The Monroe County Community School Corp. is expected to be one of 14 school districts in middle America taking part in a pilot program that provides support and mentorship to beginning teachers.

During the Educators Leading the Profession pilot program, which will run through the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, teachers who are in the first three years of their careers will be paired with a virtual instructional coach and a building mentor.

The ELP founders and board represent education associations from Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois and Iowa. Dan Burkhalter, executive director of ELP, said the executive directors of those associations were meeting regularly to talk about commonalities across their states and to discuss overcoming challenges. In those conversations, one thing that consistently came up was that while all seven states had high quality professional development programs being implemented, there was room for improvement, Burkhalter said, which is evident through the amount of teachers leaving the profession early on in their careers. Those who left the field often said they felt they didn’t have enough support, Burkhalter said.

“It’s problematic with student learning not to have consistent teachers that are developing and enhancing their skills through their career, not to mention that it’s hard on the individual teacher that went to school, becomes a teacher and then decides they can’t really do it,” Burkhalter said.

To form the ELP model, the seven state teachers associations listened to input from teachers as they reflected on the early years of their careers and what ways mentorship was helpful, what was missing and what didn’t seem as necessary, then they consulted with education experts.
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