1998 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Harden
Senate Bill 2411
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 37-9-201 THROUGH 37-9-213, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE BEGINNING TEACHER MENTORSHIP PROGRAM ADMINISTERED BY THE MISSISSIPPI TEACHER CENTER SHALL ALSO BE FULLY APPLICABLE TO SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, TO PROVIDE FOR MENTOR ADMINISTRATORS, TO PROVIDE THAT RETIRED TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS SHALL BE ELIGIBLE TO BE MENTOR TEACHERS OR ADMINISTRATORS AND TO AUTHORIZE ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR PERFORMING THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A MENTOR TEACHER OR ADMINISTRATOR; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-9-201, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-201. As used in Sections 37-9-201 through 37-9-213:
(a) "Beginning teacher or administrator" means a teacher or administrator who:
(i) Possesses a teaching or administrator license issued by the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development;
(ii) Is employed at least half time, primarily as a classroom teacher or administrator, by a school district; and
(iii) Has taught fewer than ninety (90) consecutive days, or one hundred eighty (180) days total, as a licensed teacher or administrator in any public school.
(b) "District" means any local school district.
(c) "Formal assistance" means a program provided by a mentor teacher or administrator to a beginning teacher or administrator that includes, but is not limited to, direct classroom or administrative observation and consultation; assistance in instructional or administrative planning and preparation; support in implementation and delivery of classroom instruction or administration and other assistance intended to enhance the professional performance and development of the beginning teacher or administrator.
(d) "Mentor teacher" or "administrator" means a teacher or administrator who:
(i) Possesses a standard teaching personnel service or administrative license issued by the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development;
(ii) Is employed at the time of selection under contract primarily as a classroom teacher by a school district in this state or is retired;
(iii) Has successfully taught for three (3) or more years as a licensed teacher or administrator in any public school;
(iv) Has been selected and trained as described in Section 37-9-211; and
(v) Has demonstrated mastery of teaching or administrative skills and subject matter knowledge.
(e) "Teacher or administrator" means a licensed employee of a local school district who has direct responsibility for instruction, coordination of educational programs or supervision of teachers and who is compensated for services from public funds.
SECTION 2. Section 37-9-203, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-203. The Legislature finds that:
(a) The quality of teaching and school administration in the public schools is of vital importance to the future of this state;
(b) This state has a special interest in insuring that the induction of beginning teachers and administrators into their profession is conducive to their professional growth and development; and
(c) The formal assignment of mentor teachers/administrators who have demonstrated mastery of teaching skills and subject matter knowledge should substantially improve the induction and professional growth of beginning teachers and administrators in this state, as well as provide mentor teachers with additional and valuable opportunities to enhance their own professional growth.
SECTION 3. Section 37-9-205, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-205. (1) The Mississippi Teacher Center of the State Department of Education shall establish a beginning teacher/administrator support program to provide eligible beginning teachers/administrators in this state with continued and sustained support from a formally assigned mentor teacher/administrator during the first full year of teaching.
(2) After the 1992-1993 school year, any district is eligible to participate in the beginning teacher/administrator support program.
(3) Two (2) or more districts may operate jointly a beginning teacher/administrator support program if they meet all the requirements of Sections 37-9-201 through 37-9-213.
(4) Educational consortia established for approved teacher/administrator education programs pursuant to rules of the Mississippi Teacher Center are eligible to operate a beginning teacher support program to serve beginning teachers/administrators in a participating school district.
(5) To the extent practicable, school districts may coordinate with institutions of higher education in the design, implementation and evaluation of mentorship programs.
SECTION 4. Section 37-9-207, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-207. Each district that wishes to participate in the beginning teacher/administrator support program shall submit a formal application to the Mississippi Teacher Center no later than September 15 of each school year, according to rules of the Mississippi Teacher Center. By that date, districts shall inform the department of:
(a) The names of all eligible beginning teachers/administrators employed by the district and a description of their teaching assignments and extracurricular duties;
(b) The names of mentor teachers/administrators selected by a district and a description of their teaching/administrative assignments and the endorsement area in which they are certified to teach;
(c) A description of the content and calendar of the proposed beginning teacher/administrator support program. The program must provide a minimum of ninety (90) hours of direct contact between mentor teachers/administrators and beginning teachers/administrators, including observation of or assistance with classroom teaching or administration, or both, during the school day;
(d) A description of the amount and nature of each eligible beginning teacher's/administrator's classroom and extracurricular duties and assurance that these duties are not unreasonable for a beginning teacher/administrator; and
(e) A certification that no eligible beginning teacher/administrator is or may be misassigned outside the teacher's/administrator's endorsement area, except as provided for by rules of the Mississippi Teacher Center.
SECTION 5. Section 37-9-209, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-209. After consulting with representatives of teachers, administrators, school boards, schools of education, the institutions of higher learning and such others as it considers appropriate, the Mississippi Teacher Center shall develop or approve workshops to provide training for mentor teachers/administrators and beginning teachers/administrators.
SECTION 6. Section 37-9-211, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-211. The selection, nature and extent of duties of mentor teachers/administrators shall be determined by the school district. The following guidelines shall apply:
(a) No teacher/administrator shall be designated as a mentor teacher/administrator unless willing to perform in that role;
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(b) Each mentor teacher/administrator shall complete successfully a training workshop provided or approved by the Mississippi Teacher Center prior to participating in the beginning teacher/administrator support program;
(c) If a mentor teacher/administrator receives additional release time to support a beginning teacher/administrator, it is expected that the total workload of other teachers/administrators regularly employed by the school district should not increase in any substantial manner.
(d) To the extent of appropriations specifically made by the Legislature for that purpose, mentor teachers and administrators shall be awarded additional compensation for performing their duties and responsibilities under this section.
SECTION 7. Section 37-9-213, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-213. The Mississippi Teacher Center shall be responsible for the regular and ongoing evaluation of the beginning teacher/administrator support program and may contract for such evaluation. The evaluation shall include, but not be limited to, assessments of the following:
(a) A survey and follow-up of all eligible mentor teachers and administrators and beginning teachers and administrators and appropriate district officials, to assess satisfaction with and the effectiveness of the beginning teacher and administrator support program;
(b) The amount and quality of the contact time between mentor teachers/administrators and beginning teachers/administrators;
(c) The effectiveness of workshops and other training required under Sections 37-9-201 through 37-9-211;
(d) The effectiveness of the mentor program in enhancing the professional development and retention of new teachers/administrators in the district; and
(e) The desirability of extending this assistance program to students participating in graduate level teacher/administrator preparation programs similar to those which have been proposed by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. * * *
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SECTION 8. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.