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Updated March 16, 1998
In 1980 the state legislated (HB 1706) the Oklahoma Entry Year Assistance Program which first went into operation in the 1982-83 school year. Although designed to provide the novice teacher with support, a major focus of the program was a year-long systematic review implemented through three team meetings and 3 observations of the new teacher's performance by a three member team of a mentor, principal and university representative. This team is trained by a state program so they know the team's role, which includes making recommendations for initial certification of the new teacher and for the staff development appropriate to the needs of the new teacher. The review includes classroom observations and formal evaluations using the state observation instrument, the "Oklahoma Minimum Criteria for Effective Teaching". The principal on the team must decide whether or not to recommend the novice teacher for reemployment. If, at the conclusion of the first year, the beginning teacher does not receive the certificate, a second year of internship can be required. When the resident teacher is approved by the team the resident teacher receives a five year license to teach. See Friske, J. & Combs, M. (1986). Teacher Induction Programs: An Oklahoma Perspective. Action in Teacher Education, 7,67-74.
In 1992 Oklahoma published an Entry Year Assistance Program Framework, along with program time lines and forms to guide mentors and mentoring programs in accomplishing the tasks required by the state program. See State Department of Education. (1992). "Entry Year Assistance Program Packet 1992". Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma State Department of Education. To some extent this publication was an attempt to reduce some of the wide variations seen in mentoring programs across the state, but it also was an attempt to improve the quality of the programs because the framework, time lines, etc.which were provided were based on the lessons learned in the Oklahoma Entry Year Assistance Program since it had began ten years earlier.
In 1995 the "Oklahoma Teacher Preparation Act" (HB 1549) was mandated to establish a more "competency-based teacher preparation system". The mandate required the State Dept. of Education to collaborate with teacher education programs, districts, and the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation. The resulting one to two year Oklahoma mentoring program was called the "Resident Teacher Program", and was patterned after the medical model for doctor training and induction. The new provisions maintained a support team role by a local level group now called the "Residency Committee", and a mentor teacher role to provide guidance and support. Mentors are now selected by principals from a list developed by the local bargaining unit. Beginning teachers are called "Resident Teachers" to mirror the medical licensing process and the expectations for learning while under close supervision. It is the responsibility of the Residency Committee, not the mentor, to recommend to the teacher education program whether or not a certificate should be granted for the novice teacher, or if it is best for the "Resident" to continue to teach as a resident for a second year. If certification is granted the committee recommends a professional development program for the new teacher to follow. At the end of a second year the committee can recommend non certification or certification.
In 1997 the State Dept. of Education published a "Resident Teacher Packet" which has about 12 pages of guidelines and at least as many pages of the forms for observation and reporting to the SDE. The packet provides time lines, regulations and role responsibilities for all parties to the program, including a page of the responsibilities of mentor teachers. Mentors are limited to the support of one Resident Teacher at a time. Mentors are required to invest at least 72 hours of time in support, observation, and consultation with resident teachers, for which they are paid $500.
Contact Linda Ruhman, Director of the Resident Teacher Program in Professional Services at the Oklahoma Dept. of Education, 2500 N. Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4599, 405-521-3607 or e-mail at <> or visit their web site at <http://www.sde.state.ok.us>
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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