Mentoring Newsletter

A guide to working with mentees at your school site

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November 2021:

Hello, BPS mentors.


We made it to November! For new teachers, this time of year is a mix of anticipation for the holidays and stress over new challenges at work. Please check out the graph below. Share with your new teachers to hang in there -- their feelings are normal and will start to turn around after winter break!


A couple of reminders for lead mentors to share with your mentoring teams:


  • Schedule observations of new teachers using the data-collection tools and conference forms located on the Induction website. Idea: Use video if there are time constraints.
  • Observation feedback sentence-starters could be: When was learning best? How do you know a strategy helped students learn? What does it look like to be successful in your lesson today?
  • If a teacher has resigned or is on a LOA, it must be notated on the Induction Roster. The Induction Roster is a live document and should be updated if there is a change in staff. Just make sure it's up to date!


Ideas for supporting new teachers through this month:


1.Personal: Discuss the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday with your mentee. If this is the new teacher's first major holiday away from family, brainstorm with them what they might do to minimize the loneliness and make the holiday fun and rewarding. Also, strongly suggest to the new teachers that they walk out the door for Thanksgiving vacation with no school work in hand. We should all use the break to rejuvenate and re-energize.

2. Professional: Check in with your mentee to see if they need assistance in completing forms or requirements for certification. Almost half our new teachers are on temporary certificates. Remind them that emails from Dinah Kramer, Sharon Doucett-Doran, and Lisa Stanley actually ARE intended for them personally.

3. Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Talk to your mentees about what formative assessments they are using on a frequent basis and what feedback those assessments are giving them to tweak their teaching. Many new teachers don’t have a solid grasp on formative assessments so you may have to give a few suggestions (exit slips, teacher questions, etc.) Also, be sure that the new teachers do not fall into the all-day "turkey and Pilgrim" trap in the days leading up to break. Help them make plans to maximize meaningful active learning experiences before Thanksgiving break.

4. Organizational Systems: Keep reviewing efficiency and effectiveness of classroom procedures and identify new procedures that may need to be developed.

5. Students: For secondary teachers – assist new teachers in working with students who ask for letters of recommendation to accompany their college applications. Share some examples of letters others have written.

6. Colleagues: Continue to engage new teachers in collegial analysis and discussion of student achievement and classroom assessment data. Also if possible, identify colleagues who would be willing to have your mentee observe in their classroom for a period. Observing two or three procedures/skills/transitions done well by a veteran teacher is one of the most impactful ways that new teachers learn and make changes in their own classrooms.

7. School Systems: Discuss leave, student absenteeism and the student make-up work policy surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday.

8. Parents and Community: Remind your mentee that multiple positive and productive parental contacts before report cards are sent home can reduce questions about grades.

*Special Education teachers: Check in with the new ESE teachers to ensure that their system for interacting on a regular basis with each of the general education teachers and other educators working with their students is working. Have them share evidence of successful collaboration.


Enjoy Veteran's Day off and, if you are a veteran, thank you for your service. Additionally, have a peaceful Thanksgiving holiday. We in BPS' Professional Learning and Development department are so thankful for you!


- Bridget Reed

reed.bridget@brevardschools.org


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

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⭐⭐⭐Mentor/Mentee Spotlight ⭐⭐⭐

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Sunrise Elementary School

Sunrise's Lead Mentor, Tanya Brown, planned for a "Selfie Challenge" after the last mentor/mentee meeting. The mentors and mentees scurried around the school to complete tasks together. "They LOVED it!" Way to go, Tanya, for creating a fun way to get your teams together and build relationships! The game sheet is included below -- check out how you could could implement something similar with your team.


"This is the second year I have been fortunate enough to have Nancy Avers as my mentor, I could not have asked for a better mentor. Nancy is always willing to answer any questions, is extremely kind and patient. She shares beneficial ideas and opinions with me. Nancy takes the time out of her busy schedule to make sure I understand a new process or skill. She is very approachable. I am always comfortable asking her questions or sharing any concerns. I cannot thank her enough for being such an amazing mentor and role model."


- Kimberly Mello, Mentee


"Kim has always been driven to develop her skills as a teacher. She came to us from another school as Media Assistant in September 2020 and has been eagerly taking extra time after school and during the weekends to develop and learn the skills required to become a teacher in Brevard County. Kim has a wonderful rapport with people of all ages, especially children. She has the ability to connect with her students teaching them simple concepts, as well as more advanced topics. She also has excellent written and verbal communication skills with parents, students and staff members at our school. Kim accomplishes all these tasks with great initiative and with a positive attitude. Not only is she a coworker working in the same grade level as myself but she has become a dear friend as well. "

- Nancy Avers, Mentor

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Jackson Middle School

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"I try to inspire my students to go above and beyond in my Spanish class -- to foster an appreciation for other cultures and be a lifelong learner. Melissa Seli has encouraged me every step of the way in this journey."

-Andrew West, Mentee and

Brevard's Rookie Teacher of the Year


Andrew West is an excellent beginning teacher with a real gauge for his students' needs. He meets his students where they are and pushes them to heights without them even realizing it. You walk in his Spanish 1 class and he is giving instructions in Spanish. The students are doing the work without even realizing how much they are comprehending. He really is an incredible educator and the students at Jackson are fortunate to have him!

- Melissa Seli

Mentor

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Satellite High School

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"Having a mentee is a great experience for me as it allows me to help another teacher prepare for classes and the education field. Ms. Henderson is a great teacher and strives to be her best every day for herself and her students."

- Deb Austin, Mentor


"Having a mentor as a first-year teacher has been very beneficial to my teaching. Observing Mrs. Austin teach and having weekly conversations about best practices has made me a more confident teacher and has allowed me to tweak my teaching to better serve my students. I am grateful for the mentor-mentee relationship!"

- Shelby Henderson, Mentee



"Taking on the Lead Mentor position has been quite the learning experience for me this year, but it’s teachers like these two ladies that keep the positivity rolling!! Not only do they teach two completely different subjects, but they also teach two opposite sides of the spectrum of students. Good teaching is just good teaching! Not only is Ms. Austin a leader at our school, but a phenomenal teacher to any student who walks into her room. She LIVES differentiated instruction. Satellite's new teacher, Ms. Henderson, had some very large shoes to fill and let’s just say it’s a great fit! 😊 SHS is so lucky to have both of these teachers and I can’t wait to see how much Ms. Henderson grows with the support of a phenomenal mentor! Sting ‘em Scorps!"


- Rebecca Kamlet, Lead Mentor

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