|(a) Definitions. The following words and terms, when
used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise.
(1) Beginning teacher--A classroom teacher in Texas
who has less than two years of teaching experience in the subject
or grade level to which the teacher is assigned.
(2) Classroom teacher--An educator who is employed
by a school district in Texas and who, not less than an average of
four hours each day, teaches in an academic instructional setting
or a career and technical instructional setting. The term does not
include a teacher's aide or a full-time administrator.
(A) For a school district, a classroom teacher, as
defined in this paragraph, must hold an appropriate certificate issued
by the State Board for Educator Certification and must meet the specifications
regarding instructional duties defined in this paragraph.
(B) For an open-enrollment charter school, a classroom
teacher is not required to be certified but must meet the qualifications
of the employing charter school and the specifications regarding instructional
duties defined in this paragraph.
(3) Mentor teacher--A classroom teacher in Texas who
provides effective support to help beginning teachers successfully
transition into the teaching assignment.
(4) School district--For the purposes of this section,
the definition of school district includes open-enrollment charter
(5) Teacher of record--An educator who is employed
by a school or district and who teaches in an academic instructional
setting or a career and technical instructional setting and is responsible
for evaluating student achievement and assigning grades.
(b) Program requirements. In order for a district mentor
program to receive funds through the mentor program allotment, as
described in Texas Education Code (TEC), §48.114, the program
must be approved by the commissioner of education using the application
and approval process described in subsection (c) of this section.
To be approved by the commissioner, district mentor programs must
comply with TEC, §21.458, and commit to meet the following requirements.
(1) Mentor selection. To qualify as a mentor teacher,
a classroom teacher must:
(A) complete a research-based mentor and induction
training program approved by the commissioner;
(B) complete a mentor training program provided by
(C) have at least three complete years of teaching
experience with a superior record of assisting students, as a whole,
in achieving improvement in student performance. Districts may use
the master, exemplary, or recognized designations under TEC, §21.3521,
to fulfill this requirement; and
(D) demonstrate interpersonal skills, instructional
effectiveness, and leadership skills.
(2) Mentor assignment. School districts must agree
to assign no more than:
(A) two beginning teachers to a mentor who serves as
a teacher of record for, on average, six hours per instructional day;
(B) four beginning teachers to a mentor who serves
as a teacher of record for, on average, less than six hours per instructional
(3) District mentor training program. A school district
(A) provide training to mentor teachers and any appropriate
district and campus employees, such as principals, assistant principals,
and instructional coaches, who work with a beginning teacher or supervise
a beginning teacher;
(B) ensure that mentor teachers and any appropriate
district and campus employees are trained before the beginning of
the school year;
(C) provide supplemental training that includes best
mentorship practices to mentor teachers and any appropriate district
and campus employees throughout the school year, minimally once per
(D) provide training for a mentor assigned to a beginning
teacher who is hired after the beginning of the school year by the
45th day of employment of the beginning teacher.
(4) District roles and responsibilities. A school district
must designate a specific time during the regularly contracted school
day for meetings between mentor teachers and the beginning teachers
they mentor, which must abide by the mentor and beginning teachers'
entitled planning and preparation requirements in TEC, §21.404,
and the provisions of paragraph (5)(A) of this subsection.
(5) Meetings between mentors and beginning teachers.
A mentor teacher must:
(A) meet with each beginning teacher assigned to the
mentor not less than 12 hours each semester, with observations of
the mentor teacher by the beginning teacher being mentored or observations
of the beginning teacher being mentored by the mentor teacher counting
toward the 12 hours each semester; and
(B) address the following topics in mentoring sessions
with the beginning teacher being mentored:
(i) orientation to the context, policies, and practices
of the school district, including:
(I) campus-wide student culture routines;
(II) district and campus teacher evaluation systems;
(III) campus curriculum and curricular resources, including
formative and summative assessments; and
(IV) campus policies and practices related to lesson
(ii) data-driven instructional practices;
(iii) specific instructional coaching cycles, including
coaching regarding conferences between parents and the beginning teacher;
(iv) professional development; and
(v) professional expectations.
(c) Application approval process. The Texas Education
Agency (TEA) will provide an application and approval process for
school districts to apply for mentor program allotment funding. Funding
will be limited based on availability of funds, and, annually, the
commissioner shall adopt a formula to determine the amount to which
approved districts are entitled. The application shall address the
requirements of TEC, §21.458, and include:
(1) the timeline for application and approval;
(2) approval criteria, including the minimum requirements
necessary for an application to be eligible for approval; and
(3) criteria used to determine which districts would
be eligible for funding.
(d) Ongoing verification of compliance with program
(1) Each year, participating districts will be required
to submit or participate in a verification of compliance with program
requirements through a process to be described in the application
form. The verification of compliance will include:
(A) an annual compliance report, submitted by the district,
attesting to compliance with authorizing statute and commissioner
rule. The report is to include the number of beginning teachers for
whom the district used funds received under TEC, §48.114; and
(B) an annual survey of the district's beginning teachers
and mentor teachers for whom funds were used under TEC, §48.114.
The survey will be used to gather data on program implementation and
(2) Failure to comply with TEC, §21.458, and this
section after receiving an allotment may result in TEA rescinding
eligibility of a district's current or future mentor program allotment
(e) Allowable expenditures. Mentor program allotment
funds may only be used for the following:
(1) mentor teacher stipends;
(2) release time for mentor teachers and beginning
teachers limited to activities in accordance with this section; and
(3) mentoring support through providers of mentor training.
(f) District mentor program review. School districts
awarded mentor program allotment funds must agree to submit all information
requested by TEA through periodic activity/progress reports, which
will occur at least once per year. Reports will be due no later than
45 calendar days after receipt of the information request and must
contain all requested information in the format prescribed by the
(g) Final decisions. Commissioner decisions regarding
eligibility for mentor program allotment funds are final and appeals
to the commissioner regarding such decisions will not be considered.