Mentoring Newsletter

A guide to working with mentees at your school site

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August 2021

Welcome to the new school year! Thank you for your continued mentoring support in our district. If you are new to the mentoring team, we are so glad to have you on board! We have had a great turnout for the virtual lead mentor kick-off sessions – lots of good questions and discussion of mentoring plans. Thanks for sharing that information with your school's mentoring team!


Professional Learning and Development did a spring 2021 survey of our administrators, mentors, and mentees regarding BPS' new teacher support, and I want to share with you some of the results. We use this data to monitor our PD offerings, to aid in recruitment and retention, and to share between departments and our stakeholders. Thank you for giving your input!


· 95.5% of mentees felt supported by their mentors last year! This number continues to rise every year. Way to go!

· 69% of you are meeting 30 minutes a week, 18% are meeting an hour a week, and 10% are meeting 2-3 hours. This number from last year is amazing due to the e-learning challenges everyone faced and the time constraints.

· 58% of mentees were observed by the mentor two or more times - up from 54% the previous year., and 14% were never observed by their mentor down from 18.5% from the previous year. Both numbers heading in the right direction! The observation feedback is so important for our mentees to strengthen their skills. Here's to more opportunities to support our new teachers in this area this year!

· 64.9% of new teachers feel strongly in their FEAPS competency and 33% state they have room to grow.

· 63% of new teachers feel their greatest strength is classroom management (up from last year's 54%). BUT 68.3% of mentors state this is the single greatest challenge for their new teachers. This dichotomy is one we need to be aware of as mentors when working with our mentees. 81.2% of mentees felt confident in their mentor’s ability to support them in this area. We will continue to address this dimension throughout the school year.


I have more data but don’t want to bog you down with it. If you have any specific questions about the survey, reach out to me and I will share. The numbers are really looking good though - even in a challenging year! This is all due to your hard work - thank you so much.


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I have broken down the tips for this time period like I did in previous years. You do not have to do all – just pick a few on which to focus.


· One area to really target right now, outside of establishing a great working relationship, is your mentee’s lesson plans. We have many temporary-certificate teachers who have never taught. They do not have the pacing down, and a quick look at their lesson plans will let you know if they have enough going on to keep students engaged in learning. Even if they are a new graduate with a professional certificate, please check out their plans for any lapses.


· Go over your mentee's classroom management before the first day of school. Explain that the best management program is a strong lesson plan! Model and practice a few protocols/procedures while no students are in the room – how to greet students at the door, how your mentee will talk about expectations for the upcoming year, how your mentee will go over the classroom procedures, their voice, their tone.


1. Personal: Most of you will have already met and welcomed your new mentees to your school. If you have not, contact them as soon as possible to introduce yourself and our program. If signups for additional duties are still circulating the school, discourage your new teacher from volunteering – at least in the first semester. Remember, they don’t know what they don’t know!

2. Professional: A) Explain the induction and mentoring program. Include what the new teacher can expect from you and the new teacher’s responsibilities as well. B) Be a role model by always speaking professionally about administrative staff, support staff, and other teachers. At this time, Covid numbers have not fully stabilized and some teachers may feel a bit unsettled. If they sense you are really stressed out, they will be too.

3. Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Debrief district and school curriculum meetings. Some terms and examples may have no meaning for the new teacher.

4. Organizational Systems: A) Set up a card file, three-ring binder, or online communication system to provide the novice teacher organization tips throughout the year. B) Discuss strategies for organizing the paperwork and emails to and from parents as well as school and district offices.

5. Students: A) Work with the new teacher to identify necessary procedures and routines. B) Discuss the importance of community-building activities during the first week.

6. Colleagues: Explain the support services available and provide a list of the names of providers at the school and district level.

7. School Systems: Review procedures for fire drills and school crisis plans.

8. Parents and Community: Explain the importance of early home contact and assist the new teacher in thinking through how to establish positive partnerships with parents. We are still in somewhat of an unprecedented time, with emotions possibly running high, so going over how to establish professional discussions with parents may have to be modeled.

*Special Educators: Model and/or co-facilitate an IEP meeting.


Thanks -- and here's to a great 2021/22 school year! 💚


-Bridget Reed

reed.bridget@brevardschools.org


Focus area topics taken from Paula Rutherford's Just Ask Publications

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Here We Go - The Anticipation Stage!

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🍎New Teacher Academy July 2021🍎

We had over 225 new teachers take part in our New Teacher Academy during a two-day period July 26th and 27th. What an amazing group of new teachers! Lisa Stanley, the Professional Learning and Development team, and several district content and resource specialists worked hard to equip our newest colleagues with as much information and applicable strategies to hit the ground running in our schools. Awesome job!

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🎯🎯 New Lead Mentor Training 🎯🎯


All new Lead Mentor teachers will be required to attend an informational virtual training. Any other Lead Mentor teachers who may have missed last year’s training due to acquiring the position later in the school year, are also welcome to attend. Register by signing up for only ONE of the sessions listed. Please contact Linda Buffum at (321)633-1000 ext 11262 or buffum.linda@brevardschools.org if you have any questions.

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💡 Mentoring Program Spotlight 💡

From Patti Fox, lead mentor at Palm Bay Magnet High School:


"PBMHS hosted our first New Teacher Meet & Greet. This is the first year we have only new BPS transfer teachers and not any new teachers to either the field or BPS! The year-two teachers attended and everyone was able to get to know one another. I gave teachers "survival bags" with healthy snacks and waters to get them through pre-planning, let them shop in our Teacher Supply Room and handed out Pirate gear! Looking forward to a great year of collaboration!"


Way to go, Patti, and the PBMHS mentors and mentees!

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💚💚💚 The Resilient Teacher 💚💚💚

Check out Dr. Bryan Harris' blog for more powerful insights and strategies in strengthening your wellbeing and reducing stress: https://www.bryan-harris.com/blog.


Below is a sampling of his ideas. What a great mindset to have when starting out the school year!

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