“For more than a decade, clear and consistent research has shown that the quality of teachers is the most powerful school-related determinant of student success” said Dara Barlin, the associate policy director of the New Teacher Center, in an article in Education Week.
With the vision of supporting new journalism teachers across the nation, the JEA Board, at its July board meeting in the summer of 2007, established a mentoring program, creating a Mentoring Committee and committing $90,000 over three years to train mentors.
By providing an ongoing support system to improve the retention rate of new journalism teachers, we hope that new advisers in this program will stay with their publications and build them into strong, effective programs that promote JEA’s goals of freedom of expression, responsible journalism, and support for diversity.
Here’s how it started:
At the Denver convention, representatives of scholastic press associations discussed their concerns about the high turnover of new advisers and the impending retirement of many outstanding journalism educators.
As Julie Dodd said, “We realized that the retired advisers had the expertise, the more flexible time schedule and the love of journalism to help make the mentoring program work.” So, a key part of the program is identifying and training retired journalism teachers to serve as mentors.
Here’s how it will work:
The funding provided by JEA will enable the selected mentors to attend mentor training workshops at our national conventions. Five states will begin the mentoring program, with two mentors from each state. New states will be added each year.
The mentors will be asked to
- Participate in two training sessions
- Use the mentoring process that they will learn during the training.
- Give a two-year commitment to the program. By the second year, they will train other mentors in their states to extend the outreach of the program.
- Mentor at least two mentees this year. By the second year, they will take on one or two more mentees.
- Collect data and prepare reports to establish the effectiveness of the program. Results will be used to solicit funding for extending the program. The Mentoring Committee will develop funding partnerships and will apply for grants to expand the program.
The support for the program comes from both scholastic and professional press associations to provide stipends for mentors, registration fees for state conferences, free memberships, scholarships for mentees to new adviser workshops, etc.