More Math and Literacy Support for Students

About 50 elementary and junior high teachers are back in school this week to learn how they can coach and support other teachers to help more students to succeed.

The teacher mentor initiative for grades primary to nine is part of the province’s $3-million investment this year that will see more resources and support for students and teachers in literacy and math.

“The math and literacy mentor initiative is a chance for Nova Scotia’s teachers to learn from one another,” said Education Minister Jamie Muir. “It’s an opportunity to learn what they can do to help more of their students get the solid foundation they need in math and literacy. I applaud all teachers who get involved in mentoring. They truly are striving to be the best they can be for their students.”

Mentors are teachers who are trained to provide one-on-one or group support to other teachers. They help other teachers identify how they can improve their teaching practices to help more students understand the instruction. A mentor will assist teachers in a variety of ways, observing and coaching in the classrooms as well as consulting on the appropriate resources to use. In addition, mentors will collaborate with teachers on lesson planning, shared strategies and situational issues that arise.

Stephen Jamieson, a Grade 3 teacher at Newcombville Elementary School in Bridgewater, is one of 16 lead teacher mentors in the province. He has been a literacy mentor for almost four years, providing one-on-one training and working with teachers in their classrooms.

“I really enjoy being a mentor to other teachers and helping them improve their teaching practices,” said Mr. Jamieson. “Giving teachers access to one-on-one support is important and I’m pleased to see that the department is investing more resources in this initiative.”

There are currently 50 teachers in the province who are mentoring on top of teaching full-time. More than $1 million will be provided to school boards to expand mentoring this year. With this investment, the Department of Education is moving toward full-time mentors supporting all elementary and junior high schools in the province. Over four years, the department plans to provide enough funding to support up to 60 full-time math mentors and 50 full-time literacy mentors.

Math mentors for grades primary to nine started their work in 2003. Literacy mentoring is new this year.

In May 2005, the Department released Learning for Life II: Brighter Futures Together. This new plan will see a $21.4-million investment in the public school system in 2005-06.

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