David Skocy, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources
Mary Beth Pullen, Administrative Assistant
Want to know if classes are in session or not? Contact the school closing hotline at (217) 238-8891.
Did you know that about 90 percent of Mattoon elementary school students met or exceeded state standards in math on the state exam and that Mattoon Middle School is a nationally recognized school?
These are just a couple of the interesting and exciting facts that David Skocy, assistant superintendent of human resources for the Mattoon school district, comprised in a report for the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce. Skocy, who serves on the chamber, was eager to share many of the outstanding accomplishments that the school district has achieved. Skocy's entire report is available at the following link. Readers may use the zoom or magnifying glass tool to increase the size of the text. To view the report, click Educational Excellence in Mattoon
Several forces have come together in recent years to prompt school districts across the nation to implement mentoring programs for beginning teachers. Higher birth rates, an aging teaching force, a demand for smaller class size, a declining pool of qualified teachers, and legislative mandates of No Child Left Behind have focused attention on recruiting and retaining new teachers. The shortage of highly qualified teachers is aggravated by the fact that 30-50% of new teachers leave the profession during their first five years. In response to this demand, Mattoon Schools have implemented a mentoring program in an effort to support and retain new teachers.
The Mattoon program provides substantial support to ensure that new teachers feel valued and become contributing employees. Specific program objectives include:
Helping new teachers move from the Initial to Standard Teaching Certificate;
Creating opportunities for contact between the mentor and new teachers;
Orienting new teachers to school improvement initiatives, professional development plans, and the Illinois Learning Standards;
Providing at least three peer coach observations and feedback;
Offering professional development opportunities for new teachers;
Monitoring program effectiveness through teacher self-reflection and mentor feedback;
Attracting new teachers;
Confirming the new teacher's decision to join our district; and Retaining new teachers
The "Mentoring In Mattoon Schools Program" was established in 1992 to help new teachers through the difficulties of their first year. In 2004, Mattoon Schools received official approval and recognition by the State of Illinois for our mentoring program.
Mattoon School's mentoring and induction program has grown to include multi-level instructional and social support for the new teachers and includes the following:
A three-day orientation in August to familiarize teachers with district policy, building procedures, personnel, Illinois Learning Standards, and the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards;
A building level mentor;
A peer coach/consultant;
Daily team planning grades 6-9;
Professional development seminars;
A minimum of 16 hours of paid mentor-new teacher conference time beyond the contractual day/week; and
Follow-up support with peer coach/consultant for second year teachers.
The "Mentoring in Mattoon Schools Program" opens the school year with a three-day orientation prior to the beginning of school. On the first day, new teachers are introduced to key personnel, district goals, policies, and procedures.
On the second day, new teachers and their mentors are introduced to each other. Mentors accompany new teachers throughout a building level orientation in which they have time to work together to set up the new teachers' classrooms, gather instructional materials, review procedures, and talk about instructional practices. The orientation provides new teachers with a chance to become acclimated to their new environment without feeling "alone."
The third day of the new teacher orientation is purposely unstructured so that new teachers can begin organizing their room and materials and plan instructional activities for the first week.
Mentors provide moral support as well as assistance with planning and teaching lessons, understanding and following the district curriculum, classroom management, and linkage to district resources. Most teachers, especially beginning teachers, see their colleagues as sympathetic listeners and as valuable sources of practical ideas and information with respect to professional problems.
In matching a new teacher with a mentor, the highest priority is given to similar job assignments, close proximity, and common planning or lunch periods.
The talents and expertise of an instructional specialist acting as a peer coach (a retired district teacher) who has received formal training in the mentoring process, adult learning, and observation and feedback techniques is a crucial element of the program. The peer coach provides individualized consultative service according to the needs of each new teacher.
Three professional workshops focusing on the ABC's of teaching are offered to new teachers throughout the school year. The first is part of the initial orientation in August. Topics covered include classroom management, school improvement, Illinois Learning Standards, and Illinois Professional Teaching Standards. The second workshop, in October, focuses on parent communication and the stages experienced by a new teacher throughout the first year. The third workshop, in February, is an opportunity for reflection, sharing, and ISAT preparation.