Melanson said that there is a "complete distinction between a teachers' employment evaluation and the mentoring program." Bober went on to say that the culture of the Carlisle School demands a high level of performance and encourages teachers both new and old to continue to grow in their profession. The mentoring program builds relationships to assure success. CSC member Nicole Burkel said, "It is a great experience. The children don't know how lucky they are."

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito