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August 21, 2017 05:17 PM

Mentorship Program Helps New Teachers Learn From Colleagues

Even teachers need teachers.  The Statewide Mentorship Program is making sure that happens in area schools.  The idea is really quite simple, but Sioux Falls School District leaders say parents and students will see tremendous benefits.  It is all about building new relationships. 

"Cooperation, teamwork, working together and trying to come to a common goal," teacher Josh Thomas said. 

A Friday morning of team-building is helping new teacher Elliot Carmany find his groove. 

"The first group of students.  They're the ones you're never going to forget," Carmany said. 

Carmany will not be alone in the wilderness as he begins his new career path at Garfield Elementary.  Fellow teacher Josh Thomas will show him the way. 

"Every champion needs a coach," Thomas said.

As part of the program, Sioux Falls school leaders are pairing the new teachers with zero experience with more experienced teachers.  Carmany will learn from Thomas, who is beginning his sixth year in the classroom. 

"Just giving him someone that he can balance ideas off.  He can come and talk to anyone.  If he needs something, I can at least have an idea or know where to find that resource," Thomas said.

Assistant Superintendent of Academic Achievement Teresa Boysen says the new teachers will collaborate with their mentors for their first two years. She says the program ultimately improves the classroom experience

"Knowing that brand new teacher has all the supports in place, so they have a successful year just trickles over to the students," Boysen said. 

This is also cost effective for new teachers.  If Thomas has any supplies he does not need anymore, Carmany will be the first to inherit them to help build up his own classroom.  No matter how many hoops he has to jump through during his first year, Carmany is glad to have Thomas working right beside him. 

"Just to kind of have that support and knowing someone is there to help you succeed and they want to see you succeed," Carmany said. 

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