When school leaders improve their leadership practices and stay in their jobs longer, student learning improves.
Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, & Anderson, 2010
Preparing school leaders for success, and sustaining those leaders, is critical to the future of education. Administrator turnover can be expensive and detrimental to a school system, impacting student achievement and overall school success.
Now more than ever, it is essential that our school leaders be provided with high-quality support as they as they help build a brighter future for New York’s students. The SAANYS Mentor Coach program is designed to fill a current gap in school leadership development – the opportunity to grow professionally from a true mentor coaching relationship.
SAANYS Mentor Coaching differs from In-district Mentoring
Both kinds of mentoring have value, but they are different and support the mentee in very different ways. SAANYS mentor coaches are not district employees, therefore there is a high level of comfort with the confidentiality and objectivity that comes with an external mentor.
In-district mentors, who are colleagues, can offer a lot of insider history and knowledge of routines, procedures, and district culture. SAANYS mentor coaches, however, are trained to focus on overall professional growth by advancing a mentee’s ability to think through challenges and strengthen his or her leadership skills using impactful questioning, active listening, and reflection.
1:1 Mentor Coaching
1:1 Mentor Coaching pairs a trained SAANYS Mentor Coach with an individual school leader. This model offers confidential and individualized support to the mentee over the course of ten months. Based upon the Ontario Principals’ Council model, 1:1 Mentor Coaching features a reciprocal learning relationship. The mentor coach and mentee form a partnership,working collaboratively toward the achievement of mutually defined goals to develop the mentee’s skills, abilities, and thinking. Both face-to-face and virtual platforms are used for meetings and contact is available to the mentee as needed between meetings.
1:1 Mentor Coaching lasts for a period of ten months. The cost is $3,500, which is eligible for state aid if run through a BOCES.
This model features the benefit of the support of colleagues in addition to that of the mentor coach. By sharing successes and challenges with colleagues and a trained mentor coach, mentees build leadership capacity by identifying strengths and delving into concrete day-to-day situations.
Three to six mentees, either from the same district or different districts in a region, can form a coaching Circle with the mentor coach acting as facilitator. Circles form for ten months and feature four individual 1:1 sessions with the mentor coach as well as eight 90-minute group sessions. Online support is available if needed between meetings.
This option lasts for a ten-month period. The cost to the district is $1,750 for each mentee, which is also eligible for state aid if run through a BOCES.
How do we get started?
A school leader may request a mentor coach through the district. The majority of these mentees are successful, reflective young leaders who want to develop their strengths. Many are experienced administrators in new roles. The district then contacts SAANYS on the administrator’s behalf.
Alternatively, district leadership might identify a veteran or novice administrator who would benefit from mentor coaching assistance. If the administrator agrees with the recommendation, then district leadership contacts SAANYS.
Potential mentees can also contact SAANYS directly. SAANYS then gets approval from the district and matches the potential mentee with a SAANYS mentor coach. An initial meeting with the mentee, potential mentor coach, and district office representative is scheduled. If all wish to proceed, a contract is completed and the mentorship begins.
When does the program begin?
Both 1:1 and Group Mentor Coaching can begin at anytime during the year.
How are SAANYS mentor coaches prepared and trained?
To be eligible for training, potential mentor coaches must be certified school leaders, either currently employed or recently retired, with at least five years of experience.
Training is built around the National Mentor Competencies of NAESP as well as those from the Ontario Principals’ Council. A minimum of 12 hours of training is required along with continuous development with SAANYS’ mentor coordinator.
Continuing Education Credit (CTLE)
Districts can choose to use the SAANYS Mentor Coaching options to satisfy mentoring requirements for administrators holding an initial SBL certificate. All participants receive a certificate of mentorship completion and CTLE credit.