School District to Begin New Mentoring Program

By Alex Malm

During the July 5 Londonderry School Board meeting Interim Superintendent, Dan Black, explained that before the pandemic the school district had an “induction program” for new staff.
Now they hope to bring a mentoring type program back to Londonderry.
“Before the pandemic, the Londonderry School District had an ‘Induction Program’ that all new staff went through over their first year in the district,” Black wrote in a memo. “The purpose of it was to help orient all our staff to the school system and make sure a few basic areas of professional development and expectations were covered. In the years before the pandemic, we were beginning to plan a new approach that would better tailor to the individual needs of our new hires. However, we never got to implement that new program over the last two years.”
Black said that their proposal is to pair veteran staff with their new teachers. He said that they have been talking about the program internally for the last few months.
“Our building principals have been having conversations with our veteran staff who we think would be good mentors for our new teaching staff,” said Black.
Black stated that he thinks the mentoring program will be very important for their staff members.
“We believe this new mentoring program would be a great addition to our school system to ensure we are meeting the needs of our new hires, show them we want to retain them long term, as well as help them have a successful start in Londonderry,” said Black.
Black said that one of the goals of the program for next year is to ensure their new teaching staff have a dedicated mentor in their school that can provide support and guidance for any need they have in their first year in the school district.
Another goal is to implement a month-by-month approach between mentor and mentee that ensures the new teaching staff understand their school, the Londonderry school district, and all the expectations that they have for them. The other goal is to allow the mentor to personalize the support and guidance as needed throughout the year.
Black said for their month by month approach; they are looking at what other school districts do for “checklists” and hope to adopt their own based on some of the models.
“We want to make sure we do a really good job at welcoming in our new staff,” said Black.
Black said that they are proposing to pay the veteran teachers that act as mentors $500. He said that they may be able to pay for it the first year through Title 2 federal grants.
School Board member, Bob Slater, said that he was glad that they were going to have the program. He said when he visited the different schools’ staff and they all wanted it back.
“Dan, this is great,” said Slater.

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