Alice ISD featured in new report that outlines strategies to better support first-year teachers

Staff Reports
The Alice Independent School District

The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) featured a new report that highlighted the Alice Independent School District (AISD), for a level of excellence in implementing strategies for states and school districts to strengthen mentoring programs for new teachers. 

Teacher mentorship programs, where new teachers are paired with veterans, are a research-based practice, but they often lack clarity and can turn into more of a “buddy system” than a true learning opportunity. In the new report, NIET shares research and experience that point to greater success when mentorship programs center on instructional improvement and provide deeper support for mentors.

"This was a grant training AISD applied for under the sponsorship of the NIET," said AISD administrator Anna Holmgreen. "Our teacher mentors received extensive training on practices to support first-year teachers and it was a strong tool to learn and build from as a district."

Alice Independent Schoo District

“The first year of teaching is always challenging, but new teachers this fall face even greater obstacles after finishing their training during a pandemic and now navigating learning recovery. This heightens the need to better support first-year educators, especially those serving students who most need a great teacher,” said NIET Co-President Laura Encalade. “It is critical now more than ever to ensure new teachers are well-supported, confident, and prepared to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of their students. Successful state and district approaches can establish programs where new teachers receive feedback and support to grow in their instructional practice, even from their very first weeks, and experienced educators are given the time and training to serve as mentors.” 

“We know from research and experience that high-quality mentoring programs lead to better performance in the classroom, increased student achievement, and higher teacher retention. The challenge is that not enough schools and districts are implementing comprehensive approaches to get the results all teachers and students deserve,” said NIET Co-President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Josh Barnett. “Great teaching starts with meaningful investments in training and support. Commitments like those in Louisiana and Texas not only help develop the foundational elements to make new teachers successful but also build systems of continuous improvement for the whole school to thrive.” 

In the report, "Why New Teacher Mentoring Falls Short, and How to Fix It," NIET distills specific strategies and actions that could be replicated in any school or district to strengthen mentoring for new teachers.