The Jacksonville Illinois Mentoring Program

The mentoring program for new teachers in JSD 117, Jacksonville, Illinois, is going well. We have had a formal mentoring program since the 1994-95 school year. We have a two dimensional program which includes training for mentors.

To my knowledge, there have not been any other formal mentoring programs in our region of the state, but word of our program's success is beginning to spread and we have received several calls for assistance:

I would be interested in receiving information/opinions about how others see mentoring fitting into the new Illinois certification program which was passed by the Illinois General Assembly last November 1997. This law creates a new Illinois Initial Certificate that requires beginning teachers to wait for four years before they can apply for the Standard Teaching Certificate. However, the law does not specify any support or mentoring for teachers with the Initial Certificate so they might be developing their skills as teachers and have an opportunity to successfully attain the Standard Certificate. Surely they will need this kind of support, especially if the draft teaching standards are adopted. Obviously mentoring is needed as a support for new teachers as they work toward tenure for four years.

Does anyone know the state's attitude toward requiring formal programs, requiring new teachers to verify involvement in such a program, or allowing mentors to use their service as mentors as evidence of professional development/continuing education?

Tom Smith, Assistant Supt. JSD 117, <>

Posted November 15, 1998

(From the editor)

Dear Tom & any one else,

As of October 15, 1998, the Illinois Teacher Induction Panel has submitted its recommendations for state-wide mandated induction in Illinois of teachers with the Initial Certificate to the Illinois State Board of Education. The editor for this article, Barry Sweeny, was a member of that panel. The state's plan is to use these recommendations to write new rules and regulations for state-wide induction. It remains to be seen what ISBE will do with these recommendations which took the panel over a year to research and develop.

A different panel was developing the recommendations for ways experienced teachers could demonstrate continuing professional growth. As of October 1998, that group was recommending that service as a new teacher mentor would be acceptable, along with many other ways.

For more information about this process choose the following link to Barry's web site and an article he recently wrote.