These frequently asked questions (FAQs) are reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
- What schools are considered “staff priority schools” according to Education Code (EC), Section 44561(d)?
Staff priority schools are schools that have an aggregate Academic Performance Index (API) score that was at or below the 30th percentile (decile 1, 2, or 3) relative to other public schools in the state in any of the five previous school years, or juvenile court schools, county community schools, or community day schools operated by a county office of education.
- What are the eligible school district assurances?
Eligible school districts must meet all of the conditions of EC, Section 44561:
Maintains classes in grades K-12, inclusive
Provides an annual salary stipend to each experienced mentor teacher that agrees to teach in a staff priority school, and meets the criteria and performs services as outlined by law
Assures that the experienced teacher has received training to serve as a mentor or has served previously in a mentor capacity in programs for new teachers, including, but not limited to induction and university or district intern programs
Assures that the experienced teacher will have adequate time and material resources to provide assistance to beginning teachers or interns
- Which teachers are eligible to receive a stipend?
Eligible teachers must do or have all of the following:
A clear credential that allows the teacher to instruct the grade level and the subject matter to which the beginning teachers or interns assisted by the eligible teacher are assigned
No less than seven years of recent experience instructing at one or more of the grade levels and in the subject matter to which the beginning teachers or interns assisted by the eligible teacher are assigned
Teach in a staff priority school and agree to provide assistance to at least one, but not more than five, beginning teachers or interns for a period of at least five years
Meet the needs of the school and have a demonstrated ability to foster pupil achievement and learning, as determined by the school principal.
- How much can be used for administrative expenses?
Education Code, Section 44561(c) states that a school district receiving reimbursement of stipend costs shall be entitled to an amount equal to five percent of the total stipend reimbursement for administrative costs.
- How much is a teacher’s stipend?
Participating teachers will receive a $5,866 yearly stipend, or another amount as determined by the Budget Act.
- Is it allowable for LEAs to use a portion of the mentor teacher stipend to also cover employee benefits associated with the teacher stipend (i.e. retirement, Medicare, unemployment, Worker's Compensation costs)?
The handling of employee benefits should be based on the protocols and or procedures the district has in place for the payment of stipends. Since the law requires that the entire mentor teacher stipend be directed to the mentor teacher, employee benefits would need to be paid using other funding sources.
- What type of previous mentor training is allowable?
The law does not specify a particular mentor training program; however, a quality mentor training program, such as the one offered by the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program, or another quality training program.
- May literacy coaches or teachers on special assignment qualify to be mentors under this program?
No. Teachers who serve as mentors in this program must have a teaching assignment at the staff priority school where they are providing support to the beginning teachers or interns.
- May the mentor teacher stipend be used to meet the $2,000 in-kind funding match required by local educational agencies (LEAs) participating in the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program?
Yes. The mentor teacher stipend may be used as the in-kind funding match; however, the entire mentor teacher stipend must be paid to the participating mentor teacher without alteration.
- Section 44562 (a) (2) states that the "experienced teacher must have no less than seven years of recent experience instructing at one or more of the grade levels and in the subject matter to which the beginning teachers or interns that the experienced teacher is assisting are assigned." How does this Section apply to primary and elementary grade-level mentors?
Primary and elementary grade-level teachers may mentor other primary elementary grade-level teachers as long as those mentors have had at least seven years of recent experience teaching in the primary or elementary grade levels. For example, a first-grade teacher who has had at least seven years of experience in teaching at the primary grade level, but not necessarily all of that time in teaching the first grade, may mentor a third-grade beginning teacher.
- May mentor teacher stipend funds be carried over?
No. Mentor teacher stipend funds must be paid to the program's participating mentors on a yearly basis for the five-year period or the mentor teachers' work in the program.
- May BTSA or intern support providers be mentor teachers under this program?
Yes. BTSA support providers and intern support providers who meet the program's requirements may become mentor teachers under the CSMP.
- Is the district responsible for employee benefits costs related to the mentor teacher's stipend?
Yes. The program provides an additional 5 percent of funding per stipend for costs associated with the district's administration of the program.
- Should a district have governing board approval of the grant program?
The law does not require governing board approval; however, if the district does have its own local requirement that a program is brought before the governing board for approval, that policy should be followed.
- Does the LEA have the flexibility to move mentor positions among its eligible schools?
Yes. The LEA has the flexibility to move mentor positions among its eligible staff priority schools; however, it is recommended that mentors be placed at these eligible schools (XLS) with the highest need for mentors.
- Who do I contact for additional questions?
Program Questions: Roxane Fidler, email@example.com, or 916-323-4861
Fiscal Questions: Patty Stevens, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 916-323-5838