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Updated March 14, 1998
The Indiana General Assembly enacted PL 390 in 1987 to initiate educational reforms. These acts included a Beginning Teacher Internship Program which requires the two year internship of every teacher seeking an initial teaching license. Among other features this program has novice teachers work with a mentor and observe teachers other than the mentor, to gather additional ideas for improving teaching & learning. The Indiana program does provide money to support school mentoring programs in the form of a $600 stipend to each mentor and an additional $200 for released time to mentor. The state requires the principal to use the state assessment instrument for assessing teacher competencies, called the Indiana Beginning Teacher Assessment Inventory. The result of this summative assessment are recommendations for further employment and for state certification. Teachers who are unsuccessful the first year may continue as interns the second year if the district continues to employ them. Teachers who are not successful the second year are not certified and can not teach thereafter in Indiana schools.
During 1988-89 the first year of the program, there were 981 new teachers in internships receiving support from mentors. Only 9 of these did not demonstrate minimal competency by the end of the first year, and most of these were rehired for a second year as interns, with the expectation that, with continued work with the mentor, the new teacher would eventually succeed.
The 1991 article by Elrod & DeGrew describes Indiana's program as collegial and without a formal assessment function for mentors that would lead to the new teacher's licensure. (That is because the principal evaluates the new teacher, not the mentor.) Mentors do observe and coach their proteges however, to help them improve their performance. See Elrod, W. & DeGrew, B. (1991). "Principal's Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Intern and Non intern First Year Teachers". Contemporary Education, 62,212-214.
A study of 46 Indiana mentors found they had some degree of understanding of the mentoring relationship and of the need for support of new teachers, but less knowledge about how to provide such support. See Abell, SK, Dillon, DR, Hopkins, CJ, McInerney, WD & O'Brien, DG (1995). "Somebody to Count On" Teaching and Teacher Education. 11(2), 173-188. This finding is interesting in that the state program provides training for the members of the support team. Apparently mentors feel this training is inadequate to their needs, or at least not a practical as they need it to be.
Also in 1995 the State of Indiana was providing $2 million for stipends, release time, and training for mentors.
In April 1997 the State Supt. of Public Instruction announced an on-line mentoring program made up of 21 Indiana teachers who have been selected for membership in the "Exemplary Teachers Network". These mentors will receive special technology training about strategies for classroom use of integrated curriculum and technology, and free Internet access. In turn, these mentors will train others in their districts and across the state in how to create and provide engaged, technology-based, learning experiences in classrooms.
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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