The Missoula Education Association, the local teacher's union, was awarded a $578,008 grant from the National Education Association to partner with the Missoula County Public Schools to help recruit and retain new teachers
The three-year grant will support efforts to increase retention and job satisfaction among MCPS teachers.
“We know that nationally 20% of teachers leave the profession within the first three to five years due to lack of support right at the outset of their careers,” Elise Guest, MCPS executive director of Teaching and Learning, said in a press release.
The grant will support MCPS' Collaborative Mentoring and Induction Program for New and Early Career Educators, which focuses on building frameworks to assist new educators in the district.
The Missoula Education Association will partner with MCPS and use the grant to improve the induction and mentoring program that offers physical, institutional, emotional and instructional support to new teachers.
The program pairs new teachers with instructional coaches and mentors who help explain school culture, set instructional goals, explain procedures such as substitute plans, provide emotional support and encouragement, and even help arrange and organize their new classroom, according to the MCPS New Teacher and Mentor Guide.
The mentor program, which was implemented in the 2017-18 school year, gives new educators a one-on-one mentor in their building and instructional coach check-ins, in addition to online resources.
This year, the program helped 65 new educators ease into their roles.
Over the next three years, MEA and MCPS will also use the grant to improve recruitment policies and help build relationships between early-career educators and administrators.
“This is a highlight in my career to be able to partner with key colleagues within our school district and our teachers union to ensure that new teachers receive the support they need early in their careers,” Greg Imhoff, the president of MEA, said in the press release.