Albrandt joins UW Teacher-Mentor Corps Cohort to improve educator support

A University of Wyoming (UW) program began to support Wyoming’s educators. Teachers from Glenrock joined in the inaugural project earlier this summer, including Grant Elementary School teacher Jennifer Albrandt.
Teachers from around the state gathered to launch the university’s Teacher-Mentor Corps Cohort (WTMC), a group dedicated to improving support for and retention of Wyoming educators.
An initiative of the UW College of Education, the WTMC is designed to foster teacher excellence by creating a network of Wyoming educators who can provide expert support for emerging teachers. The 21 cohort members represent 16 of the state’s 48 school districts, “creating a web of expert teacher mentors that spans Wyoming,” the release said. 
“I am looking forward to learning effective strategies to best support teachers as they begin their careers. I also look forward to opportunities to work with fellow educators from across the state,” Albrandt said.
“Teaching is a hard job, and that difficulty is compounded in the first one to five years as new teachers master the skills of instruction, assessment and classroom management, all while navigating a new culture at the school and in the community,” says Colby Gull, managing director of the UW Trustees Education Initiative (TEI), who leads the program.
According to a UW survey led by Mark Perkins, an assistant professor of educational research, 65 percent of teachers in Wyoming would leave their jobs if they could. With teacher attrition rates in Wyoming around 11 percent each year, the survey highlighted mental health, lack of teacher support, and assessments as major reasons for leaving the field. The WTMC will work to tackle each of those issues as new teachers complete their field experiences and enter the first and most challenging phase of their careers.
The cohort of teacher mentors starts the 18-month-long program on the UW campus in Laramie with a three-day Summer Mentor Institute. At UW, the teacher mentors will receive introductory training in the core competencies they will master in the WTMC. By the end of the institute, the teacher mentors will develop plans for mentoring early-career educators in their districts throughout the 2022-23 school year.
The core competencies that participants in the WTMC are expected to master include assessment, communication, feedback and work-life balance. These have been chosen as a direct response to the reasons teachers leave the field highlighted in Perkins’ research and to have the greatest impact on teacher satisfaction, quality and retention in Wyoming.
In addition to the Summer Mentor Institute this year, teacher mentors will participate in another institute in 2023. They also will participate in two fall retreats and one retreat in the spring. Quarterly, virtual community-of-practice gatherings will be held. For their work, teacher mentors will receive a stipend for attending both summer institutes and completing all program requirements. Additionally, the UW College of Education will cover all substitute teacher and travel costs for teacher mentors to reduce the barriers for participation in the program.
“As I look forward to next school year, I will be working with several teachers who are beginning their teaching careers. I hope that my participation in this program will allow me to have a positive impact on those educators and in my school district,” Albrandt said.


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