School-based Mentoring Proven to Increase Student Learning When Centered on Instructional Practice and Optimal Learning Environments

New Teacher Center uses federal i3 Scale-Up grants to show impact of school-based mentoring on student achievement

SANTA CRUZ, CA New Teacher Center (NTC), a national nonprofit focused on improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders, found improved instruction in districts with NTC school-based mentoring, compared to teachers who receive traditional school-based new teacher supports. And students of these teachers who receive NTC mentoring performed better on state assessments compared to their peers – up to seven months of additional learning.

“New Teacher Center has been diligently working to analyze what works and share these results with the field,” said NTC CEO Desmond Blackburn. “When we truly know what works, our mentors can be more effective in a variety of different district environments. And when mentors are more effective, teacher instruction increases and students learn more.”

Historically, increases in student achievement have been tied to full-release mentoring models – where mentors are centrally deployed by a district and have few to no other responsibilities. This staffing model allows mentors the dedicated time to not only elevate their own mentoring practice but to then also consistently work with their mentees and provide them the support they need to better reach their students. New i3 Scale-Up analyses now show that when a school-based mentoring model is focused on improving a new teacher’s instructional practice through Optimal Learning Environments, that teacher is more effective in the classroom and, ultimately, their students learn more.

“These school-based Scale-Up results echo the i3 Validation and overall Scale-Up findings we’ve seen to date, which all validate that quality mentoring that integrates both strong standards and a focus on meeting the needs of every learner results in better-prepared teachers and greater student achievement,” said Ali Picucci, NTC’s Chief Impact and Learning Officer.

The full-release mentor staffing model was tested in NTC’s i3 Validation study and demonstrated significant improvements in student learning compared to students whose teachers received traditional district support. The i3 Scale-Up grant tests allowed NTC to expand this impact analysis and test these effects in new settings, including in districts using a school-based mentoring model. We specifically tested in larger, urban districts with school-based mentoring, including: Miami-Dade County Public Schools, New York City Public Schools, and San Francisco Unified School District.

“Investing in our next generation of teachers will pay big dividends to all of our schools down the road. We are thrilled to continue to learn more to inform our work across all of our schools and ensure our teachers feel supported in the communities in which they start teaching,” said Phil Weinberg, Deputy Chief Academic Officer for Teaching and Learning of the New York City Department of Education.

While full-time mentoring is incredibly effective, many districts implement school-based mentoring due to staffing and resource constraints, where veteran teachers and educators serve as new teacher mentors in addition to completing their own teaching responsibilities. These new findings are an important contribution to the field that unpack the conditions of school-based mentoring that benefit teacher instruction and student learning.

Download the full report here.


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