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Updated March 14, 1998
In the late 1980s Minnesota had a New Teacher Internship Program which was based on the state's proposed teaching standards and an approach that emphasized support for the reflective, self-assessing teacher. The internship that was planned was a beginning teaching assignment which started with a partial teaching load, but gradually increasing to a full time teaching responsibility.
To make a beginning, in 1990-91 the state funded$500,00 for beginning teacher program pilots through competitive grants. Although there has never been sufficient state support for full funding and implementation of the New Teacher Internship program, the state would continue to fund pilots of the program to the current date.
By 1991 that program was still under development and the intention was to incorporate performance assessment of the ability to apply knowledge of teaching to complex teaching problems. At the same time, however, there were state requirements that a three person "peer review committee" evaluate probationary teachers at least 3 times a year for 3 years. By placing the emphasis of mentoring support and formative evaluation on the development of teacher analysis and application of knowledge to the practice of teaching, Minnesota is trying to ensure that the development of teacher thinking and professional judgment would actually occur in new teachers.
In the 1992-93 school year Minnesota provided $700,000 to allow districts to begin or to expand their teacher mentoring programs. The funding was provided at a level of about $1,000 per beginning teacher. Also in 1992, the State published its proposal for restructuring teacher education and licensure of beginning teachers. See Minnesota Board of Teaching. (1992). A Report on Teacher Preparation and Licensing. St. Paul, MN: State of Minnesota.
As of 1998 there still is no state-mandated, state-supported new teacher mentoring program. There is a pilot induction program currently, and the state is seeking a legislative mandate that ties the support of new teachers to requirements for state licensure.
The pilots vary in approach. Some programs pay their mentors a stipend of $500 a year and reserve the rest of their grant to support substitute teachers to create the released time needed for observations and coaching conferences, for planning time, and for staff development for mentors and new teachers. Mentors, in some cases, may be assigned more than one new teacher a year.
A state contact person is Richard Sims at 612-296-2046.
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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