Mentor Minute

Focused on the Support and Development of District Mentoring

Why Mentor?

"Mastery is the reaching not the arriving. It's in constantly wanting to close that gap between where you are and where you want to be. Success motivates us, but a near win can propel us in an ongoing quest." Teachers need support while embracing the "near win" and so do Mentors!
Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win

Why Do We Mentor? This is what some of your fellow Mentors said....

I mentor because I love sharing ideas, programs and productive shortcuts that allow therapists to grow and remain excited about reaching some of the most challenging students.

I mentor because I care!

I mentor because I can offer help, understanding and support to new teachers. I remember the first few years as a beginner teacher. SCARY!!!! Thank goodness I had fellow colleagues that were there to help me whenever I needed it. These days is only more stress, more demands and more responsibility on teachers (that sounded like I am a hundred years old!) WE all need support, now more than ever, to become the best teachers we can be.

I mentor because I have a love for Woonsocket and have a lot of institutional memory. When I began teaching in Woonsocket there were many seasoned teachers who guided me and made me feel comfortable. This is my way of giving back and hopefully doing the same for a new professional in the system.

I mentor because I enjoy the excitement of new teachers. I learn so much from them and from other mentors. This keeps me enthusiastic about my teaching. I hope I help my mentees get over the rough spots of their first few year!

I mentor because I remember how insecure and inadequate I felt when I first taught a class of my own. I also remember how much I would have enjoyed having someone there to confide on, to give me expert advice, and to guide me throughout my first year of teaching in the classroom. I mentor because I enjoy helping my fellow teachers become the best teachers that they can. I mentor because I truly love my job and enjoy helping others in the profession.

Don't forget to "hang out" in our Woonsocket Mentor Google Community for informative and inspiring up to date resources, information and personal stories!

It's February: How can I Support my Mentor?

Continue to Check-in. Perhaps the easiest and most consistent way to support your Mentee is by checking in! February may be a good month to look back at previous check-ins. Did your Mentee mention any past challenges that you may want to revisit. Has time made a difference with these challenges and if not, what might be the game plan?

Set a goal. Is there an activity, an area of the classroom, or a daunting task that your Mentee has been putting off or has been eager to tackle. Can you be a support to them in accomplishing this goal? It may be a word wall or leveling some classroom books! It may be desk arrangement or creating student portfolios. Perhaps its creating a teacher report card to get feedback from students. Whatever the task may be, your support will be valuable and appreciated!

Support Organization and Preparation. If your Mentee hasn't already done so, encourage them to create a system in which they house documents and evidence to support the components of the evaluation. If they collect and store accordingly as they go along throughout the year, it will make the process easier to manage. A well organized and complete system will make for a useful portfolio and a showcase of their great work.

Be a cheerleader! Remember the Phases of a First Year Teacher (although we all know that it goes for all of us!). Remind your Mentee that research shows that they are on their way to rejuvenation. Its all uphill from here!

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February Mentor Tips!

Did we forget to mention that with Rejuvenation comes "pink slips?" Yes, I think we did. It is a good possibility that many of your Mentees received a pink slip during this first round of distribution. So what now?

A few Mentors reached out to share concerns and questions regarding supporting their Mentee through the lay off process. Your thoughts were shared with our program leaders and their responses are shared here:

  • Termination notices are an administrative decision and a management right, so Mentors should not be answering questions. They should support the teachers who are turning to them with collegial empathy, but should direct the teachers to pose their questions to their building administrator and/or Human Resources.
  • Teachers can also turn to the Guild.
  • For non-tenured teachers, the evaluation is one part of the decision-making process. Building administrators can rely on daily interactions and observations for non-tenured teachers as well as the formal evaluation process. The timelines for the two things do not necessarily coincide because we have to send the letters out by March 1 for cause.
  • The new hire PD is exactly that - PD. We spent the entire time helping them understand the evaluation process and the rubrics against which they are evaluated. We did not get into pink slips or the process. Rather we talked about what good teaching looks like, sounds like, and is defined as based on the rubric.
  • Perhaps it is something the Guild might hold a session on?
  • The building administrator is most often the evaluator. When the building administrator is not the evaluator, the two are sharing information (at least that is the case as the system is designed). All building administrators have access to the EPSS files of every teacher in their building.
  • As to how the mentor and mentee can effectively communicate - I would suggest that they go through the building administrator anyway and bring up the observation results to him or her. Again, the building administrators have access to the EPSS files for all teachers and support professionals in their buildings.

Hoping this information is helpful to you in moving forward with your Mentee. If you need further support or have a specific question, you are encouraged to reach out to your building administrator or to contact Linda Filomeno or Jenny Chan-Remka

February's Featured Tool: Evaluation Rubrics

This month, let's revisit a tool that is familiar to us! Back in October, you were encouraged to begin in-depth conversations with your Mentee about PGGs, SLOs, SOOS and Rubrics. February is a great time to revisit these things, particularly the rubrics!

Click here to view the Innovation Evaluation Model Descriptors of Practice/Rubrics or here to view Practice/Rubrics for Support Personnel.

February Mentor Goal: Self Reflection

Begin another (or try for the first time if you have not had the chance to do so already) deep exploration by asking your Mentee to look over the rubrics that go along with each standard. Focus on the Effective column! Ask them to break out a highlighter and facilitate a bit of self-rating. Be sure to then take time to reflect with them on their ratings. Ask your Mentee how he or she might show evidence to support that rating. To what do they contribute their success or increase in rating? If a certain area has stayed the same since their last self reflection, try to facilitate a goal setting conversation to help him or her bring their teaching and learning to that next level. For those of you that have done this already with your Mentee, discuss any big changes in ratings.

If looking at the entire rubric is overwhelming, narrow your focus to one standard. Using the rubrics to guide reflective conversations can be very valuable. Rating ourselves on the rubric can allow for easy goal setting, a celebration of success, an evidence based way to show a need for growth (Think: If you feel as though the are rating themselves will ask, "tell me some of the evidence you might present to support this rating."), and the opportunity to become very familiar with the tool that outlines effective teaching and learning on which they are assessed.

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Kickin it Old School!

Remember when you used to show up at work and "punch in" on the time was green and you had this manilla card you had to insert before pushing down that long black button. Hopefully you never had to rely on your friend to get that card in there before it was too late!

Well your time sheet is the new time clock and its important that you fill that sheet out properly so here are a few reminders....

The time sheet is the documentation we need for fiscal oversight of the Mentor/Induction Supplemental Program. On the time sheet you must check off:

  • The school(s) of your mentees. (For most of you, this is the same as your own school. One or two of you may be servicing teachers in other schools)
  • You must also check off the funding source:
  • Title II - Next to the words "Title II" write in Mentor/Demo Teacher (or in the white space below the section entitled "Workshops")
  • Under "Workshops" - please check off "Trainer"
  • In the appropriate areas, write in the date and your start and end times. Remember - you cannot be paid during school hours. Those are different for each of you depending on the school in which you work.
  • Total the number of hours in the appropriate boxes.
  • In the area entitled "Work performed" - you must describe the work you did. You may not simply write "Mentor". Some examples:
  • Met with mentee to review lesson planning to standards
  • Reviewed classroom management strategies with mentee
  • Professional development - Reviewed Mentor Minute, identified strategies for use with mentee
  • Professional development - Attended Mentor session on _______
  • Prepared to work with mentee - reviewed Chapter 5 of book Results Coaching
  • At the bottom of the time sheet, total your hours. Write in your "Rate of Pay" ($35/hour). There is no "prep" calculated for mentor work. You may, however, put for time you prepare for work with your mentee at the $35 as seen above (e.g.Prepared to work with mentee - reviewed Chapter 5 of book Results Coaching).

Got it? Great! Please reach out to Linda or Jenny with any questions.

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Teaching Partner Request Update: From the Desk of the Assistant Superintendent...

After discussing with the principals, they all agreed that the mentors can submit requests directly to me except one school (Globe). Since the majority of the principals are ok with this, please let the mentors know they can now submit directly to my office. However, please note that:

  • Mentors must notify their building principal prior to submitting the requests.
  • Requests must be made Every Friday (By 12:00pm) for the following week.
  • Requests that are made one or two days before the date of teaching partners needed will not be granted.

February PD: Dates, Times and Locations

This Mentor Minute IS our professional development. You are encouraged to read it thoroughly, utilize the tools, and share any helpful resources with your Mentees.

Monthly drop-in opportunities will be offered from 2:30-5:00 in Villa Nova to discuss anything pertaining to the Mentor Minute such as the tools. We might also use this time to reflect, problem pose/solve, plan, set goals, etc,. Please RSVP at any point leading up to that day so I know who and how many to expect. These sessions are NOT MANDATORY rather a resource to you should you need the support. If you are in need of immediate support or can not make one of the dates listed below and would like to plan an alternative meeting, please email me at

  • March 10th
  • April 14th (13th for WHS and WACT Mentors)
  • May 12th

Quarterly meetings ARE MANDATORY and will also take place in Villa Nova from 2:30-4:30 for MS and HS Mentors and from 3:30-5:30 for Elementary Mentors. While during the first and last hour we will be in smaller groups, the middle hour will provide us with shared time during which we will meet as an entire group of district Mentors! You will receive an agenda prior our meeting.

Please mark your calendar with these dates:

  • March 31st

  • June 2nd