In an effort to comply with the 2012 TEACH NJ Act, the N.J. Department of Education (NJDOE) has introduced proposed new regulations related to mentoring. Department officials also stated that these new regulations would reflect the latest research on mentoring coupled with best practices from around the nation.
According to the law, not only are new teachers required to be mentored, so are teachers who are new to a district, even if they have taught elsewhere. Experienced teachers new to a district would have to receive a comprehensive orientation to the district and individualized supports through the Professional Development Plan (PDP) process.
Novice teachers would receive a full year of one-on-one mentoring, with even greater supports for those who came to the classroom via the alternate route.
The new regulations would also change the mentor selection process. Mentors would have to be rated effective or highly effective on their most recent evaluation and would be required to complete a training program. They must have at least three years of teaching experience, and must have had at least two of those years within the five years previous to serving as a mentor.
Because the NJDOE eliminated local professional development committees in code adopted earlier this year, the implementation of and accountability for a district’s mentoring plan is now left to the superintendent.
NJEA leaders and staff are analyzing the proposed regulations, which are expected to be at the second discussion level at the Sept. 11 State Board of Education meeting.