Keeping Educators in Education - ODE Mentoring Program

Keeping Educators in Education - ODE Mentoring Program

Posted on June 17, 2015

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By Carol Dennis

Teacher turnover costs Oregon school districts $40 - 50 million dollars a year.

Teacher reading a book to her kindergarten class

School districts across the state just hired a lot of new teachers

School districts across Oregon are hiring new teachers. With declining budgets turning slightly back toward the positive, districts are seeing some programs and classrooms coming back. Add year-round kindergarten, and some school districts are experiencing a flood of beginner teachers fresh out of college. With all these new teachers comes the challenge of getting them up to speed as quickly as possible -- in time to keep all their students on track.

The first day of school finally arrives

Back of students who are raising their handsThe first day of the new school year will arrive very soon. The morning bells will sound and the voices of students, teachers, and staff will fill the halls all across the state.

The classrooms will be filled with students, all wondering who the person is standing at the front of the room.

And in that moment, hundreds of beginning teachers might be wondering the same thing. All their planning and all the classes in their teacher prep programs might seem just out of reach when looking into the eyes of their students – THEIR students.

Then, in the back of the room...

Then, in the back of the room, they will see a familiar face smiling, nodding, and reminding these new teachers that they have what it takes. This person is their mentor and, in this moment, these beginning teachers, and their school district administrators couldn’t be happier that there is a Beginning Teacher and Beginning Administrator Mentoring Project in their district.

Mentoring works

"My teachers, after finishing two years with me, are at the point in their careers that I was in 10 years..."

Mentoring saves districts money

Studies have shown that 50% of beginning teachers leave the profession within their first 5 years, costing Oregon school districts $40 - 50 million dollars a year.

Beginning teachers who are mentored through the Oregon Mentoring Program were asked in a 2014 survey to describe their future plans. Seventy-two percent (72%) of these mentored teachers said they would stay in the profession. Fewer than 2% said they would be leaving teaching.*

Mentoring improves student achievement

Three-quarters of the beginning teachers (76%) indicated their mentor helped them impact their students’ learning.*

When asked to provide examples of the impact having a mentor had on their performance in the classroom, the most frequent example was constructive feedback. As the comments of the 737 beginning teachers were further investigated, several themes emerged:

  • Recommendation for effective teaching strategies
  • Guidance with differentiated instruction
  • Assistance with approaches to classroom management
  • Coaching about student behavior
  • Directions on coordinating student data analysis
  • Content-­specific curriculum methodology

* Data from the ODE Mentoring Evaluation Report 2014.

Sharing information at the Annual COSA Seaside Conference

TRI has worked hand-in-hand with the Oregon Department of Education to evaluate all the Beginning Teacher and Beginning Administrator Mentor Projects across the state. On June 18-19, 2015, TRI staffed an information table at the Confederation of Oregon School Administrator (COSA) Seaside Conference. We had a great time sharing information about the Oregon Mentoring Program, as well as other projects currently at TRI, including the statewide Traffic Safety Education Program (through ODOT), and the Central Coordination of the Child Care Resource and Referral, and the Oregon QRIS (both through ODE).

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat!

For more information about TRI, please visit the


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