October 15, 2018

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will provide Mentor Program sessions for more than 150 teachers this fall to assist counties as they support new teachers. Participants are experienced teachers who provide school and county-based support. Strengthening support for new teachers is critical for recruiting and retaining teachers. The first of three sessions begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Lakeview Conference Center in Morgantown on October 16-17, 2018.

The Mentor Program is an important part of the teacher support structure in the state. Counties rely on training to build leadership capacity among their experienced teachers, and it is vital to retention efforts at the local level. Research has shown one of the main reasons teachers leave the profession in their first five years is a lack of support. The Mentor Program helps teacher-mentors coach their mentees through critical areas to establish sound instructional and classroom management skills that are the foundation of teaching success.

WVDE’s Mentor Program is guided by the belief that learning to teach is a career-long developmental process that involves a continuous cycle of planning, teaching and reflecting. Educators who complete the two-day session, earn the basic mentor credential. They also join a support structure that helps guide new teachers along their journey to become veteran and effective classroom leaders.

“The Mentor Program is critical because it helps counties increase teacher retention and quality by reducing teacher turnover,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine. “Many of our county superintendents are finding it increasingly difficult to keep teachers in the classroom, and programs such as this are effective in building a sustainable support structure for teachers.”

In addition to the Morgantown session, the WVDE will host mentor sessions in Charles Town, October 23-24; Flatwoods, November 13-14; and in Charleston, December 4-5. Mentor teachers only need to attend one of these sessions to receive basic certification. In addition, WVDE will host its Teacher Academy for new teachers in Flatwoods and Charleston. The Academy provides a pathway of professional learning for less experienced educators to become highly effective classroom teachers.