PICCS is adopting Kathy Dunne and Susan Villani’s approach to mentoring, which focuses on collaborative coaching to link teacher and student learning. Thus, mentor training will focus on building the skills necessary to be effective collaborative coaches. This training will include certification in the implementation of the Danielson Framework for Teaching, which provides common ground for the reflective questioning and data gathering work of collaborative coaching. It will also include additional training in the collaborative coaching cycle: 1) planning conversation; 2) coaching and gathering data; 3) reflecting conversation. Together this cycle fosters intentional instruction both on the part of the mentor and new teacher.*
* Dunne, Kathy and Susan Villani, Mentoring New Teachers through Collaborative Coaching (WestEd, 2007).
PICCS helps ensure that all participants have a shared vision of knowledge, teaching and learning on two levels. First, schools have adopted either the Marzano or Danielson Frameworks as their common language for understanding “quality teaching” throughout the school, and this definition informs both formative and summative assessments of teaching, including the formal teacher evaluation plans. Second, all PICCS schools share the common vision of our induction and mentoring program. This common vision informs the training of mentor teachers and administrators, as well as expectations for new teachers and the broader school community.
The lead partner for the PICCS initiative, CEI-PEA, will facilitate regular reviews of the induction and mentoring programs at all participating schools. Reviews will examine all aspects of the school’s implementation of the program, including assessment of the quality of the mentoring relationships, school support for the program (e.g. making time and resources available), and involvement and engagement of the broader school community.
We recognize that the job of a new teacher is different than that of an established teacher. It involves more preparation time, acclimation to the school culture, and learning the basics of school operations. Therefore, schools provide release time for the new teachers to attend workshops and training sessions, participate in collaborative coaching sessions with their mentor teachers, and observe model lessons in their mentor teacher’s classroom as well as the classrooms of other highly effective teachers in their school.
School administrators will be overseeing implementation of the PICCS evaluation plans, including conducting formal teacher observations. They will be trained and certified to effectively implement either the Marzano or Danielson Frameworks and, therefore, will be able to provide thorough support for all aspects of the new teacher induction and mentoring.
By utilizing the Marzano or Danielson Frameworks as a guide for mentoring, the Mentor Teachers will be able to provide formative teacher assessment data to the new teachers throughout the school year. In addition to the assessment of professional practices documented through the frameworks, new teachers will also engage in workshops on data-driven instructional practices mid-way through their first year of teaching. Through these workshops, the new teachers will learn how to use formative student assessment data to identify gaps in their instructional practice as well.
Both mentoring and general induction workshops and related professional development will correlate to the typical phases of experience and needs of new teachers in their first year of teaching: anticipation to survival to disillusionment to rejuvenation to reflection and ultimately a new phase of anticipation. Similar developmentally appropriate professional development will be provided throughout the induction and mentoring period of three years to meet the unique needs of new teachers.
Mentor teachers will conduct classroom observations in their new teachers’ classrooms at least once a month. They will use either the Marzano or Danielson Frameworks and processes to hold a pre-conference, observation and follow-up conference that correlate with the collaborative coaching cycle.
Using the collaborative coaching model, mentors will guide reflective inquiry and teaching practices. Mentors will be trained on how to move new teachers through basic reflection and into more complex reflection on their teaching practices. Basic reflection refers to thinking about the “technical correctness” of a teacher’s decisions. More complex reflection involves examining implications of a classroom situation, including moral and ethical dimensions.