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Arizona K12 Center receives $2.5 million to support mentoring program

(Facebook photo/Arizona K12 Center at Northern Arizona University)

PHOENIX – The Arizona K12 Center has received $2.5 million in support from the Arizona Department of Education for a mentoring program training new teachers, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced Thursday.

The Arizona New Teacher Support Program will provide mentors to support teachers during their first three years in the classroom, according to a press release.

The program will provide ongoing training with mentors serving as coaches, supporting teachers through reflection and inquiry, according to the release.

Mentors will also be in the classrooms for at least two hours a week.

Research shows retention rates increase with support and collaboration for and among educators, according to the release.

“For too long, Arizona students have paid the price for our teacher shortage crisis, not because we lack the talent, but because too many exceptional teachers have burned out from overcrowded classrooms, non-competitive pay and a lack of essential resources,” Hoffman said in the release.

The Arizona Department of Education’s investment using federal relief and recovery dollars will expand capacity of the program from seven districts up to 22 individual schools, districts or departments and fund all applications received this year that meet the established criteria, according to the release.

The Arizona K12 Center will provide comprehensive and ongoing standards-based training for mentors at each participating site.

“This funding will more than double the impact of this program and allow us to reach some of Arizona’s most rural school districts,” Kathy Weibke, Arizona K12 Center executive director, said in the release.

An experienced educator can help guide a new educator not only in the act of teaching students but also in learning the day-to-day of the profession not taught in a degree program, according to the release.

“Some of the best investments we can make in solving our teacher shortage are in proven recruitment and retention strategies like mentorship programs,” Hoffman said in the release.

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