Category II: Support and Mentoring Plan

Standard 6: Provision of Mentoring Experiences

The beginning administrator’s clear credential induction plan specifies provisions for mentoring and support activities to be provided by one or more experienced colleagues throughout the candidate’s enrollment in the credential program.

Rationale

The guidance, advice, feedback, and support provided by a more experienced colleague assists the new administrator in the performance of his/her role and helps to facilitate the development of professional norms.  Sharing of the knowledge of practice needs to be a planned part of the design for administrative induction.  Candidates may experience more than one mentor, and the primary mentor may change.  The clear credential induction plan should outline the ways in which mentor(s) will work with beginning administrators to help them achieve their defined goals.

Factors to Consider

The following factors serve as a guide for initial program design and ongoing program evaluation:

• The mentoring component of the clear credential induction plan is developed collaboratively by the candidate, the university advisor, and the mentor administrator.

• Mentoring occurs on a regular, ongoing basis and reflects the candidate’s changing needs and stage of professional development.

• Support and mentoring activities are appropriate to the individual needs of beginning administrators and are provided in ways that encourage reflection, build trust, and facilitate professional growth and development.

• Mentoring experiences may be individual or group activities, and may include, but need not be limited to, orientation of new administrators, job-alike meetings, function/division orientation, and mentoring.
 
• Activities are balanced to provide an awareness of a full range of administrative responsibilities, address both site level and district level functions, and provide experiences with diverse populations.

• The program meets other factors related to this standard of quality brought to the attention of the team by the program sponsor.

As mentioned in earlier sections, utilizing the Descriptions of Practice (WestEd, 2003), the candidate completes a self-evaluation (see Appendix 13) and the district mentor completes a separate evaluation of the candidate during the initial assessment period.  These two persons meet to compare results and discuss differences in their assessments and develop a preliminary induction plan.  Then, the candidate, the district mentor, and the university mentor meet to review the findings of the assessment and complete the initial induction plan.  All three sign off on the assessment and the initial induction plan.  If the district mentor is not an employee of the district, then the district will be asked to provide input, either from the direct supervisor of the candidate, or another person in the district familiar with the candidate and the position requirements.

Although the assessment instrument is very complete with regard to the CPSELs, it may not adequately describe particular practices or performance expectations necessary for specific contexts.  The assessment instrument contains space at the end to address such practices and performance.  Likewise, the induction plan reflects the findings of the assessment.  See Appendix 14 for a copy of the Induction Plan.

The induction plan is developed collaboratively between the candidate, the district mentor, and the university mentor and includes space to indicate the timeline for specific activities as well as the dates of mentoring sessions.  In most cases, it is expected that the district mentor will be in contact with the candidate at least once a week.  While a variety of communication formats is encouraged, face-to-face meetings must take place on a periodic basis each semester.  The need for adequate, regular communication is included in the District Mentor Agreement (See Appendix 16). Additionally, the District Mentor Agreement includes a clause stipulating the need for the district mentor to be available to the candidate in times of crisis or sensitive situations.

Mentoring, as defined in this proposal and in our program, may occur in a variety of settings and contexts.  While on-site, on-the-job mentoring is highly desirable and a priority for the program, other opportunities for mentoring are afforded candidates, including, but not limited to, individual and group settings and activities, professional development opportunities, and opportunities to engage in inquiry on a regular basis. Professional mentoring may also occur through face-to-face conversation and activities, telephone, email, or other media.  The Mentoring Log is found in  Appendix 15.

The final page of the induction plan is designed for any amendments to the initial plan. This page may be copied and used as often as needed to change any part of the plan.  As with the original Induction Plan, all amendments are reviewed and given written approval by the
 
candidate, district mentor, and university mentor.  See the final page of the Induction Plan in Appendix 14 for the amendments page.  If the district mentor is not an employee of the district, then the district will be asked to provide input, either from the direct supervisor of the candidate, or another person in the district familiar with the candidate and the position requirements.

The university mentors understand that one part of their role is to assist the candidate in locating and contacting individuals with expertise in specific areas.  However, the university mentors also understand the need to guide the candidate to the district mentor whenever possible.  At the same time, the university mentor strives to maintain open communication with the district mentor and the candidate and informs the district mentor as appropriate of additional persons who will provide assistance to the candidate.

The university mentor will provide a list of additional resources as needed to assist the candidate in succeeding in the current administrative assignment.  However, the university mentors also understand the need to guide the candidate to the district mentor when possible.  At the same time, the university mentor strives to maintain open communication with the district mentor and the candidate and informs the district mentor as appropriate of additional resources that will provide assistance to the candidate.

In this manner, the support and mentoring activities are matched to the individual needs of the beginning administrator and provided in ways that will build a trusting, professional relationship between the mentor and administrator, will utilize inquiry as a foundation, will encourage reflection, and will facilitate the professional growth and development of the new administrator. As such, the activities will take place on an individual basis, group activities, coursework, conferences, seminars, email dialogues, and other types of activities with the overall objective of preparing the new administrator for the full range of administrative responsibilities at both the site and district level and with diverse student populations.

As in all program activities, ongoing evaluation, as well as an annual review, serves to ensure that the program not only meets the standards as required by the CCTC, but by the local school districts that depend on our program to prepare their educational leaders.

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