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Mentoring program supports new Nevis teachers

The goal is to retain teachers in the profession.

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Principal Michaelson
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New teachers at Nevis School will continue to have mentors supporting them both in and out of the classroom. A grant will pay for subs to fill in so new teachers can observe master teachers and master teachers can observe new teachers.

Principal Brian Michaelson runs the mentoring program. He said 21 teachers are involved.

“We have 12 first and second year teachers and nine mentors,” he said. “New teachers stay in the mentoring program for two years. If we can keep a new teacher for five years, where the highest dropout rate is, they will most likely stay in the profession.”

Michaelson said teachers have faced more stress and anxiety since COVID, creating extra challenges for both staff and students.

Although he has been running the mentoring program since he started as principal at Nevis School, increased support is available this year.

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“Back then, it wasn’t as intense because we didn’t have the funding for it,” he said. “Last year, we were able to write a grant and get funding to pay subs twice a year, so veteran teachers can observe new teachers in the classroom and new teachers can observe veteran classroom teachers.”

Michaelson said, in addition to paying for subs, part of the funding will be used to send new teachers to four days of responsive classroom training in the Twin Cities next summer.

“That’s our elementary Positive Behavior Intervention program,” he said.

Mentors meet with veteran teachers weekly for 30 minutes or longer.

“I also meet with new teachers once a month,” he said.

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Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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