The School of Education at Adams State University (ASU) received $82,500 in funding from the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) to launch a Teacher Mentor program. The program will launch in partnership with Center Consolidated School District (CCSD).
The underlying purpose of the Teacher Mentor program is to retain new teachers by increasing their access to effective mentors. Through the Teacher Mentor program, experienced teachers are prepared with the knowledge and skills required to serve as mentors for teacher candidates and newly employed teachers.
“When experienced teachers are trained to serve as mentors, we find that both preservice and beginning teachers are better prepared to teach and to make a difference with students,” says Curtis Garcia, Ph.D., Director of Adams State’s School of Education. “Research shows that beginning teachers who receive high-quality mentoring early in their careers are also more likely to remain in the profession.”
Mentoring as a Statewide Priority
Mentor teachers play a critical role in teacher candidate and novice teacher development. In recognition of this relationship, the General Assembly passed SB19-190, “Growing Great Teachers Act.” Signed by Governor Jared Polis, the law allocates funds annually to invest in partnerships between educator preparation programs, such as Adams State’s education department, and local school districts.
These partnerships are tasked with creating and providing mentor training programs. The funds also provide stipends to teachers who take the mentor training and serve as mentors for teacher candidates and newly employed teachers.
“This funding will help small school districts that lack the resources to improve the mentoring of teacher candidates and early career teachers on their own,” says Michele Mann, Ph.D., assistant professor of Teacher Education. “There is a need for this program in the San Luis Valley, and we at Adams State are dedicated to continuing our 100-year tradition of high quality teacher training and support.”
The Teacher Mentor Program at Adams State
The partnership between ASU and CCSD will establish a 12-credit hour mentor endorsement program. Mann and Garcia are serving as Co-PIs for the grant and instructors for the coursework that mentors will complete through the Teacher Mentor program, which will launch with a cohort of up to 15 mentor teachers.
Mann and Garcia will meet with mentors regularly to provide coaching and support as they mentor beginning teachers and ASU teacher education students during the 2021-2022 school year.
Funding from the CDHE grant and partial tuition funding from CCSD will allow teachers to participate in the program at no cost. At the end of the program, participants earn a mentor endorsement through the Colorado Department of Education and are eligible to pursue a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction through Adams State.
“The mentor training will enhance our students’ field experience, support student success, and provide our students with a superior mentor/ mentee experience,” says Garcia. “CCSD benefits from having highly trained mentors to strengthen the development and practice of newly employed teachers, many of whom come straight from our program. It is win-win effort for ASU and CCSD and we look forward to scaling this program to other school districts in our region over the coming years.”