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Feaster-Edison Charter School: Mentoring Program « Center on Educational Governance (CEG)

Feaster-Edison Charter School: Mentoring Program

Practice Area: Teacher Leadership Development

Feaster-Edison Charter School:
Mentoring Program

Feaster-Edison Charter School

Chula Vista, California
Founded 1997
Conversion
1,131 students
Grades K-6
Site-based
79% Hispanic, 9.5% White, 7.1% African-American, 4.1% Asian, 0.4% Other
85% English language learners
1% Special needs
100% Receive subsidized meals
Teachers not part of collective bargaining unit

http://www.cvesd.k12.ca.us/feaster

Source: Center on Educational Governance, 2006.

Feaster-Edison’s mentoring program provides hands-on leadership opportunities for teachers who are pursuing administrative credentials at
San Diego State University.

Three or four teachers per semester join the principal for regular after-school meetings, shadowing days and observation days. The program culminates with the experience of being “principal for a day.”

The goals of the program include building confidence; giving teachers in the SDSU program a larger perspective on school leadership; and teaching the balancing act between strong leadership and caring for teachers.

Long term, the mentoring program seeks to train future administrators for the Chula Vista Elementary School District; in this it is succeeding. Eight acting administrators in the district once taught at Feaster-Edison; several who are principals completed the mentoring program.

Implementation

Weekly meeting topics might include school leadership, finance, school issues and any topics on which the teacher seeks insight.

On five shadowing days per year, the teacher will follow an active administrator within his district as well as his principal, interacting with teachers and parents and confronting school leadership issues firsthand.

On observation days — held monthly for one to two hours — the teachers join the principal on her classroom observations and discuss instruction issues with her.

Once these have been completed, each teacher will assume the principal’s job for a day at a time when she is called out of the office. The teacher reviews the principal’s responsibilities in advance and debriefs afterwards. When filling in for the principal, he has the support of such administrators as the assistant principal or dean of students, but will be the last word in decision-making that day.

Requirements Of The Mentoring Program

A state program called APLE (Assumption Program of Loans for Education) funds the SDSU collaboration. Teachers receive $11,000 in APLE grants over five years; others seek out their own grants or scholarship money.

No additional staff or space is required, as long as there is space within classrooms for the principal and the mentored teachers to conduct observations.

Lessons Learned

Teachers have said that the mentoring program showed them things they never saw as a teacher. They also have been pleased to learn how to deal with difficult administrative situations such as uncooperative parents or teachers.

Time management is a challenge faced by those in the mentoring program, who have to juggle it with the demands of regular teaching duties in a school with a highly collaborative and leadership-oriented focus.

The Feaster-Edison principal has learned he must formalize and document the mentoring program, once far more informal, to make it replicable.

Conclusion

From its informal beginnings, the Feaster-Edison mentoring program has created a farm team of future administrators for its district. Graduates of the program have said they feel prepared for the challenges of administration and that the experience has made them better-equipped teachers as well.

Student achievement in the six years of the mentoring program has also increased from an API of below 400 to nearly 700. Teachers have suggested some cause and effect.

Address

Center on Educational Governance
Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California
3470 Trousdale Parkway
Waite Phillips Hall, Room 901
Los Angeles, CA 90089-4039

Phone: (213) 740-0697
Fax: (213) 740-4184
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