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Updated on March 14, 1998
Connecticut -In the 1986 Connecticut legislature adopted the "Educational Enhancement Act" which began the state-wide push for school reforms and professional development of teachers and administrators. In 1988 the Connecticut State Dept. of Education (CSDE) began implementation of a set of reforms called the Connecticut Continuum, which addressed teacher recruitment, preparation, induction and professional development. The inclusion of 2 years of new teacher support through student teacher and induction year mentoring was reinforced by requirements that led to state licensure, and requirements to implement the Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) Program which prescribed training for cooperating teachers and mentors. The initial training is a 20 hour "CORE" Institute, which is followed up by seminars of 8-10 hours for new mentors and 6-12 hours for experienced mentors. The training was heavy on the understanding and use of the Conn. Competencies assessed on a state instrument which mentors had to use to evaluate beginning teachers.
The assessment instrument is called the Connecticut Competency Instrument (CCI) and is a performance assessment tool which is used for observations by an assessment team of six trained assessors from a regional assessment center. Both student teachers and beginning teachers had to develop an INTASC-like portfolio to document their professional activities. These portfolios are a part of what is considered by the assessors. Information on this syatem can be found in "Connecticut State Dept. of Education. (1989). "Feed Back Report For Beginning Teachers". Hartford, CT: Secretary of State of Connecticut.
The CSDE paid the cooperating and mentor teacher stipends, and the cost of all the training which is conducted by the CSDE. Mentors must keep a log of their time, which is defined by state guidelines. A major effort is made to use quantitative and qualitative evaluations to monitor program effectiveness. Each school has a BEST facilitator who supports local mentors and works with regional and state agencies to evaluate & improve the program & train more staff. See Feldlaufer, H., Hofmann, J. & Schaefer, L (1990) Support Teachers in the Connecticut Induction Program. Journal of Staff Development, Fall 1990, 11 (4).
State funding for the BEST program has evolved from a high of $8 million in 1990-91 to provision of only $3 million of the requested $11 million in 1995. Conversations with Connecticut administrators in fall 1997 revealed that state funding has disappeared, but that many districts have assigned resources to keep some level of induction programs in place. State tenure requirements have expanded to four years to include 2 years for a license and then two additional years experience for tenure.
Some clear progress has been achieved. Numerous school districts know what effective induction and mentoring are and how they support improved teacher performance. A study done in 1997 used a survey and three focus groups to examine Connecticut's first year teachers' perceptions of the quality of their induction experience. The results clearly show that no longer (for the sample) was the struggle in the area of discipline, teacher evaluation, or how to teach (as previous research has shown). These first year teachers reported that mentoring had been very beneficial for them and that it is learning how to cope with the practical needs of everyday classroom life for which they need more support. Slater, D.J. (1997). Dissertation, "The Effects of Minority Teacher Induction on Attrition and retention in Connecticut's School Districts". Boston College, Boston Mass.
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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