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Virtual Mentor Teacher Academy


Mentoring is a powerful way to build the capacity of new teachers. High-quality mentoring improves new teacher retention, student achievement, and veteran teachers’ leadership. A significant body of research describes the impact of effective mentoring on beginning teachers’ sense of efficacy, professional growth, and retention rates, as well as the development of skills in key areas of instruction and classroom management.   

To meet the urgent need for districts to provide, ongoing, job-embedded support for beginning teachers Learning Forward is offering a Virtual Mentor Teacher Academy for individual mentors or districts seeking to provide new teachers with an experienced, knowledgeable mentor. The program is for skilled teachers who are ready to mentor colleagues in their first three years in the classroom by applying a mentoring framework to support beginning teachers in growing their practice. The Academy is grounded in the Standards for Professional Learning and adult learning theory, and is designed around a Mentoring Cycle of diagnosing beginning teacher needs, providing coaching support to address those needs, and monitoring progress to measure growth.  

Learning Forward's Virtual Mentor Teacher Academy is aligned directly to five key areas of best mentorship practices:

    1. Effective mentoring partnerships, including developing trusting relationships between mentors and beginning teachers, communicating effectively with beginning teachers, and engaging in conversations with beginning teachers around diversity, equity, and culturally responsive teaching.
    2. Implementing coaching cycles that appropriately differentiate coaching for beginning teachers.
    3. Data-driven instruction that builds beginning teacher skills in analyzing student work, designing formative and summative assessments, and using data to set professional learning goals.
    4. Lesson planning to support beginning teachers in preparing TEKS-aligned, culturally responsive, research-based lessons.
    5. Establishing a supportive learning environment by building capacity to develop and implement classroom routines and procedures that maximize instructional time and create a welcoming, safe and inclusive learning environment for all students.

Participants in the Virtual Mentor Academy will:

    • Attend nine, live, facilitated sessions across the fall semester;
    • Collaborate with mentors from across North America to model, practice, and reflect on best mentoring practices;
    • Engage in asynchronous learning that reinforces strategies;
    • Utilize tools, strategies, and protocols to use with beginning teachers.

This four month course opens August 18, and runs through December 16. Live, 2.5-hour sessions will take place from 6:30-9 p.m. Eastern, with asynchronous learning between live sessions.

Session schedule:

      • Wednesday, August 24 - Kickoff session
      • Wednesday, September 7
      • Wednesday, September 21
      • Wednesday, October 5
      • Wednesday, October 19
      • Wednesday, November 2
      • Wednesday, November 16
      • Wednesday, November 30
      • Wednesday, December 14

Participants who complete all course requirements will receive a certificate for 30 hours of professional learning.

The cost is $1,500/participant, with group rates available for groups of four or more mentors. Register here. 

Group rate - $1,250 per person. Call 800-727-7288 for a group discount code.


Andrea Gautney is a math instructional coach for Clear Springs High School in Clear Creek Independent School District (CCISD). Over the last fifteen years, Gautney has been a classroom teacher, has supported hundreds of secondary teachers in both California and Texas, and is a facilitator for the New Coaches Academy in CCISD. She partners with teachers and teams to provide support and to build capacity in all facets of the classroom: deep mathematical content knowledge, technology integration, social and emotional learning, cultivating rapport, and professional growth. For Learning Forward, Gautney leads professional learning through Coaching Academies, Mentor Teacher Cohorts, and Content-Based Coaching Cohorts. She is a co-designer and primary facilitator of Learning Forward’s Mentor Teacher Academy.

Jennifer Miller serves as an Instructional Specialist for Allen Independent School District in North Texas. She has 23 years of experience as a classroom teacher, campus instructional coach, and a district instructional specialist. Jennifer works with PreK-8th grade instructional coaches and teachers to support curriculum and successful pedagogy. Jennifer also creates and delivers district wide professional development to support the needs of the campuses in the district. She is a co-designer and primary facilitator of Learning Forward’s Mentor Teacher Academy, and has facilitated statewide face-to-face academies for the Louisiana Department of Education and virtual academies for the Texas Education Agency.

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