Bates hopes benefits stay with them throughout their careers

    New, inexperienced and/or young teachers in Crookston Public Schools will have a more experienced teacher to consult with, get input and feedback from, and otherwise utilize to become better at their craft, thanks to a new teacher mentoring program.

    Superintendent Chris Bates is rolling out the problem in all three local public school buildings. Launching such a program has been one of the primary goals that school board members identified for him last year as part of their annual superintendent evaluation process. Bates will be retiring at the end of the 2017-18 school year, with the program in place and fully operational.

    The program also includes a book for teachers written by an educator that Bates says he has been following and has been a fan of for many years. Each new, inexperienced teacher in the mentoring program will also be given a booklet with their own name on the cover, yellow for Crookston High School teachers, light blue for Highland School teachers, and pink for Washington School teachers.

    It’s all about communication and collaboration, Bates says.

    “Teaching is a process; they don’t do this to you, they do this with you,” he said.

    The teachers in the program will meet with their building principal to be assigned a teacher mentor, and they’ll meet monthly with that mentor, at a location, Bates hopes, outside of the school environment. They’ll reflect on the meetings and keep a journal that logs highlights or especially useful tidbits of information gleaned in their meetings, something Bates said could come in handy for them as a reference years into their teaching careers. The mentored teachers will also be asked to observe six to eight other, more experienced teachers as part of the program.

    Bates anticipates the program will officially launch sometime in October. The intentional idea was to not have it commence as soon as the school year started, so that the new, inexperienced teachers in the public schools have some time to get their feet under them.

    School Board member Patty Dillabough said she’s glad to see the program getting off the ground. “I think the new teachers will appreciate it very much,” she said.