Mentoring Newsletter

A guide to working with mentees at your school site

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October 2021

Hello, BPS mentors.

I can't believe how many team and mentor meetings I have joined that are so full of ideas and strategies being shared by new teachers and veterans. Way to go! The positive dynamics in the meetings are worth a closer look because I have watched many of our skillful mentors guide the meetings toward specific instructional and learning-goal discussions while allowing feelings and views to be heard. This is not an easy skill -- especially when many teachers are feeling overwhelmed, and a few are edging toward burnout. How do these mentors keep the discussions on track and not allow the talk to go down rabbit holes? The mentor listens first, then goes down the path of problem-solving alongside their colleague.

Key observed points:

· The mentor physically and mentally tuning in when the new teacher says she/he was struggling

· The mentor listening carefully

· The mentor asking open-ended questions that guide the new teacher toward the core issue

· The mentor not telling the new teacher what to do

· Instead, the mentor partnering with the new teacher in finding solutions

· And the mentor helping the new teacher think of any additional resources that could help in the situation

These positive interactions have allowed new teachers to walk out of meetings feeling encouraged and empowered. This is so important during this phase of a new teacher's year and in the times we are living. Sometimes, just having an empathetic ear is what is needed.

In this edition, I'm asking you to focus on a few areas that you judge to be the most important:

1. Personal: Monitor new teachers for fatigue and disillusionment. Refer to the first year phases graph below. Check in with your mentees and truly listen to how they are doing. Encourage a teacher who is feeling exhausted to take some time for themselves. This may mean using a personal day to re-energize. Substitutes are very difficult to find right now but if your new teacher is right on the edge of burnout, this might be a proactive move toward a rejuvenation that will take him/her through the the rest of this semester.

2. Professional: Ensure your mentees are feeling informed and ready for the first round of formal observations.

3. Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Introduce new teachers to the cumulative records and the student data on their students. Most new teachers will not have had the chance to access the cumulative records yet or understand the importance of that data.

4. Organizational Systems: Discuss time management both at school and during the after-school hours.

5. Students: Discuss concerns about students who are struggling and identify interventions that might work. Also, make sure you discuss student behaviors around Halloween and what they can expect the Monday after Halloween if there has been a lot of candy and hoopla.

6. Colleagues: Arrange a meeting of classroom teachers and the ESE teachers who support the learning of ESE students in the classroom. Design an agenda that helps the two get to know each other on a personal level and for each to better know how to make connections between the two programs for the learners.

7. School Systems: Discuss the school holiday policies with an emphasis on how Halloween is handled.

8. Parents and Community: Do a room tour and help your new teacher see the classroom through the eyes of administrators coming in for observations. Ensure that learning standards and student work dominate.

*Special Educators: Review the first few IEPs prepared by the new teachers and provide feedback on accuracy and completeness of document.

Thank you. You mean more to your new teachers than you will ever know! 💚

-Bridget Reed

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

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⭐⭐⭐Mentor/Mentee Spotlight ⭐⭐⭐

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"I will never forget my very first day in S.O.S when Ms.Tucci's eyes brightened when she saw me for the very first time. She said three things to me and, I promise, my worries faded away. She said to me, 'I got you.' That's all I needed to hear."

Ja'Liyah Durham-Ellis​, mentee

Apollo Elementary School

"Ja'liyah is a shining superstar. She comes to work every day with a smile on her face and goes above and beyond for the school and her students. Her classroom is warm and inviting. Jaliyah is a natural at classroom management. At any time you can walk into her classroom and they are quiet and on task. She is an AMAZING Kindergarten teacher!"

Michelle Tucci, mentor

Apollo Elementary School

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Jefferson Middle School's lead mentor, Jonell Clevenger, writes that mentor Brenda Sorensen has been doing a phenomenal job meeting and supporting her mentees. One of her mentees, Sydney Rosseau, has been a rock star with supporting student growth and really knowing her material.

"Dr. Sorenson has been such an important resource, especially since I am a first year teacher at Jefferson. Dr. Sorenson has helped me learn about Jefferson Middle School’s PBIS reward system and I how properly use it in my classroom."

Sydney Rosseau, mentee

Jefferson Middle School

"Sydney is doing an exceptional job as a first year teacher. Her lessons are phenomenal and she has a way of connecting with her students that is characteristic of a veteran teacher. She utilizes Kagan structures that engage her students daily and her enthusiasm and positive energy is apparent. She is already getting involved with school activities by sponsoring our Jefferson Dance team and we are BLESSED to have her at our school!"

Brenda Sorensen, mentor

Jefferson Middle School

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"Abby has been a phenomenal mentor. She goes above and beyond to help ensure I am prepared and make sure that I am in the best situation to help out the students. Abby is much more than a mentor, she is a friend of mine. She helped me find a doctor, vet, and house searching when I moved down last year. I am so fortunate to have Abby Saul as a mentor."

Wil Nicks, mentee

Merritt Island High School

"Wil Nicks is in his second year teaching at MIHS. Along with teaching HOPE during the day, he is also one of the football coaches. Prior to coming to Florida, Wil was coaching and getting his master's degree in Kinesiology from Southern Arkansas University. Transitioning from block to a seven period day has been a bit of a challenge but Wil has handled the job with such a positive attitude. Wil has never been afraid to ask questions and be reflective of his teaching practice. He is a real coachable coach!"

Abby Saul, mentor

Merritt Island High School

To all of our AWESOME mentors out there, here's to you! You are truly making a difference in the lives of our new teachers!


📅 New Teacher Academy 📅

New Teacher Academy Day 2 registration is open for teachers who have a temporary teaching certificate. In order to reduce the impact on schools, this training will be held on Saturday, October 16 at the Educational Services Facility (ESF). Registration is starting at 8:00 a.m. (breakfast 8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m.) in the ESF Boardroom. The training runs until 3:00 pm and lunch will also be provided.

Day 2 will be focused exclusively on classroom teacher training for those on a temporary teaching certificate. This training is designed around instructional strategies for the classroom, classroom management, and social-emotional learning. The learning these new teachers will be receiving during this training will be instrumental to their success in providing a safe and engaging classroom environment.

Participants will register in ProGOE Course #16443.

October 16th – Temporary Certificate Teachers Section #411094

Teachers attending this session will receive the training rate of $17 per hour.

If a teacher has previously attended New Teacher Academy, they do not need to register again. Please ensure that the teachers in year 1 or 2 of induction have completed both sections of New Teacher Academy.

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Stanley at (321) 633-1000, ext. 11243 or through email at


Getting close 🡺 Mid-Year Evaluation for teachers with less than one year with BPS

A few things to keep in mind regarding the mid-year evaluation:

  • It only affects instructional staff that have less than one year within BPS. This means ALL teachers newly employed by BPS this year regardless of experience.
  • It is formative in nature. The final score on a teacher's mid-year evaluation is NOT utilized in the final score in the new teacher's Summative I or Summative II annual evaluation.
  • New teachers, with their evaluating administrator, agree upon which student performance measures will be used to identify student growth.
  • The student growth measure rating will comprise 37% of the teacher's mid-year evaluation score. Again, this new element is meant solely as formative feedback to the teacher.
  • The mid-year evaluation will occur before the end of the semester, January 15th.
  • New teachers will use this same rubric for the mid-year Self-Reflection on ProGOE.

What can you do as your teacher's mentor to support them in the mid-year evaluation?

  • Model a strong growth mindset - especially with our most inexperienced teachers. At the New Teacher Academy, we share with our new teachers that most beginning teachers would be in the developing category on the evaluation rubric (IPPAS) at this point in the school year - and that's okay because most of them are developing! With the addition of the mid-year evaluation , please use your upcoming mentoring time to go over the wording differences between developing and proficient on the new rubric addition (see the rubric below). All teachers want to do well, but it's important to call attention to key words in the scoring rubric -- all, most, some, and no, for example -- regarding student growth.

  • Share examples with your mentees what would constitute student growth or achievement sources. (See the examples shown below)

  • Emphasize appropriate use of formative assessment data (to inform instructional decisions). Discuss what formative assessments you do in your classroom and how you are able to change direction mid-lesson or for the next day if student feedback shows confusion or needing more time to master a standard. Explain what percentage of your students you require to show mastery in order to move on. Many new teachers will hold the entire class back due to a few students struggling with a concept. Explain how the class can move on while supporting those few students by giving individualized support separately. Use stories and examples here as needed.
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✔️✔️✔️ Update From Dinah Kramer, Senior HR Partner in Certification:

Again, as mentors, you are not expected to go over the mentee's Statement of Eligibility and give direction on steps to be taken. This information is being shared so you are aware of the updates if it comes up in conversations with your mentees. Continue to encourage your new teachers to respond to emails from BPS' certification office. We hear many times from new teachers that they thought the emails were spam. They believed the communication was a district blanketed email and did not respond or realize their certification was in jeopardy. You can help in this area by making it a routine part of your mentor/mentee conversations with temporary certificate teachers!
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Brevard Federation of teachers test support information:

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