By Mary Spicer
VERNON TOWNSHIP —
“We’re very excited to have them in place,” Charlie Heller, superintendent of Crawford Central School District, said as he introduced the district’s 27 new teachers during the school board’s monthly meeting Monday night.
Some of the teachers, he went on to explain, are coming into their classrooms with experience. Some are coming with little experience, he continued, and others are making a career change. When additions to the district’s paraprofessional, clerical, food service and custodial staffs are also taken into consideration, “Almost 10 percent of our staff is beginning their careers at Crawford Central today,” he said. During an earlier interview, Heller explained that this is the first time in four years that positions have not had to be eliminated, meaning that positions created by a high number of retirements as well as resignations had to be filled.
Board member Mitch Roe objected to a list of 27 “new teacher mentees” and a corresponding number of “mentors of new teachers” at salaries of $75 and $375 each, respectively, for the entire school year.
Pennsylvania Department of Education requires all school districts to have a PDE-approved new-teacher induction plan which, according to the State Board of Education, must include a mentoring component.
Saying that he is all in favor of mentoring relationships, Roe maintained that the money would be better spent in other areas — and that the mentoring should be done by all participants for free.
Noting his 34 years in the classroom, Roe said that as a beginning teacher he asked for help when he needed it, as an experienced teacher he offered help when asked and no money changed hands. He then suggested that the district should follow a similar approach.
Heller pointed out that education has changed dramatically over the course of recent decades and that the mentoring teacher component of the program requires a substantial investment in time and training on the part of the mentors.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.