Mentoring & Induction
The Iowa Mentoring and Induction (M&I) program began as part of the Teacher Quality legislation enacted in 2001. Since that time the purpose of M&I has remained the same: Beginning teacher mentoring and induction support is created to promote excellence in teaching, enhance student achievement, and build a supportive environment within school districts and education agencies to increase the retention of promising beginning teachers and promote the personal and professional well-being of all teachers.
The Iowa Department of Education is steadfast in ensuring a successful entry into the profession for all new teachers. Although recent legislation has made changes to previous code, it did not eliminate the need for districts to support beginning teachers as they meet the Iowa Teaching Standards and Criteria (ITS&C) and develop enhanced instructional practices. The Department is also committed to helping schools navigate this change while ensuring new teachers continue to receive the support they need and deserve.
District Options and Plan Templates
As a result of the 2017 changes to legislation, districts have two options to support beginning teachers:
Option 1: Continue to Provide a Beginning Teacher Mentoring and Induction Program
Districts may continue to provide a beginning teacher mentoring and induction program that contains specific strategies to support beginning teachers in the competencies of the ITS&C, teacher evaluation, instructional practices and district and building professional development aimed at increasing student achievement. Each school district that offers a beginning teacher mentoring and induction program shall provide for a two-year sequence of induction, program content and activities to support the Iowa teaching standards and beginning teacher professional and personal needs. To develop this program, please use the plan template found below. The plan shall be included in the school district’s comprehensive school improvement plan submitted pursuant to Iowa Code section 256.7, subsection 21.
Option 2: Utilize the District’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) Plan for Supporting New Teachers
School districts may implement approved career paths, leadership roles, and compensation framework (TLC) or approved comparable system as provided in section 284.15 that specifically addresses the needs of beginning teachers. Districts that choose to utilize the TLC framework to address the needs of beginning teachers should review Part 4 of their approved TLC plan to ensure it clearly describes how the district will utilize teacher leaders and resources to improve entry into the teaching profession for new teachers. District administrators may want to include in the TLC plan, Part 4, the components of a beginning teacher program as provided in section 284.5. Any revisions to TLC plans, Part 4, should be submitted for approval through the TLC Plan Change request process.
Every educator in their first and second year in the profession should be assigned to a mentor teacher who will train the beginning teacher in the Iowa Teaching Standards & Criteria and will support both the personal and professional development of the new professional.
Beginning teacher means an individual serving under an initial, Class A, exchange, or intern license, issued by the board of educational examiners under Iowa Code chapter 272, and who is assuming a position as a classroom teacher or preschool teacher employed by a school district or area education agency. In 2006, guidance counselors, teacher librarians, and interns (hired under alternative licensure) were approved to participate in the mentoring and induction program in addition to classroom teachers.
Mentor means an individual employed by a school district or area education agency as a teacher or a retired teacher who holds a valid license issued under chapter 272. The individual must have a record of three years of successful teaching practice, must be employed on a non-probationary basis, and must demonstrate professional commitment to both the improvement of teaching and learning and the development of beginning teachers.
District efforts toward supporting beginning teachers should include training for mentor teachers, training for beginning teachers in the eight ITS&C and release time for the pair to plan, observe and analyze instructional practice. Each district is required to identify a facilitator who is responsible for overseeing beginning teacher supports, submitting a written plan and revisions that represent the components found in legislation for both programming for beginning teacher induction as well as additional supports implemented through the Teacher Leadership and Compensation program.