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Over 600 mentors and induction program leaders gathered in Palm Springs, California, in early December to share, learn, teach one another, and network at the 3rd Annual California Induction Conference. Denise, Julie, and Ronda, pictured above, did all that and even found time for fun as well. Denise Duewell is the Induction and Professional Development Coordinator in Turlock USD and Ronda Munoz is the Induction Program Specialist in Ceres USD. Julie McVicker, Just ASK Senior Consultant, is coaching both of these induction program leaders in the design and delivery of their district’s programs. This work is custom designed to match district needs and aligned with the comprehensive requirements of California’s credentialing and induction processes. 

In the  Interest of Equity, Engagement, and Empowerment

The 3 Es (Equity, Engagement, and Empowerment) are definitely front and center issues for all educators today.  I am currently writing a book tentatively titled The Journey to The 3 Es.  Because I am so invested in thinking about these aspects of our work, I have decided to include a small chunk of my thinking in each 2020 issue of the Mentoring Memo. This month’s memo kicks off that area of emphasis.

There simply is no better way to build relationships with students and create engaging learning experiences than to provide an equitable learning environment and empower ourselves and our students to excel as intellectually curious, informed, and compassionate people.

Paraphrasing Dr. Morris Massey, it is to be expected that we are what we are based on where we were when. This means that each of us, mentors and new teachers alike, have to be purposeful in continuing to learn and grow beyond the confines of our own personal experiences, the lives we have lived and are living. We have to know the history, values, successes, and struggles of the community and the families we serve as educators. We need to know what they are experiencing, seeing, hearing, and hoping, which is for them like with us. based on where they were when and are now. 

How can teachers advance The 3 Es in their day-to-day work endeavors? How can they know more about students’ lives, heroes and heroines, interests, joyful moments, worries, and dreams in order to incorporate that kind of information into their planning and interactions? According to what I know from research and my own personal experience, the answer is straightforward… ASK THEM! An important role of mentors and coaches is to support and advise new teachers as they work to acquire and purposefully use this new found knowledge in stories, examples, math problems, science experiments, reading choices, processing opportunities as well as in reality-based formative and summative assessments. Dale Carnegie’s wise words, “Knowledge isn’t power until  it is applied” apply not only to our students but to us as well.

Visual Tool Alert: Edutopia’s short clip titled “The Power of Relationships in Schools” is a great tool to use to communicate this important message. Access it at www.edutopia.org/video/power-relationships-schools




          The Just ASK Mentoring Checklists

Each issue of The Mentoring Memo features  mentoring calendars for the current time of the year. The January and February calendars are now available. These calendars, excerpted and updated from The 21st Century Mentor’s Handbook, offer suggestions for mentoring actions to support novice teachers and teachers new to the district. When you take a look at them, you will quickly see how useful they are. Be sure to forward them to your mentoring colleagues. Post them or a link to them on your district/school website.

Download the January Calendar

Download the February Calendar


Just ASK is pleased to announce the publication of EmpowerED 3.2.1 an ongoing series of brief commentaries authored by Marcia Baldanza. Each issue of EmpowerED 3.2.1 features 3 Big Ideas2 Quotes, and 1 Question with lots of links to resources from different perspectives such as business and industry, medicine, athletics, economics, recreation, and parenting as well as music and the arts. The goals of Marcia’s brief commentaries are to introduce us to multiple voices we might not otherwise hear and  to advance our thinking about how this wide array of information connects with and supports our work as not only administrators but teacher leaders as well.  The response to the first issues “Hard Conversations” and “Building Relationships Based on Trust and Integrity Matters” has been phenomenal. 
We don’t think you can find a short read like this anywhere else.

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