Missouri career education mentoring program
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Missouri Career Education Mentoring Program. Presented by: Dennis D. Harden, Ed.D. Coordinator, Career Education Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education & Larae Watkins, Ph.D. Coordinator, Research and Curriculum Missouri Center for Career Education.

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Missouri Career Education Mentoring Program

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Missouri Career Education Mentoring Program

Presented by:

Dennis D. Harden, Ed.D.

Coordinator, Career Education

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education


Larae Watkins, Ph.D.

Coordinator, Research and Curriculum

Missouri Center for Career Education

We Need to Help Teachers Succeed because…

  • Currently, more than half of new teachers leave the profession in their first five years.

  • New teachers who participate in induction programs are nearly twice as likely to stay in the professional as those who do not.

  • Research indicates a critical predicator of student success is teacher quality.

  • By the end of the decade, the U.S. will need two million new teachers.

    Source: Beginning Now: Resources for Organizers of Beginning Teachers

A Quick View of New Teachers

  • Almost two thirds are younger than 27;

  • More than one fourth of them are not fully certified;

  • 42% have just completed college and have never taught;

  • 34% are former teachers who are coming back to the profession;

  • The majority are single and in debt.

    Source: Beginning Now: Resources for Organizers of Beginning Teachers

The Financial Benefits of Mentoring


  • What is the cost to the district when a new teacher leaves teaching or is not rehired?


  • The answer is found in answering more questions.

For new teacher recruitment, especially for recruiting the kind of diverse staff a great district wants?

For new teacher orientation and training during the first year or two?

In student learning during the year or two a new teacher is learning to teach?

For the loss of instruction continuity when new teachers leave or are not rehired because they are not successful?

For administrator time spent orienting, evaluating, coaching, and supporting new teachers who are not retrained?

When struggling novice teachers must focus more on their own needs, than those of the students?

What are the district’s costs…

Consider this…

“Every teacher who leaves the profession during the first three years likely costs taxpayers in excess of $50,000 (Leslie Huling and Virginia Resta, Southwest State Texas University). This is based on an industry standard of calculating 2.5 times the employee’s initial salary in recruitment and personnel expenditures and lost productivity.”

Source: “Effective Teaching” by Harry and Rosemary Wong

In Missouri…

  • According to Educator Certification, possessors of an initial professional certificate shall participate in a mentoring program approved and provided by the district for a minimum of two years.

  • Flexibility is built in that allows educators to participate in other mentoring programs as approved by the district.

  • Mentoring requirement includes teachers, administrators and all other certificate holders.

Career Education Mentoring Program

  • Started during the 2003-04 school year.

  • Included all career education program areas.

  • Mentor training provided at MoACTE Summer Conference.

  • Fall inservice for all mentors and proteges

  • Program modeled after Marketing and Cooperative Education initiative.

  • Facilitated by the Missouri Center for Career Education.

  • Added K-12/9-12 Guidance Counselors during 2004-05 school year.

Providing an outstanding teacher in the same content area and specific courses to serve as a mentor.

Allowing each teacher in a program to focus on the specific courses taught.

Assisting with and addressing content-specific issues related to alternative certification.

Bringing new ideas and resources into a program and is less threatening since the mentor is from a different school.

Providing additional help for a new teacher even though the in-district mentor may be in the same content area program.

Avoiding any potential personality conflicts with fellow teachers and protecting the self-respect and confidence of the new teacher.

Creating a partnership with the in-district mentor, to ensure thorough coverage of district as well as content-specific policies and procedures.

The Career Education Mentoring Program Complements In-district Mentoring by:

How does it work?

  • A mailing goes to districts in the spring requesting the number and type of new career education teachers expected for the upcoming school year.

  • Follow up with an application for protege to complete and send back to DESE. Includes district administrator signature.

  • DESE program staff make mentor/protégé assignments/matches.

  • Mentor training at MoACTE Summer Conference.

  • Second year mentoring activities completed at MoACTE Summer Conference.

  • Content experts for each program area that serve as the point person for questions by the mentor and/or protégé.

How does it work? (continued)

  • Fall inservice meeting with all first year mentor/protégé teams.

  • Mid year meetings held for first year and second year mentor/protégé teams by program area.

  • Mentor/protégé school visits completed during the year.

  • Assignments completed by protege and verified by mentor.

How does it work? (Continued)

  • Assignments include:

  • Individual mentoring plan

  • Structured Experiences I and II

  • Mentor/Protégé Visit Report

  • Mentoring Program Evaluation

Other Components…

  • Funding

  • Participating in Administrator Mentoring Program for Career Education directors and assistant directors.

  • Statewide advisory committee

  • Mentoring Blog

  • Fine tuning of process – ongoing

  • Research

Here is what participants have said about the program:

“This is a great program to put new teachers on the right track. Having someone to reply to the hundreds of questions is very comforting.”


“This program is most vital for new teachers in one-teacher departments as they have the least support and resources at their disposal.”


Here is what participants have said about the program:

“The greatest benefit from my Mentoring experience is that a chain of support has been built.”


“As a mentor, I thought it was particularly beneficial in that it gave me an awareness of my need for continued growth. The program’s organized experiences are appropriate and helpful.”


Is It Working?

  • Data is needed to answer this question.

  • A longitudinal database is under development for long-term tracking of program participants.

  • Preliminary analysis of initial data show that the quick answer is YES!

What we are tracking…

  • Mentoring Program Completion tied to:

    • Missouri Teacher Certification Database

      • Types of certifications held

    • Missouri Core Data

      • Teaching assignments – what, where, during which years

Preliminary findings

Preliminary findings

Things we plan to add to the data collection and analysis…

  • Comparing to the retention of new career education teachers who do not participate in the statewide program

  • Reviewing retention of program participants at 5, 7 and 10 years from the start of their program

  • Reviewing retention by program area

  • Qualitative determination of precipitating factors that influenced participants decision to stay in or leave teaching

For more information, contact:

Missouri Center for Career Education



Dennis D. Harden, Ed.D.


Career Education

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

[email protected]

(573) 751-3500


Larae Watkins, Ph.D.

Coordinator, Research and Curriculum

Missouri Center for Career Education

[email protected]

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