The Maryland State Department of Education’s (MSDE) Teachers of Promise Mentoring Programs and Institute (TOP) received one of the Daily Record’s 2009 Innovator of the Year awards at a reception last night at the American Visionary Art Museum. The Innovator of the Year award recognizes Marylander’s who have the courage to make a change and the stamina to await the results.
MSDE created TOP to provide an important base of support for the “newest of teachers.” Using the Maryland Teacher of the Year Program as a springboard, award-winning Teachers of the Year from 2005-2009 were paired with outstanding college seniors in education who are now in their first year of teaching in Maryland. Veteran and protégé teachers interact with outstanding Teachers of the Year assisting as mentors. The mentoring begins in the students’ senior year and continues through summer and fall placement in Maryland schools, creating a transitional mentoring program for very beginning teachers.
“This program is truly unique as Maryland is the only state that created a program utilizing the talents and brain power of Teachers of the Year in helping transition college seniors into their roles as first year teachers,” said Dr. Nancy Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools. “With a teacher retention crisis in education, Teachers of Promise creates a mentoring program that transitions young people from the stage of being students in college to teachers of students, lessening the overwhelming experiences of dealing with the many unknowns of beginning teachers.”
Estimates are that one third of Maryland’s teachers, as well as teachers throughout the United States, leave the profession sometime during the first three years of teaching with 50 percent leaving after five years. The teacher retention crisis crosses all communities and all sectors of education. Research strongly suggests that teacher buddies or mentors assigned to work with new teachers can be crucial in encouraging them to remain in the field.
The TOP program also includes a day-long Teachers of Promise Institute where mentor and protégé teachers interact, learn, and reflect on state and global issues that impact education. They also share the Institute with Maryland leaders including presidents and CEO’s of large corporations, elected officials, congressional leaders, and state education officials representing public and higher education.
“This program has developed powerful partnerships among MSDE, corporations, and higher education that together enhance the chances of success and confidence for so many of our new teachers,” said Dr. Darla Strouse, Executive Director of MSDE’s Office of Partnership Development.
MSDE fully implemented Teachers of Promise in 2008-2009 with the participation of 165 outstanding students from 21 Maryland colleges and universities throughout Maryland. Participating students came from every corner of Maryland, including the greater Baltimore area, the Eastern Shore, western Maryland, and Southern Maryland for the Teachers of Promise Institute, held earlier this year in Baltimore. More than 250 teachers participated along with elected officials, corporate, community, and education leaders representing k-12 through higher education.
Teachers of Promise has been applauded by new and veteran teachers and administrators and credited with giving beginning teachers “confidence and enthusiasm, amazing instructional ideas, and personal advice,” that can sustain them.
To learn more about the Teachers of Promise Mentoring Program and Institute contact Dr. Darla Strouse at 410-767-0369 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the Maryland Teacher of the Year Program, visit this link on the MSDE website.