Mentoring Newsletter

A guide to working with mentees at your school site

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December 2021:

Hello, BPS mentors.


I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was enjoyable! Winter break will be here before we know it. In the meantime, as mentors, we need to be aware that our new teachers can be at one of the lowest points in the school year as far as emotions. Please, lead mentors and mentors, make sure you are connecting and talking with your mentees. This is a really busy time of year for everyone, but please take more time than the "how's it going?" moment in the hallway to see how your mentee is doing. Before winter break, schedule a time to reflect on the first semester -- what has worked and where things need to be tweaked starting in January. Let your mentees know that January can be a clean slate for classroom management with implementing and consistently monitoring polices and procedures. January is also the start of the upswing in new teacher attitudes!


A quote to reflect on from the late Paula Rutherford, the guru of new-teacher mentoring:

"It is that time of the year when new teachers are in The Slump. Despite our best mentoring efforts, they are in a perfectly normal down cycle. What they desperately need to know is that all new teachers are experiencing the same sense of inadequacy, that this is a normal stage, that it will most likely get a bit worse before it gets better, and that it will get a great deal better in the not-too-distant future.


And, keep reassuring the new teachers that feeling the way they do is absolutely normal and that it will get better! They need to hear that over and over!"


1. Personal: Help new teachers be aware that conflicting priorities and possible concerns about money, family, and holiday arrangements are normal at this point. The pandemic has also added an additional stress to planning for winter break.


2. Professional: Make some popcorn and watch a videotaped teaching episode with your mentee. Professional Learning & Development has many quick video selections that showcase "Distinguished" elements from our IPPAS evaluation. These video clips are from our own Brevard county classrooms and can assist you in pointing out ideas and strategies for your new teacher. These videos are great to use when mentees say they don't know what a particular evaluative element or strategy looks like. Contact me for the video link!


3. Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Explain that the days before the winter break have the potential to be lost instructional time. Guide them in planning meaningful and engaging learning experiences while being mindful of the conflicting demands on student family time outside of school.


4. Organizational Systems: Discuss the dilemma of the piles of papers that have accumulated on shelves, in boxes, and on the edge of desks. Give the gift of plastic garbage bags and help the new teachers figure out what to throw away and what to file.


5. Students: A.) Advise your mentees that the holidays can be either joyful or stressful for students and that either emotion can negatively impact their focus on school and learning. B.) Instruct the new teachers to be sensitive to the religious and ethnic diversity of the students so that they will not make references to only the celebrations in which they participate. C.) Let new teachers know NOT to penalize students for decisions made by adult family members about school attendance. Help your new teacher navigate in this area.


6. Colleagues: Ask colleagues to assist in providing moral support to new teachers who are going through “the slump” and need personal and professional support.


7. School Systems: A.) Go over policies for holiday decorations, celebrations, and gifts. B.) Preview semester exam policies and procedures.


8. Parents and Community: Alert new teachers about the various religious holidays, rituals, and festivities, in which students, parents, and community members engage. New teachers from other areas of the country may well be unaware of all the significant religious observances that occur during this time period.


*Special Educators: Review systems for documenting student progress and assist in revision or refinement as necessary. Use student work to analyze actual student progress.


As always, thank you so much for your hard work in supporting our new teachers. Have a wonderful holiday season!


-Bridget Reed

reed.bridget@brevardschools.org


Breakdown and suggestions taken from Paula Rutherford's Just Ask Publications

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⭐⭐⭐Mentor/Mentee Spotlight ⭐⭐⭐

Astronaut High School

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"Callie has been a lifesaver in my classroom. She has helped me tremendously and continues to support and help me when needed. I’m glad to be here at AHS and I’m glad to have Callie for my mentor. She’s made the transition into teaching an easy one, even during a pandemic."

-Bob Cankar, Mentee, Astronaut High School

"Bob Cankar came to AHS last year as our welding teacher. Coming from industry, he had no experience in a high school classroom. It’s been a pleasure to support him and help him learn the ropes of teaching and welcoming him into the War Eagle family. He’s done so much for our school with his success in the welding classroom."

-Callie Williams, Lead Mentor, Astronaut High School

Madison Middle School

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"Todd Duocimo has been amazing in providing me with advice in helping students comprehend passages, as well as consolation amid difficulties. In addition, he introduced me to the excellent CRISS program, which helps me in lesson planning."

-Francesco Rosati, Mentee, Madison Middle School

"This year I was assigned to mentor a fellow ELA teacher, Mr. Francesco Rosati. He is a dedicated teacher who, despite all of the challenges we face during this pandemic, is flourishing. My support to him has ranged from teaching and modeling instructional strategies to simply listening and empathizing."

-Todd Duocimo, Mentor, Madison Middle School

*Information provided by Lead Mentor Kelli Mastroianni

Holland Elementary School

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"Stephanie Terry and I collaborate and dig into the BEST Benchmarks. We meet to brainstorm ideas for centers and look at student data and determine next steps. Being a mentor has been a great experience connecting with Stephanie and supporting her on her journey in teaching. We have not only formed a trust and professional relationship, but a bond of friendship. Sometimes new mentees just need a someone to listen."

-Tonya Smith, Mentor, Holland Elementary School

*Information provided by Lead Mentor Judy Vizzini

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Clinical Educator Training (CET) Registration - Second Semester 2022

Share this with teachers you know who are looking for leadership opportunities and will be strong mentors! CET will be offered as a Canvas online course for second semester beginning on January 18, 2022 and ending on March 22, 2022. The course will consist of two modules and three virtual meetings to discuss content and practice skills. Participants will be expected to complete the online coursework and attend all three virtual meetings.

Interested instructional staff, such as teachers, school-based coaches, and school counselors need to complete an application form, included with the Leadership Team Memo dated November 29, as part of the CET registration process. Return completed forms to Linda Buffum, Department of Professional Learning and Development, with principal signature. CET is considered the first step in our Teacher Leadership Program and will give participants opportunities to build coaching and feedback skills to support new teacher development. Completed and signed applications will be considered according to the date received, until the session is filled. Registration will close on Thursday, January 13, 2022. Those teachers selected to attend will then be registered in ProGOE and sent a confirmation email.

The following are prerequisites to participate in this training:

· Administrative approval

· Effective or higher evaluation score on the 2020-21 Summative 1

· Completion of 3 years of successful classroom teaching either in Florida or another state

· Valid Florida Professional Teaching Certificate (Check the H507 screen in AS400 for certification)

For questions, please contact Linda Buffum at buffum.linda@brevardschools.org or at 321-633-1000 Ext 11262.

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