P. O. BOX 2120

June 18, 1999


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Additional Mentor Teacher and Clinical Faculty Program Funds

The Education Accountability and Quality Enhancement Act of 1999 (HB 1145 and SB 1210) was approved by the 1999
 session of the Virginia Assembly and signed by the Governor effective July 1, 1999. The act specifically requires that the
 "Board of Education shall establish, from such funds as may be appropriated by the General Assembly, mentor teacher
 programs utilizing specially trained public school teachers as mentors to provide assistance and professional support to
 teachers entering the profession and to improve the performance of experienced teachers who are not performing at an
 acceptable level." The mentor teacher programs shall be administered by local school boards, with the assistance of an
 advisory committee made up of teachers and administrators. Mentors shall meet the following requirements: be classroom
 teachers who have achieved continuing contract status and work in the same building as the teachers they are assisting or be
 instructional personnel who are assigned solely as mentors; be assigned a limited number of teachers at any time; however,
 instructional personnel who are not assigned solely as mentors should not be assigned to more than four teachers at any time;
 and guide teachers in the program through demonstrations, observations, and consultations to promote instructional
 excellence. Local school boards shall strive to provide adequate release time for mentor teachers during the contract day. 

 In an attempt to assist school divisions in establishing or refining programs in this area, an additional appropriation of
 $300,000 was approved for 1999-2000(1998 General Assembly approved an appropriation of $700,000 for the second
 year of the 1998-2000 biennium which has been allocated) for a total of $1 million dollars to support mentor programs.  

 All applicants for the additional funds must submit an application consisting of a one-page letter that includes a brief abstract
 of the proposed program and the following information not to exceed three pages: a brief description of the criteria used for
 selecting mentor teachers; the training and compensation of the mentors; and how mentors are assigned to beginning teachers.
 Where appropriate, a statement of collaboration between school divisions and institutions of higher education also must be
 included. Also required is a budget that includes provisions stipulated in the appropriations act for a local resource or
 institutional commitment of 50 percent to match state grants. 

 Applications must be submitted to the Department of Education by July 23, 1999. Recipients will receive notification of
 approval of funding by August 20, 1999. 

 Questions should be directed to Dr. Thomas A. Elliott, assistant superintendent for teacher education and licensure, Ms.
 Sandra Aldrich, CSPD specialist, at 804-225-2096, or Ms. Byrd Latham, teacher education specialist, at 804-225-2104. 

 c: Deans/Directors of Teacher Preparation Programs in Virginia