Two Norton teachers have been chosen to train new teachers as Lead Mentors, joining a select group of more than 150 of the state's top teachers in the Project SUCCESS program.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Center for University, School, and Community Partnerships (CUSP) is training Marc Liberatore and Sarah Alves along with some of the state's top teachers to mentor their colleagues in high-need areas like special education, English as a Second Language, science and math.
"We know that teacher quality is the most important school-related factor in student learning," said CUSP executive director Karen O'Connor. "By preparing Lead Mentors to support beginning teachers, Project SUCCESS will build the capacity of beginning teachers to help students to reach their full academic potential."
This comprehensive program prepares Lead Mentors through a nine-month graduate-level course, 15 online video lectures, virtual office hours, live videoconferencing and phone consultations with instructors, and three face-to-face seminars.
At the end of the program, successful Lead Mentors will have the academic knowledge and mentoring skills necessary to mentor new teachers, and train other mentors in their home school districts.
All Lead Mentors who successfully complete the graduate course will be eligible to participate in the Mentoring in Action Massachusetts Academy, an on-line community where they are able to network and share ideas after their preparation year.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) selected CUSP to lead Project SUCCESS with funds from the federal Race to the Top program. Massachusetts was one of 12 states to win Race to the Top funding in a highly competitive process.
"A central goal of the state's successful Race to the Top application was to ensure that every student in every classroom in the Commonwealth is taught by a great teacher," said JC Considine, spokesman for DESE. "Project SUCCESS is focused on improving teacher effectiveness and retaining teachers by providing ongoing support to experienced teachers as they serve as mentor leaders to new teachers."
Project SUCCESS Director Carol Pelletier Radford designed the proposal and partnered with school district superintendents across the Commonwealth to customize training to fit local needs.
Last year cohort 1 included 60 mentors hailing from 21 school districts and this year cohort 2 includes 153 Lead Mentors from over 50 districts across the Commonwealth.