North Smithfield Schools analyzes a variety of data to make professional development recommendations and develop programs focused on improving student achievement. Data sources include: RICAS/Science Results, Professional Development Advisory Committee Survey, Administration PD survey, teacher evaluation data (SLO's) and curriculum embedded assessment data. This Teacher Mentor Program will foster an intellectual environment by providing opportunities for dialogue and ultimately increasing student achievement.
The North Smithfield Mentor Program not only focuses on improving the skills and knowledge of new to district teachers, but also aids in retention of teachers. New teachers are assigned a mentor that will promote the growth and development of the beginning teacher. Mentor teachers that are selected for new teachers typically have five years of teaching experience, and demonstrate mastery of pedagogy, content and show a commitment to professional learning. The mentor meets with the teacher throughout the year and also provides multiple opportunities for the new teacher to observe veteran teachers during scheduled Community of Practice days.
North Smithfiled has a robust mentor program. This initiative has supported student success as state assessment data shows increased student achievement in the areas of English Language Arts and mathematics. Data is analyzed to pin-point academic areas of strengths and weaknesses (ie. essay writing) within the district and subsequent professional development is provided. New teachers to the district have multiple opportunities to participate in observations of veteran teachers that are strategically coordinated to share standards based practices.
According to The New Teacher Center, research shows evidence that students taught by teachers who receive support demonstrate higher learning gains. Effective mentorship programs connect new teachers with positive, pro-social, professional mentors in the same teaching area.
Clare C. Arnold, Assistant Superintendent 1850 Providence Pike North Smithfield, RI 02896 (401) 769-5492