Maryland

Updated on November 23, 1998


Maryland -

The only mentoring and new teacher support in Maryland during most of the 1980's was a series of individual program efforts carried out on a voluntary basis by local school districts.

In 1987-87 the Maryland State Dept. of Education and the area's regional lab (Research for Better Schools) conducted a research study on existing approaches to support of new teachers being used in the state. See Meister, G. (1987). "Current Practices in New Teacher Development in Maryland". MSDE and Research for Better Schools. During that same year, in an effort to inform the practices of existing programs and to support development of new programs, the same partnership also conducted and published a review of the mentoring literature and existing program models. See Newcombe, E. (1987). "Perspectives on Teacher Induction: A Review of the Literature and Promising Program Models". Baltimore, MD. MSDE and Research for Better Schools.

Also in 1987-88 the state funded a pilot induction program in 5 school districts called the "Exemplary Programs Project". This pilot used the state's "Maryland Teacher Competencies" and the "Maryland Competency Observation Instrument. See Maryland State Dept. of Education. 1087). "A Manual for Classroom Observers: Maryland Teaching". Baltimore, MD: Maryland State Dept. of Education, for details about the state's competencies and instrument.

An excellent review of the extent of mentoring programs in Maryland was published in 1990. See Meister, G. (1990). "Help for New Teachers: Developmental Practices That Work". Philadelphia, PA: Research for Better Schools. This document describes seven mentoring programs in Maryland using a case study approach. A program component and practices "framework" is used to make the cases comparable. These seven programs provide a significant view into mentoring in the state because the school districts in Maryland are all county-wide, with the exception of Baltimore City Schools. The document is available from Research for Better Schools, at 444 N. Third St. Philadelphia, PA 19123, or call 215-574-9300.

By 1991 Maryland was still providing some of the support for the same five "pilots" started in 1988 and was also providing some technical assistance to other emerging induction programs in the state. The state was considering a mentoring program approach using both assistance and assessment of new teachers, although that program approach was not supported by state funding. As early as 1992 the MSDE charged a Teacher Mentoring Task Force to study mentoring as a form of beginning teacher support. The task force identified the benefits of mentoring programs and recommended that there were some issues for which the MSDE needed further policy development before mentoring programs could be created.

Then in 1995 the Maryland Higher Education Commission mandated that all teacher candidates had to do an "extensive internship in a specially designed Professional Development School". They also required that, among other things, the work of university teacher education and school faculties had to include mentoring of interns and beginning teachers. See Maryland Higher Education Commission. (1995). "Teacher Education Task Force Report". Baltimore, Md. Changing the roles of university faculty and changing the teacher education programs to encompass professional development schools was, of course, a major paradigm shift, and was met with some concern.

Another article has captured a good summary of how a university and school partnership responded to the new requirements. At first there was consternation at the disruption the change to a PDS format would cause to existing programs in teacher education. The teacher educators/authors decided to conduct an investigation of the research available on PDS models, and finally, the partnership began their own investigation by creating and evaluating a PDS of their own. The results they found were very positive. See Neubert, G. & Binko, J. (1998) "Professional Development Schools: The Proof is in Performance". Educational Leadership, (55) 5, pages 44-46.

In 1996 the Baltimore County Schools System developed a mentoring program to support teachers with five or fewer years of experience who are in schools with low student achievement and high teacher turnover. Baltimore Co. mentors are released from their teaching responsibility to mentor full time. During 1997, the first year of operation trained mentors were placed in 20 schools. in 1998 12 mentors were assigned.

Also during 1996 the Prince George's County Public School System received a state grant to study and implement a mentoring program. The author of this web site served as a consultant to the Prince George's County System as they developed and implemented their new teacher induction program.What stuck me was that the district was very large, containing 158 school sites, spread over a partially suburban and partially rural setting. The scale of the operation meant that the district had available a wealth of talent to design and implement the program, but that size also led to an initial pilot and mentor training of over 150 people, and that did not address nearly all of the new teachers within the system. As all the districts in Maryland, except Baltimore City Schools, are county systems like Prince George's, the state has a huge challenge in front of it and any work to support Maryland's school districts and their beginning teachers will require some unique approaches. In addition, Carroll County and Howard County Schools have also developed induction program plans.

A review of Maryland's Certification requirements in 1998 shows that there are some mentoring programs around the state being supported through the state's Goals 2000 program. At this time the state uses the Educational Testing Service Praxis II National Teacher Examination as a test of content, professional and basic knowledge expected of teachers. Certification information is available of the Maryland State Dept. of Education web site at <http://www.msde.state.md.us>.

This site also provides some information about a "Resident Teacher" Certificate. The description of this program and its requirements is very brief stating only that it is "a one year certificate available only to persons selected for 'special programs' by a local school district". This program is only used by a few districts and then, only under the approval of the State DOE. The "Resident Certificate program" includes mentoring support during an induction period.

A contact person for the Maryland State Dept. of Education is Virginia Pilato, who is in the Branch Chief of Program Approval and Assessment. Her address is 200 W. Baltimore St. Baltimore, MD 21201-2595. Her phone is 410-767-0390.


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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