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Working with teachers’ unions to support induction

Teachers’ unions across the country have been working with school administrators to support and retain beginning teachers. Much of this work has focused around creating and maintaining mentoring programs. While strong induction programs involve more than just mentoring, information on how these mentoring programs have been supported in union contracts can help you establish and strengthen induction programs in your district and school. This tool provides sample contract language towards that end.

Incorporating mentor programs into union contracts

Five school districts in Michigan and two in nearby states have written mentoring programs specifically into their union contracts. Toledo has received national recognition for its outstanding program. The relevant sections of the contract language for these districts are available by clicking on the link. Contracts are included for the following districts/unions:

Lake Orion Educational Association and Central Administration with support from Building Administrators of Lake Orion School District. Specific roles are included for Mentor Program Steering Committee, the Mentor Program Coordinator, a Central Office person, Building Principals/Directors, mentors, and mentees. Compensation for mentors is included in the contract.

Grosse Ile Township Schools and Grosse Ile Education Association. Specific responsibilities are delineated for mentors and mentees and a copy of the materials from Pathwise that both must file out is included. Mentors are compensated using the same salary scale as coaches or school advisors.

Grand Rapids Education Association and Grand Rapids Public Schools. The contract includes specific language on the selection of mentors and the responsibilities of the mentee. Grand Rapids’ Mentoring Coordinator, Richard Willobee, has developed his own training materials for the mentors in the district. The amount of compensation is included.

Owosso Board of Education and the Owosso Education Association. The contract specifies the mentor teacher will be trained in the Pathwise process. The selection of mentors and matching to mentees is included as well as the stipend.

Community Unit School District 300 and Local Education Association for District 300, Carpentersville, Illinois includes less specific information about the training of mentors. The union has an active role in designing the curriculum for the Summer Institute required of all teachers new to the district. Stipend information is included.

Toledo Public Schools and Toledo Federation of Teachers. The Toledo Plan for Intern Intervention Evaluation was honored as a winner of the Innovation in American Government Award in 2001, a competition co-sponsored by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Council for Excellence in Government. The Toledo Plan was started in 1981 and provides a formula for professional development of beginning teachers and an evaluation system that detects and screens out those who show little aptitude for the classroom. This intensive system of evaluation and mentoring is aimed at beginning teachers but also includes a model for providing assistance and/or intervention for veteran teachers who are severely deficient in performance. Intern-intervention is done by peer teachers who are themselves excellent teachers. A summary of the Toledo Plan can be found at http://www.tft250.org/the_toledo_plan.htm.