In submitting comments on proposed TEA mentoring rules, TCTA objected to a proposal providing for mentoring meetings to occur outside of the regularly contracted school day. TCTA pointed out that the proposal conflicted with statutory provisions requiring that a school district must designate a specific time during the regularly contracted school day for meetings between mentor teachers and classroom teachers assigned to a mentor. TEA agreed and struck the language from the final rules.
TCTA also successfully advocated that the proposed rules be changed to allow more teachers to be mentored. TEA agreed, changing the rule language so that any teacher with less than two years of teaching experience in the subject or grade level assigned would be eligible for the mentoring program funded by House Bill 3.
TEA adopted the proposed rules pursuant to HB 3, the comprehensive school finance bill passed by the 86th legislature, which, in part amended existing mentor program provisions in statute to strengthen them; HB 3 also provided funding in the form of an annual $3 million mentoring allotment for eligible districts committed to implementing the strengthened program for beginning teachers with fewer than two years of teaching experience. Among other provisions, HB 3 requires scheduled release time or a reduced teaching load for mentor teachers and classroom teachers to facilitate mentoring activities, including classroom observations or participation in supportive coaching.
Another of the bill’s provisions requires TEA to adopt rules outlining the specifics of how many beginning teachers a mentor can be assigned. The rules adopted by TEA specify that school districts must agree to assign no more than two beginning teachers to a mentor who serves as a teacher of record for, on average, six hours per instructional day; or four beginning teachers to a mentor who serves as a teacher of record for, on average, less than six hours per instructional day.
Other provisions in the final rules include:
Funding for the program will begin in the 2020-21 school year, with $1,800 per mentee provided, at a maximum of $100,000 per district. Funding may only be used for mentor teacher stipends; scheduled release time for mentor teachers and the classroom teachers to whom they are assigned for meeting and engaging in mentoring activities; and mentoring support through providers of mentor training. Click here for more information.