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Lawmakers want to revive funding for teacher mentoring

The exterior of a stately building.
Jess Clark
The Capitol Annex building.

A mentoring program for new teachers would get funding in a bill advancing in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

The Kentucky House Education Committee advanced a measure Tuesday that would revive state funding for teacher mentoring.

Kentucky teachers used to be required to complete the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (KTIP) to get fully certified. But lawmakers stopped funding that program after 2018, leaving districts to fund and design their own supports for new teachers.

House Bill 828 would create a new statewide mentorship program for first-year teachers in place of KTIP.

The teacher shortage is a very real thing, and I felt like without having a statewide system, that we weren’t really putting our money where our mouth was when we said we care about teacher retention, we care about high quality teachers in the classroom,” bill sponsor Lexington Republican Rep. Killian Timoney told LPM News. Timoney is an educator and works for Fayette County Public Schools.

State education officials say reviving state-funded mentoring programs for new teachers could help retain more of them.

“Ultimately, the goal is to keep teachers in the classroom once they’re hired, period,” Timoney told the House Education Committee Tuesday.

The new program would cost $4 million a year to pay teacher mentors, according to Timoney.

The measure also adjusts the certification process for new teachers. Under KTIP, which began in 1985, teachers who completed their preparation programs and required assessments received a one-year certification with their first job. That first year was spent working under the guidance of a mentor teacher. Successful completion of the internship year allowed the new teacher to receive a full certification and keep their job going forward.

Timoney said the KTIP process was “incredibly burdensome” for both the mentor teacher and the intern.

“This is a much more streamlined version of that,” he said.

The bill would also allow teachers to be fully certified upon completion of their teacher prep programs and Praxis II exams, without having to complete an internship year.

The details of the mentoring program would be designed by the Education Professional Standards Board, but would have the goal of helping the new teacher learn skills like classroom management, lesson planning, and promoting a positive school culture.

Timoney said he’s “very optimistic” Republican leaders will find room in the budget.

News educationYouth Reporting
Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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