Delaware

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Updated March 14, 1998


Delaware -

In 1991 Delaware was working with ETS to pilot a "Skill Assessment Instrument for Beginning Teachers". During the next few years the state's focus broadened to include more assistance for new teachers in the form of the Delaware New Teacher Mentoring Program(DNTMP). The DNTMP began during the 1994-95 school year with pilots in 3 of the 19 school districts. The primary purpose of the DNTMP is to provide beginning teachers and teachers new to Delaware with the support necessary to help them succeed during their first few years of teaching and to "thrive" through peer coaching and the development and implementation of lessons that link to the state student content standards. The ultimate goal is to develop a performance-based certification system of standards that 2nd and 3rd year teachers would have to meet.

The program is not mandatory, but state funding is provided and school districts are encouraged to participate. The state provides guidelines which school districts are asked to follow in developing their programs and in helping those programs to evolve. In 1995-96, the second year of the program, eight school districts participated. In 1996-97, fourteen participated. In 1997-98, 18 of the 19 districts were participating. As of January 1998 the 19th school district is about ready to submit its proposal to participate. Depending on the number of teachers, school districts receive $7,500 - $32,500 for the program in their district. Funds can be used for (a) staff development related to the program, (b) substitutes to allow mentors and new teachers to observe and meet with each other, and (c) stipends for extra time beyond the school day. The state's financial commitment to the program has grown from $80,000 in 1994-95 to $100,000 in 1995-96, to $480,000 this year (1998).

Performance Learning Systems serves as the consultant to the program and gives each school district 2 1/2 days of staff development and consultation each year and offers two state-wide workshops each year bringing together mentoring teams from each participating school district. Delaware has also begun offering an annual, graduate-level "mentoring academy" to prepare the "lead mentors" which have been identified from the school districts. The lead mentors are to gradually develop and refine skills, and to assume greater responsibility for conducting some of the necessary staff development in mentoring/coaching skills for their mentor colleagues in their own districts.

The mentors are to support new teachers as they learn to meet the state teaching standards. Delaware does not tie the mentor to any involvement in evaluation or assessment of the new teacher. The specific role of the mentor is established by the school district, but state guidelines offer suggestions about what that role should be and state staff development includes the role of the mentor. Early state evaluations of the programs found that mentors wanted their roles to be better clarified. Annual state program evaluations now show very positive feedback about the participant perceptions of the impact of the program. A few recommendations have been made to further refine the programs, including a greater emphasis on helping novices teach to the state standards, providing increased time for mentoring, expanding the pool of available mentors to increase options when matching, greater clarity in expectations of mentors, and a need to differentiate the programs for beginning teachers and new but experienced staff. To encourage these changes the state has published "The Final Evaluation Report: Delaware New Teacher Mentoring Program, 1996-97" (October 1997). Delaware Dept. of Educ., Dover, Delaware. This document includes the findings of the program evaluation which led to the recommendations described above, and a new set of "Guidelines for New Teacher Mentoring Programs" which are intended to promote implementation of the recommendations.

The primary consultant is Steve Sassaman of Performance Learning Systems (800-343-4484). The State Department contact is William Barkley in the Assessment & Accountability Branch of the state's Professional Standards & Certification group at the State Dept. of Education, ( ) 739-4686 or e-mail at <>.


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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