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Mentors discuss program to assist teachers

by Tim Troglen | reporter Published: October 16, 2016 12:00 AM

Hudson -- The district's teacher mentoring program has been around since 1997.

Participant mentors gave an overview of the long-standing program and what membership entails at the Oct. 10 Board of Education meeting.

"Our goals in the mentor program is to provide the students of Hudson City Schools with teachers who are highly effective," according to Martha Halemba, a high school Spanish teacher. "[And] to provide support to teachers new to Hudson and new to the profession, in Hudson, who meet with approximately 2,500 students daily."

Halemba has been with the program since its inception.

And it's not just new teachers, but those changing positions who are helped, she said.

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Halemba taught Spanish at Hudson Middle School for 10 years. When she switched to the high school, she thought it would be a seamless transition. However, not only was the curriculum different, so were the students.

"And I didn't have a mentor then and I remember sinking a little that year-- but I swam," Halemba remembered. "It is so great that Hudson chooses to help those moving from another building because it can only benefit our students."

The program is made up of four lead mentors, Halemba, Brenda DeLeo, Jennifer Lawler and Hong Le. Teachers new to the profession are mandated by the state to take a four-year program.

"We have different steps and it works out pretty well," Halemba added.

According to DeLeo, who teaches at East Woods Elementary School, the program is very thorough and designed to help new teachers every step of the way.

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Mentors meet with the new teachers on a regular basis and discuss topics which include student wellness, conferences, contractual obligations, media technology, professional code of ethics and a checklist of expectations for schools and parents.

"We try to think of everything possible and each year we add something new to the checklist," she said.

While Ohio mandates the mentoring program, it is not funded through the state.

However, Hudson does fund the program, according to Lawler.

"We want our students to thrive," Lawler said. "And if we want our students to thrive, we have to support our teachers so they thrive, too. We want everybody working on all cylinders"

Ortiz, who teaches at Ellsworth Hill Elementary School, is a mentor and has been mentored in the program as both a new teacher and a teacher who moved from one school, Evamere Elementary to Ellsworth Hill Elementary School.

"The mentor program helped me by giving me guidance on what to plan and the instruction which helped me acclimate to a new environment," Ortiz said. "Working with a mentor was beneficial to me, as well as my students, because it helped me become a stronger teacher and leader."

According to Haremba, the mentoring program, part of the overall professional development in Hudson, is one of the reason the district attracts such good teachers.

Board President David Zuro thanked each mentor

"Your enthusiasm for what you do, all four of you, and your dedication to our students came through loud and clear and I just want to thank you for what you do everyday," Zuro told the group after the presentation.

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9435

Twitter: @Trog_RPC

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