Mentor Program Gets an Update
AWSP’s Principal Mentor Program Gets a Refresh
Gina Yonts
Associate Director, AWSP
Evaluation Criteria: Creating a Culture, Planning with Data, Aligning Curriculum, Improving Instruction. Managing Resources, Closing the Gap
The AWSP core priorities of GROW, SUPPORT & SUSTAIN school leadership are showing up in everything we do. The Principal Mentor Program offered through partnership dollars with the OSPI Educator Effectiveness division is getting a refresh! Over the course of the past 12 months, we have engaged stakeholders, especially leaders with diverse intersectionality and from diverse backgrounds to look deeply at our training materials to gather feedback on materials, program delivery and data collection to ensure our program is aligned with these priorities and truly the support school leaders need. Here’s what we’ve been up to: Equity Companion Guide 1.0 In listening to member and stakeholder feedback, it was very clear that school leaders and mentors need more direct support in helping new and newly assigned school leaders navigate issues of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Our AWSP Framework has all of these topics braided into the framework, but it may not be completely obvious. Our steering committee is working to call out these topics in a loud and clear way through the creation of an Equity Companion Guide that will help leaders be strategic and intentional. This new guide will support leaders and mentors in identifying what they are doing to build their own awareness and the awareness of others as well as what teaching and learning needs to happen to get themselves and their systems moving to action. We know and understand that spending too much time in building awareness and in professional development efforts is called the “pace of privilege.” Action steps are needed so we can get results and intentionally, thoughtfully push on systems within our buildings. Students cannot wait! We will be using this draft version throughout the next school year, so that when we go to final print, many hearts, heads and eyes have had a chance to see this new tool and provide feedback.
We affectionately refer to the process of pairing new school leaders and mentors as the AWSP P-Harmony program!
Re-Training of Mentors & Refreshed Training Modules We believe that collaborative adult learning experiences will result in the kind of growth and sustainability needed for sustained school leadership. Growing our collective understanding of how, where and when issues of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion show up in school leadership is a primary driver to the refreshed training format for school leaders. Not only do new leaders need the support, but our experienced mentors need support as well. We have re-vamped our training to take into account principal needs: limited amount of time out of the building, quality resources and trainings with practical learning, hybrid model and accountability in walking with each other in this leadership journey. Dates and times for in-person trainings as well as the themes/topics of the virtual implementation sessions are posted on the AWSP website. All mentors who are interested in being an active mentor this year, are asked to attend one of the in-person training dates (six offered throughout the state, by region) and to commit to attending the implementation sessions to round out the training. We know that the state of Washington hires over 300 new school leaders every year and our grant can only sustain about 150 pairings. As we move into the 2022-23 school year and legislative session, we will be asking for more financial stability with our mentor program and we will have new leaders who do not have direct support. All mentors who participate in the implementation sessions will be in virtual break-out rooms with non-paired school leaders to network and support. The all hands-on deck approach will help AWSP support more school leaders in our state. We are excited to offer training in a principal learning community format! Another added benefit to participating in the free Mentor Training is access to CCDEI cultural competency clock hours. We know that as a preferred provider of CCDEI clock hours, we will ensure that participation in our training will assist in getting hours for certificate renewal. More details on the AWSP Mentoring homepage. Mentor Application/Mentee Application Process We affectionately refer to the process of pairing new school leaders and mentors as the AWSP P-Harmony program! All joking aside, ensuring new leaders have a strong match from the beginning of mentor/mentee pairing takes a lot of time and energy as well as detailed information from both sides. Therefore, members will see a couple of news things on our AWSP website this spring, all with the intention of making the best pairings for new school leaders and also making sure that trained mentors are still interested in providing this service. If you are a new or newly assigned school leader (principals, assistant principal) and are within your first three years (first year in your current role was in 2020) in your assignment you will be eligible to request a mentor. The AWSP Mentoring page will have two buttons: (1) to request a mentor and (1) to apply to be an AWSP mentor. This will greatly speed up our ability to make timely pairings and to ensure a solid fit. It’s important to realize that as mentoring is requested, AWSP needs to know the seated new leader has communicated their interest in participating in the AWSP Mentor Program to their superintendent. It is critical that we get accurate contact information for the mentee’s district iGrant coordinator. AWSP is responsible for pairings and informing OSPI about the amount of money deposited in each iGrants account for Principal Mentoring. We do have several districts who request services and districts with Principal Mentoring leads can reach out directly to the AWSP office to handle bulk mentoring requests.
Summer Conference Session We look forward to sharing the final program details at AWSP Summer Conference in Spokane. If you or your system is interested in knowing more about our program and how to get you and your system involved, please do not hesitate to reach out! We are excited to grow our program and to offer the just in time supports school leaders need through quality mentoring! Want to Become a Mentor? The AWSP Mentoring page will have a button where experienced and interested school leaders can apply to be an AWSP mentor. The application process has been beta tested by a small group of existing mentors this spring and we hope that interested mentors will find the form short and fairly easy to complete. An added component to our process will be the uploading of the mentor’s current resume. Once registered to be a mentor, you will be prompted to select a training date. Again, all leaders applying to be a mentor will need to agree to participating in (1) day of in-person training and participating in the six 90-minute implementation sessions with their mentee. If you are a mentor candidate and you are not paired, we would still like you to complete the training by coming to the implementation sessions. Once a mentor completes training this upcoming year, they will need to participate in a mentor refresh training every three years.
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Association of Washington School Principals
Washington Principal | Volume 3 – 2021-22