Expect more Arizona excellence tour: Teacher mentor program increases retention in Tucson Unified
By: Stefanie Bow/Tucson Unified School District
AUGUST 15, 2017|
What started as a pilot program a decade ago with five team members has grown to a team of 18 professional teacher mentors who are dedicated to helping new teachers adjust to their roles and responsibilities.
It all started because the team at Tucson Unified School District knew that to retain teachers, and to make them the most effective educators possible, they would need a support team.
Every first and second-year teacher in the district, including long-term subs, is partnered with a mentor who works directly with them to identify the educator’s needs, provide a sounding board for challenges, and help with planning.
Tucson Unified School District Video: Mentor and New Teacher Induction
For a new teacher, having a seasoned professional to lean on can make the difference between staying at the school and leaving the profession. That’s a big difference since as many two out of five educators leave teaching within three years of entering the profession.
The mentor dedicates 90 minutes every week to each teacher and even coordinates with the school principals to understand the school’s goals and unique programs.
An effective teacher is one of the most important factors in a child’s success, and the team at Tucson Unified understood that schools all over Arizona are losing too many teachers after only a year or two in the profession, which isn’t long enough to become the best at what they do.