“Our goal for this program is to help new teachers master the instructional techniques they need to drive student outcomes and lead in the classroom,” said Amy O’Rourke, CREEED’s Choose to Excel Director. “Teachers come to El Paso from various training programs, some which are more robust than others; and this program enhances that training so all teachers are classroom-ready during those first three years of teaching.”
Now in its second year, this program between the El Paso Community Foundation, CREEED, UTEP, and three local school districts – Tornillo, Canutillo, and Fabens Independent School Districts – provides new educators with the dedicated training and support that many newer teachers are not traditionally exposed to by matching them with experienced coaches.
Research shows that up to 50 percent of new teachers end up leaving the profession after five years of teaching, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made more teachers reconsider returning to the profession altogether. Inadequate support is among the most cited reasons why teachers leave.
“We feel that this mentorship program tackles this issue head on by providing new teachers with the dedicated support, guidance, and insight they need as they adjust to teaching, plus the encouragement to continue to make a difference as an outstanding educator for years to come,” says Stephanie Otero of the El Paso Community Foundation.
“In the past, new teachers were assigned mentors that have a more tenured career, but who also have a significant amount of work and a shorter bandwidth to spend significant time mentoring these new teachers,” said Veronica Vijil, Superintendent of Fabens Independent School District. “Through philanthropic funding and support from the El Paso Community Foundation and CREEED, we are able to free up time for experienced teachers to dig deep into classroom observations, coaching, and giving new teachers feedback so these new educators can grow professionally.”
Through this partnership, UTEP is embedding instructional coaches within each school district who work directly with new teachers while simultaneously training the mentor teachers, instructional coaches, and school leadership in an effort to build capacity to sustain the new teacher support system going forward.
The teacher mentorship program is one of several initiatives spearheaded by the Teacher Pipeline Taskforce, a collaboration between the College of Education at UTEP, CREEED, and EPCF to produce strong teachers in the El Paso region.
In order to increase the number of young El Pasoans’ receiving a higher education degree by 2030, our region needs highly-trained and innovative educators that will offer a quality education to students from the very first day they begin teaching,” said Pedro Galaviz, Superintendent of Canutillo Independent School District. “The Teacher Mentorship Program creates a space where UTEP, ISDs, and future teachers can work towards a shared vision of teacher excellence.”
Sixty teachers across Tornillo, Canutillo and Fabens participated in the program’s inaugural year in 2020. To learn more about CREEED’s teacher development efforts and other initiatives, click here.