P.O. BOX 2120



August 22, 2008



Division Superintendents



Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Grants for Mentors for Teachers in Career Switcher Programs

Section 22.1-303 of the Code of Virginia requires that school boards shall provide each probationary teacher, except probationary teachers who have prior successful teaching experience, as determined by the local school board in a school division, a mentor teacher, as described by Board guidelines developed pursuant to Section 22.1-305.1, during the first year of the probationary period, to assist such probationary teacher in achieving excellence in instruction.... The Licensure Regulations for School Personnel require that individuals preparing to become teachers and who are completing Level II of a Career Switcher Program must complete one year of successful, full-time teaching experience in a Virginia public or accredited nonpublic school under a one-year Provisional License. A trained mentor must be assigned to assist the candidate during the first year of employment. The Board of Education guidelines for mentor teacher programs may be accessed at the following website: Responsibilities of the mentor for career switchers include, but are not limited to, the following:

1.              Collaborate with the beginning teacher in the development and implementation of an individualized professional development plan;


2.              Observe, assess, coach, and provide opportunities for constructive feedback, including strategies for self-reflection;


3.              Share resources and materials;


4.              Share best instructional, assessment, and organizational practices; classroom and behavior management strategies; and techniques for promoting effective communication; and


5.              Provide general support and direction regarding school policies and procedures.


Funding has been appropriated by the General Assembly for the 2008-09 year to provide grants to school divisions that employ mentor teachers for new teachers entering the profession through Career Switcher Programs. In the past, some career switchers were provided a mentor by the program provider; however, this year grants will be provided to school divisions to support mentors, subject to available state funding. Please advise your financial officers of this information.


School divisions, therefore, will need to assign a trained mentor to teachers in Career Switcher Programs at the beginning of the school year. During Level II of the program when the career switcher is teaching and completing seminars, I encourage you to continue your partnerships with the Career Switcher Programs to support these new teachers.


The Career Switcher Program providers will be requested to provide a list of those individuals who are enrolled in Level II of the program. School divisions also will be requested to report all first-year teachers hired who hold an Eligibility license or Provisional Career Switcher license. After this information is verified, grant awards will be issued to school divisions. Teachers whose mentors are supported with these Career Switcher funds should not be included when requesting mentor funds through other state mentor funds.


If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Gregory Pels, career switcher program coordinator at (804) 682-0172, or e‑mail:, or Dr. James Lanham, director of teacher licensure, at (804) 371-2471, or e‑mail: