Induction & Mentoring Program FAQ
Please note: a considerable amount of changes have taken place since this was published several years ago. Changes in Illinois School Code and our local negotiated agreement are noted below. Much of this is now based on past-practice, and is therefore subject to interpretation by those higher up than me. ~Matt 

Q: What is this Mentoring stuff all about?
A: Mentoring is a vital part of your employment here at District #205.  Your principal or supervisor saw something special in you when the decision to hire you was made.  We want you to stay with us!  The Mentoring program is designed to help foster and grow that "something special" into a polished, professional approach to education.  Our State-approved Induction and Mentoring Program uses ICE-21 principles to help pair you with a trained Mentor who can you get acclimated to to our District.

Q: Do I have to participate in the Induction & Mentoring Program?
A: Yes. Participation in the Induction & Mentoring Program is a contractual condition of employment.  It is not optional, regardless of your prior experience.  Every District is different, and we want you to feel comfortable knowing how you can become a contributing part of the Galesburg education system.   The Induction & Mentoring Program encompasses your first two consecutive years of employment with Galesburg CUSD #205.

Q: How often do I have to meet with my Mentor?
A: The accepted guideline is 35 hours during your first year of employment, followed by 15 hours during your second year with us.  Meetings would therefore occur about an hour each week during Year 1 and an hour every other week during year 2, give or take.  It is expected that you will meet with your Mentor more frequently when you begin your employment (Aug/Sep of Year 1), and then the meetings will become less frequent as you become more familiar with your school and your role within it.

Q: Can I get paid for meeting with my Mentor?
A: No.  It is a contractual requirement.

Q: Do I have to attend the New Teacher Learning Team Meetings?
A: No.  NTLT meetings are optional, but they are very valuable!  Therefore, we will be happy to reimburse you for your time through Committee Stipend pay.  For details, see your building Principal, or come to a New Teacher Learning Team meeting. UPDATE 08/31/2015: Due to lack of appropriate funding from the State of Illinois, we are no longer able to provide stipends for attendance at these meetings.

Q: Is my Mentor supposed to observe me teaching in my classroom?
A: Yes!  Mentors should observe the classroom activities of their Protegees three (3) times during each school year during the first two years of your employment.  Ideally, this would start after the Protegee received feedback from the Principal following the first classroom observation/evaluation, and end prior to the Principal's last classroom observation/evaluation each school year.  the idea would be to work on improving elements noted in the Principal's observation that will help improve the craft - the art and science that is teaching - prior to the final summative evaluation of the year.  The Mentor/Protegee Observation process is designed to help you improve the teaching and learning in your classroom, and therefore improve the likelihood of your continued and long-term employment with District #205.

Q: Can I observe other teachers?
A: Yes!  New Teachers can be afforded up to one opportunity per semester to observe other experienced teachers within the District.  Observations are short-term (one period or so) during the course of a regular school day.  Mentors, Principals, and Protegees should work together to arrange these observations.  Such arrangements might include "trading" planning periods, in-house substituting, etc.  Out-of-District or day-long observations are generally not acceptable.

Q: Can observations be videotaped?
A: YES!  If you need assistance or equipment, please contact the Coordinator of the Induction and Mentoring Program.

Q: Is any record-keeping involved?
A: Yes.  You are required to log your meetings with your Mentor, including the date & duration of the meeting along with a very brief synopsis (a sentence or two) of the topic(s) discussed at each meeting.  A journal form will be provided to facilitate this record-keeping activity, along with discussion starters. 
You are welcome to use your time at our New Teacher Learning Team meetings to keep your logs up-to-date (and therefore get paid for your time doing so!).
Q: Do I have to turn in my logs?
A: Yes.  Keep your logs up-to-date and in a safe place.  You will turn in copies to the Department of Human Resources at the Central Office (via School Mail) at the end of your second year of employment.  The Director of Human Resources will look over your logs to evaluate your successful completion of the Program requirements.  The copies of the logs will then be returned to you along with a Certificate of Completion, which you can use for recertification purposes, and/or to move from Initial to Standard Certification.  You do NOT have to turn in anything at the end of Year 1.

Q: Who assigns Mentors?
A: Principals & immediate supervisors. Every attempt will be made to pair you up with someone who teaches in the same building as you, who teaches the same subject or grade as you, or has had an assignment similar to yours.  This is not always possible, however, but we will do our best.

Q: Am I stuck with a Mentor I can't work with for the next 2 years?
A: No.  An official Mentor/Protegee Separation & Mediation process must be completed before re-assigning you with a new Mentor.  If for some reason you and your Mentor do not get along or if your Mentor cannot fulfill his/her duties, the Coordinator of the Induction & Mentoring Program will serve as your interim Mentor until a new Mentor can be assigned.

Q: Should Mentor/Protegee discussions be shared with my Principal?
A: NO - NOT EVER!  Principals/Supervisors should not ask you or your Mentor to share information discussed between the two of you.  They are not even supposed to ask, and have been informed of this expectation.  Your discussions are your "property" and should not be shared without your expressed permission. The only exception would be if the Mentor observes something inappropriate, unsafe, or illegal within your classroom.  That Mentor is ethically and legally bound to report such instances to your Principal immediately.

Q: I was hired in the middle of the school year.  Are my Mentoring requirements & expectations different?
A: Yes - but just a little.  If you were brought on to fill a position in January, let's say, all of your requirements and expectations are essentially cut in half.  Instead of 35 hours of meetings, think 17-18 hours.  Instead of 3 observations, think 1-2.  Communicate with your Mentor to make sure s/he knows your needs - they'll offer you the help you need.

Now here's the good part! Should your employment with District #205 or KWSED continue, you'll be eligible to receive the full 35 hours of Mentoring services, including 3 observations, during your first full school year as well.  The following full school year you'll the be considered a "second-year teacher" as well, receiving 15 hours of mentoring and 3 observations.

Q: I transferred to a different building. Can I have a mentor? 
A: It depends. If it was a voluntary transfer, probably not. If it was an involuntary transfer, you may request services. According to the current (2018-2020) negotiated agreement, "\Any Teacher who is involuntarily transferred and is assigned to teach a subject that he or she has not taught in the last 10 years, shall be offered the services of an approved mentor for fifteen (15) hours per affected employee at the committee rate of pay." Please note that the payment referred to in this statement goes to the Mentor, not the transferred teacher.