Arizona

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Updated March 14, 1998


Arizona - The state of Arizona does not currently require induction or mentoring of its beginning teachers. It is left up to each school district. Early efforts in Arizona borrowed from the approach of the Florida Teacher Performance Assessment Instrument. Here are a few of the more notable programs.

The Arizona Teacher Residency Project is a voluntary collaborative effort of Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, and over 60 school districts in a state-wide partnership. Funding for the project is provided by the Arizona Department of Education. The universities provide 16 hours of training for the mentors focused on observation and analysis of teaching performance. Universities also provide consultation in effective program models. The project trains mentors to collect evaluative data on 35 teaching competencies of novice teachers, but uses this data to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the supporting program. A 1988 paper on this project was presented at the Assn. of Teacher Educators Leadership Academy on Planning and Implementing Induction and Beginning Teacher Support Programs. (See ED298105 by Billie Benz et. al.)

A 1989 description of the University of Arizona (at Tucson) Mentor Program shows the use of mentor training, and capitalizes on the strengths of both a peer and a faculty mentor for undergraduate teacher education students.

A 1996 dissertation studied the extent and importance of support and acceptance of new teachers in Arizona by their experienced colleagues/mentors. The study showed that new teachers depended on their more experienced peers to learn how to teach and the norms of the workplace. The study drew a direct connection between peer assistance, learning their new craft, and their ultimate job satisfaction. See Pappalardo, R. (1996). "Formal and Informal Socialization of First Year Teachers", dissertation, Arizona State University.

The lack of a new teacher initiative in the state ultimately led the Arizona Education Association, at its 1996 state conference, to adopt an action calling for the AEA to "develop a program for instructional support to provide assistance and support for new educators". The intent was to create a guide book for each of the local district associations so that they might press for and provide mentoring support for their new colleagues. The development task fell to the AEA's Instruction and Professional Development Committee which worked throughout the 1996-97 school year. They produced a nice resource book and mentoring program recommendations titled "Polishing the Apples: A Mentoring Program for Local Associations". Information about this resource and the AEA's initiative is available from Nyana Sims or Joanne Plummer at Lake Havasu City School District 520-855-4018, or from Julie Letofsky, at Kyrene School District. 602-940-3783. Both of these district have programs and are fortunate to have these helpful persons in their district providing the leadership.

The impact of these Arizona programs can also be seen in a study done in 1997 which included 78 new teachers in Mesa Arizona. Although 29 did not have mentors, the 49 who did reported their mentor was a major and essential component of their successful first year as teachers. They also reported that their major needs and concerns were individualizing instruction and accessing resources, and that classroom discipline was rated fifth. This is an interesting finding as this beginning teacher need is placed first in many earlier studies of first year teacher needs, including the classic meta-analysis done by Veenman in 1984.


If you are aware of incorrect statements in this material OR if you can add authoritative new information concerning mentoring and induction in the various United States, please contact Barry Sweeny with that information. His e-mail is

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