At a Glance
In order to support new instructors as they navigate instructional, administrative and other professional demands during their first two years of teaching, the faculty at the Career and Technology Center of Lackawanna developed and implemented the Mentor/Protégé Program.
Developed through a collaboration between administration and instructional staff, the Career and Technology Center of Lackawanna (CTCLC) Mentor/Protégé Program is designed to support new instructors as they transition into teaching. The program covers six conceptual areas:
- Classroom management,
- School operations,
- Understanding special needs students’ needs,
- Understanding CTC student populations,
- Understanding CTE, and
- Professional conduct.
For each area, there is a checklist of topics to be addressed. As the new instructor (protégé) completes each checklist, it is expected that they will have a collection of related evidence and resources for their professional portfolio. Protégés are required to keep meeting logs which include date, time, and topics reviewed/discussed. Mentors are required to submit time sheets identifying the protégé name, date, and time spent.
A protégé is matched to a mentor based on the needs of the instructor and the strengths of the mentor as dictated by the new teacher’s most urgent need. A protégé may be paired with several mentors over the course of the two-year program depending on the new instructor’s needs. To become a mentor, instructors must meet extensive qualifications, obtain both peer and administrative recommendations, and submit an application to CTCLC’s Professional Development Committee. The Committee’s recommendations are forwarded to the Administrative Director for final approval. Protégés and their mentors are compensated through a negotiated MOU agreement (see “Supporting Files”).
Origin / Implementation
CTCLC urgently needed to find a way to help attract and retain new CTE faculty. Given the amount of work, responsibility, stress, and expectations that new instructors often take on during their first two years of teaching, the administration realized the need to support them during this professional transition time.
CTCLC’s Professional Development Committee developed the Mentor/Protégé program during the summer of 2015. The program required, and received, school board approval as a new policy and a Memo of Understanding was created with the professional teachers’ association before it could be implemented. The program was first implemented in October 2015.
All new instructors are required to participate in the program. Current instructors who have not completed the requirements for Vocational I certification prior to the program implementation were also required (by the Professional Development Committee) to participate in the program. Protégés may complete each checklist and the overall program at a pace that is deemed appropriate for them by their mentor(s). Final sign-off on each checklist occurs after a meeting between the mentor, protégé, and Administrative Director, during which the checklist is reviewed and discussed.
Results / Impact
Since the program was implemented, all new instructors have been retained. This level of retention did not occur in the previous year. Informal discussions suggest that new instructors find the program to be one of the most supportive professional activities in which they participate.
At the conclusion of the 2015-16 school year (the first year of implementation) the mentors and protégés met for a half day of debriefing and evaluation. The administrative team was invited in at the end of the meeting to hear the critiques, accomplishments, and recommendations for improvement. A committee of mentors/protégés and administrators will meet in July 2016 to revise the program to incorporate improvements and recommendations.
The Career and Technology Center of Lackawanna County
Thomas Baileys, Ed. D., Administrative Director