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University-School Collaboration on Mentor Training: An Evaluation of Mentor Training Programs Across Indiana
Unformatted Document Text:  The educational community of Indiana has formed university-university and university-school alliances to develop and evaluate mentor programs which support and further train first year teachers. In this study, six colleges and universities representing a wide spectrum of higher education institutions from a variety of geographical areas collaborated to support and evaluate school district mentoring programs. This alliance has resulted in improved accountability and communication among universities and between universities and school districts across the State of Indiana. D. Relevance: Implications for policy:Policy implications are far-reaching. This study found that the majority of mentored new teachers expected to remain in education for more than ten years. If new teacher retention is a priority for educational institutions, then carefully designed and delivered mentoring programs must be supported by both policies and funding sources. Also, the collaborative nature of this study contributed to the credibility and applicability of the study’s findings and conclusions. b. Using qualitative or quantitative evidence to inform policy or practice: The purpose of this study was to identify the components of a mentoring program that increased the likelihood of new teachers remaining in education. To accomplish this purpose, Mentor Surveys and New Teachers Surveys were developed to identify participants’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the mentoring program in which they participated (Freemyer, 1999). The 20 participating school districts were located across the State of Indiana, in rural, urban and suburban settings. Mentor Surveys were sent to 420 recently certified mentor teachers and 215 were returned for a return rate of 45.74%. New Teacher Surveys were sent to 210 mentored first year teachers and 102 were returned for a return rate of 39.23%. The statistical analysis of the returned surveys included factor analysis, Pearson’s R, and Crosstabs. This analysis was then expanded and enriched through focus group and telephone interviews. Through quantitative and qualitative evidence, influential components of a mentoring program were identified and described. Mentoring programs across the State of Indiana are now being redesigned to reflect this study’s findings and conclusions. E. Implication for Action: This study’s primary finding was that there were three mentoring program components that contributed to the increased likelihood of new teachers remaining in education: well designed and delivered mentor training, an attention to the relational aspects of the mentor-new teacher relationship, and a willingness to attend to and invest in new teacher-supportive systems and spaces. The mentor training experience clearly had the largest impact on the success of the mentoring relationship. The analysis of mentor responses indicated that no other component of a mentoring program could compensate for a mentor’s negative training experience. Training must be a carefully designed, research-based professional development activity (NCATE, 2001). It must be well funded and well supported by the school administration (Carver, 2003; McCarthy & Guiney, 2004). High quality mentor training is clearly critical to the overall success of the mentoring program. At its heart, mentoring is a relational activity. The mentor must develop a mentoring relationship based on a shared and supportive professional culture that allows the new teacher to develop a sense of belonging and hone teaching skills (Birman, Desimone, Porter & Garet, 2000; Middleton, 2000; Wenger, 1998). The personal characteristics, perceptions and goals of the mentor have a strong impact on the success

Authors: Freemyer, Jim., Saunders, Nancy., Swails, Patricia., Divins, Barbara., Guerriero, Sam. and Saunders, George.
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The educational community of Indiana has formed university-university and university-
school alliances to develop and evaluate mentor programs which support and further train
first year teachers. In this study, six colleges and universities representing a wide
spectrum of higher education institutions from a variety of geographical areas
collaborated to support and evaluate school district mentoring programs. This alliance
has resulted in improved accountability and communication among universities and
between universities and school districts across the State of Indiana.
D.
Relevance:
Implications for policy:
Policy implications are far-reaching. This study found that the majority of mentored new
teachers expected to remain in education for more than ten years. If new teacher
retention is a priority for educational institutions, then carefully designed and delivered
mentoring programs must be supported by both policies and funding sources. Also, the
collaborative nature of this study contributed to the credibility and applicability of the
study’s findings and conclusions.
b. Using qualitative or quantitative evidence to inform policy or practice:
The purpose of this study was to identify the components of a mentoring program that
increased the likelihood of new teachers remaining in education. To accomplish this
purpose, Mentor Surveys and New Teachers Surveys were developed to identify
participants’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the mentoring program in which they
participated (Freemyer, 1999). The 20 participating school districts were located across
the State of Indiana, in rural, urban and suburban settings.
Mentor Surveys were sent to 420 recently certified mentor teachers and 215 were
returned for a return rate of 45.74%. New Teacher Surveys were sent to 210 mentored
first year teachers and 102 were returned for a return rate of 39.23%. The statistical
analysis of the returned surveys included factor analysis, Pearson’s R, and Crosstabs.
This analysis was then expanded and enriched through focus group and telephone
interviews. Through quantitative and qualitative evidence, influential components of a
mentoring program were identified and described. Mentoring programs across the State
of Indiana are now being redesigned to reflect this study’s findings and conclusions.
E.
Implication for Action:
This study’s primary finding was that there were three mentoring program components
that contributed to the increased likelihood of new teachers remaining in education:
well
designed and delivered mentor training, an attention to the relational aspects of the
mentor-new teacher relationship, and a willingness to attend to and invest in new teacher-
supportive systems and spaces.
The mentor training experience clearly had the largest impact on the success of
the mentoring relationship. The analysis of mentor responses indicated that no other
component of a mentoring program could compensate for a mentor’s negative training
experience. Training must be a carefully designed, research-based professional
development activity (NCATE, 2001). It must be well funded and well supported by the
school administration (Carver, 2003; McCarthy & Guiney, 2004). High quality mentor
training is clearly critical to the overall success of the mentoring program.
At its heart, mentoring is a relational activity. The mentor must develop a
mentoring relationship based on a shared and supportive professional culture that allows
the new teacher to develop a sense of belonging and hone teaching skills (Birman,
Desimone, Porter & Garet, 2000; Middleton, 2000; Wenger, 1998). The personal
characteristics, perceptions and goals of the mentor have a strong impact on the success


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