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Educational Operations

Mentor training/support, 1:1 tutoring, and content in math, science, and special education


TheNew Teacher Center (NTC) offers online mentorship and training for newteachers, primarily in math, science, and special education. This ispredominantly achieved through the e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS)platform, where new teachers consult with an NTC-provided mentor, discuss bestpractices with their peers in the program, and have access to “Explorations,” aset of pedagogical/content practice modules. All of NTC’s offerings arebrowser-based.

Likeother third-party mentoring programs such as Great Teaching, Great Feedback andAdvance, NTC provides third-party mentors to new teachers. It is distinctive,however, in that it provides new teachers with an online community, as well ascourses and modules to support additional learning needs. Teachers can use theonline community for as long as they want.

Thee-Mentoring for Student Success platform costs districts $1,200 per teacher. Itis used by large public districts like Chicago Public Schools, Tulsa, Austin,Hillsborough Public Schools in Florida, and the NYC Department of Education tosupport their new teachers and manage induction and training.

  • Purpose: Support
  • Primary Users: Primary users are new teachers. Individualschools and districts are the most frequent purchasers of the PD offerings.
  • Cost: The e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS) program is $1200 perteacher (though districts will often purchase “bundles” and reduce that price).There are also individual pieces either for free or for purchase by teachersoutside of the eMSS program. The “Community” page offers several freeresources, as well as 8-week PD modules (“Explorations”) for $200 each and a“No-Nonsense Nurturer” course for $150.
  • Skill Development: The programs target instructional/pedagogicalskills and content skills for new teachers, namely in math, science, andspecial education.
  • On-Brand Use: NTC’s main offerings connect new teachers with third-partymentors and other new teachers over its eMSS platform. The platform offerspersonalized coaching support, a community network to chat with and engage inasynchronous discussions, and a selection of online courses.
  • Off-Brand Use: Though not specifically stressed, the presenceof the eMSS community and forums allows for NTC users to meet one another andform their own professional learning communities--both inside and outside oftheir own school systems.
  • Platforms: The offering is web-based.
  • Deal breakers: This offering is not a one-stop shop PDprovider. Dedication to the mentor-mentee relationship and/or time dedicated tothe courses is crucial for success; current teachers merely looking for abrush-up might find the offerings unhelpful.
  • Types of Schools Using It: A number of different types of schools anddistricts use NTC, from urban to rural districts. This online mentoring programmore often gets picked up by smaller districts, as larger districts tend to gofor NTC’s in-person programming.  

Product Brief

Value Added

Thisservice can be extremely valuable for new teachers who are the only math orscience teacher in their building, or perhaps who don’t have access toexperienced teachers who can guide them through their first year teaching. NTCaddresses the fact that new teachers (and any teachers, really) are often alonein their development process.

Italso gives districts a way to “outsource” their training of new teachers toNTC, if they have limited resources or too large an influx of new teachers forthem to effectively train all the young teachers.

How does it work?

Thereare several facets to NTC’s online offerings. The web-based e-Mentoring forStudent Success (eMSS) system consists of four main parts: (1) a private venuementees work one-on-one or in groups with their mentor (called “Our Place”);(2) discussion forums for groups of mentors to provide ongoing professionaldevelopment (“Mentor Place”), (3) facilitated classroom-focused modulesfocusing on pedagogical or content practice (entitled “Explorations”), and (4)a larger community space where new teachers participate in content-focuseddiscussion forums.

Oncea new teacher enrolls online, he or she is assigned a mentor based on subjectarea and grade level. Mentors chat onlineone-on-one with their mentee both synchronously (e.g. via Skype or by phone)and asynchronously (private messaging, email).

“OurPlace” is the online space where the mentor can host one-on-one conversationsor group sessions to include their other mentees to share challenges andreceive advice. It looks similar to social mediain layout, with a feed of comments and opportunity to create private groups.There are no assignments – this is a place for unstructured conversations.

Withthe information and practices teachers learn during their one-on-oneconversations and “Our Place” sessions, they can then move to the part of theplatform called “Mentor Place,” a collection of discussion forums. Teachers canask questions of the entire selection of mentors (in case they wantperspectives other than that of only their own mentor), or view other publicpostings.

Thethird part of the platform is “Explorations,” a collection of eight-week PDmodules, that users can sign up for on their own. Found on the “New Teacher Zone” page, Exploration coursesare available to any eMSS teacher. A variety of courses (spread between Fall,Winter, and Spring topics) are available around Common Core, Pedagogy, SpecialEducation, and STEM.

Ateacher who signs up for a Exploration course will watch online presentations,work with others in a small online community, and receive individualizedfeedback from their mentor and the online community. The format is flexible andaims to meet the contextual needs of individual teachers; for example, if ateacher responds better to individualized feedback, they can choose to requestit more frequently of their mentor than working with a small group.

How is it used?

Districts “outsource” their mentoring to eMSS as anindependent source through which their newer teachers get training, especiallyin smaller districts where they have a smaller number of new teachers.

TheNew Teacher Center recommends teachers use the program several times a week forthe mentor-mentee discussion and forum postings, and once a week forExploration courses (or other online courses, like the No-Nonsense Nurturercourse).

Participation is for the most part voluntary. Districts setup an expected level of activity for enrolled participants, though this variesbased on the district. Some districts may ask teachers to use mentors weeklywhile others may leave it up to the discrepancy of the mentor and mentee.

Every mentee-mentor engagement is different. “Our Place” andscheduled meetings happen as needed (unless district administrators havedesignated a specific number of times they’d like mentor-mentee events takeplace). The discussions are self-directed, and focus on teachers’ knowledge,skills sets, and interest. A SPED mentor and a SPED mentee might dig into the  best differentiation and IEP practices even asthe mentee participates in the “Developing Individualized Education Programs(IEP’s) Overview” Explorations course.

Who’s Using It?

TheeMSS program has been used by 1,650 teachers since its inception.

TheNTC works with districts to develop individual programs. Currently, districtsin seven states are utilizing individualized programming with NTC’s eMSSsystem, including Chicago Public Schools in Illinois, Hillsborough CountyPublic Schools in Florida, and Tulsa Public Schools in Oklahoma.

Additionally,NTC has worked with several school districts, including the Kansas Departmentof Education and the New York City Department of Education.

Content, Content, Content….

Thereare approximately 12-15 Exploration courses available each semester (fall,winter, or spring). Math, science, and special education are the major areas offocus in mentor-mentee relationships and with online courses. Fewer than 10% ofthe courses are related to elementary education, health, and music

Individualmentors are veteran teachers and university mathematicians, scientists, andspecial education professors. Thirty percent of these mentors are PresidentialAward recipients or finalists; more than 40% are National Board Certified, andover 70% have received state or national recognition for their teaching.

Skillsaddressed specifically through the eMSS program include:  how to teachsubject-specific content and prepare to teach challenging courses and curricula;how to accurately represent material; classroom management skills. eMSSparticipants are also coached to develop confidence in their teaching abilitiesand a willingness to experiment with new teaching methods.

Online courses (specifically Explorations) and modules covertopics including pedagogy ( “Lesson Design” and “Using Technology inClassrooms”), Common Core ( “Integrating Common Core Math”), special education(“Developing Individualized Education Programs”), and STEM ( “Effective ScienceLabs”). Course content varies with each semester, and teachers can mix andmatch according to need.

Explorations modules are developed and designed by curriculumexperts from the NTC online professional development team and academic officeteams, occasionally drawing on content from partner organizations whennecessary.

Training, Integrating, and Implementing

Verylittle integration and implementation is necessary. There is no traininginvolved. Teachers simply sign up online, or receive enrollment codes fromtheir district. Enrollment codes are used tolink teachers to a state, district, university or professional associationcontract. Once teachers choose a course and enroll with their enrollmentcode they are ready to go. Courses require an hour of online time (inaddition to offline lesson work) each week.

NTCdoes not integrate with other PD systems.

TheeMSS program and online courses can go district-wide, if districts choose todevelop an individualized program with the New Teacher Center.

Assessment and Data

Severalstudies tout the effectiveness of NTC’s online offerings. For example, Horizonconducted a research evaluation on eMSS’sscience-specific branch in 2005-2006. The report said that after engaging inthe eMSS program 46% of participants said that they were prepared “to a greatextent” to teach, and 47% said that they were “somewhat” prepared.

Morerecently, several master’s and Ph.D. students in graduate education programshave conducted additional studies of the New Teacher Center’s online program.Ph.D. candidate Roberta Gentry conducted aqualitative study on the program’s special education “electronic mentoring,” Amongher conclusion, Gentry reports “numerous comments [from mentees] about thecomprehensiveness of the professional development provided, the mentoringinstitute, and the ongoing help and support from the NTC staff.”


Theeffectiveness of the mentor-mentee relationship, as well as online community ofnew teachers, depends on the participant’s willingness and time to engage inforum discussions. If the teacher is unable to post frequently, it may affecttheir potential to improve.



Theonly technology required is a browser-based connection and a computer.


Thee-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS) program is $1,200 per teacher (thoughdistricts will often purchase larger bundles). There are also individual pieceseither for free or for purchase to teachers outside of the eMSS program. The“Community” page offers several free resources, as well as 8-week PD modules(“Explorations”) for $200 each and a “No-Nonsense Nurturer” course for $150.

Courses,which require a fee, are available to teachers in eMSS as well as the generalpublic, and accessed through the community page. Courses a “No-Nonsense Nurturer” on-line course thatcosts $150 per teacher. The No-Nonsense Nurturer course is designed to advance new teachers' and mentors’ understanding of strategiesthat can be employed to increase student engagement, build constructiverelationships with students, and establish the routines, procedures andstructures needed to improve student learning (mostly through video).


A participant will receive a certificate for 30 clock hoursof professional development for the successful completion of an Explorationmodule. For an additional $150, teachers may earn three-quarter graduatecredits from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) for the successfulcompletion of an Exploration module.


Competitionin the space relates to both mentor-mentee offerings and online PD modules. Aslew of other companies (Coursera, PBS TeacherLine, etc.) offeronline PD modules.  Mentor-mentee sites include Educator’s Virtual Mentor,Great Teachers,Great Feedback,  WINGS (Welcoming Interns and Noviceswith Guidance and Support), and UWeb Teacher Support Network out of the Universityof Washington.


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