Throughout the 2016-2017 year, we will be turning the spotlight on “Success Builders” in our school district. Each article in the “Success Builders” series will focus on programs and people who are creating new ways to help our students meet the Profile of the 21st Century Graduate.
relationships between teachers are essential to building a successful culture
in our schools. SDPC is intentional about creating these relationships through Count On Me, our teacher mentorship program.
year teacher is assigned a mentor before the school year begins; the goal is
for the mentor to be someone at the same grade-level, and teaching the same
subject, if possible," said Danny Rogers, Coordinator of Personnel
serves several roles. One is to help with lesson planning, to serve as a
resource. Another is to provide advice and guidance on classroom management. We
really want the mentor to be the go-to person for any questions the new teacher
may have." Mentors are expected to meet at least once a week with their
mentee, and to occasionally observe the new teacher in the classroom.
The key to a
successful mentorship is trust.
valuable thing was getting to work with someone who had more experience, and
who is not intimidating, who just wanted to help," said Sherry Crawford, a
third year teacher at Ambler Elementary who recently completed her induction
program with the help of her mentor, Courtney Vaughan, who has 12 years of
teaching experience. Crawford began to receive mentoring from Vaughan after
switching from K4 to 1st grade in her second year of teaching.
Vaughan, who is the
Reading Coach at Ambler Elementary, worked closely with Crawford to help her
with differentiated reading instruction, which involves carefully tailoring
reading instruction to each student's individual reading level.
teach you how to do it in college, so you walk out of school not knowing how to
do it, and it's not hard, someone just has to show you," Vaughan said.
"I think it was amazing to see how far Sherry's kids came along." Now
both teachers have advice for young teachers coming through the mentorship
program. "I would tell them to realize that it's okay to change things
throughout the year. Everything isn't going to be perfect, but it's okay to be
flexible and it's okay to ask for help. Don't be afraid to take advice from
more experienced teachers," Crawford said. Vaughan added, "It's so
important to feel like you're in a safe environment without being judged to try
"Part of what
helps build that trusting relationship is the fact that the mentor is never the
evaluator; she is the coach," Rogers said. He said that ultimately,
the beneficiaries of an effective mentoring program are not only the teachers,
but also the students.
develop effective teachers, and create the relationships that make them want to
stay in Pickens County, our students reap the rewards," he said.