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Collegial Circles Helping to Guide New Teacher Mentees

First grade teachers coach students to blend colors to match a unique color

Our educators in the Ken-Ton School District are always looking to better themselves, challenge their students, and create an engaging and beneficial learning environment. That’s why something called “Collegial Circles” is becoming an extremely important part of our Ken-Ton mentoring program.

A Collegial Circle is a professional learning community made up of educators who are committed to improving their practice. Teachers get the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues, solve problems, share their expertise with others, and ultimately deepen their knowledge of teaching and learning.

“Collegial Circles provide educators with structured time for collegial support and study, as well as an opportunity for reflection practices,” said Courtney Cefarrati, who is one of five Ken-Ton teachers currently serving as a District Mentor. “The benefits reaped from time spent in collegial circles is taken back and shared at the building level, benefitting their colleagues and students.”

Sarah Galante (Big Picture) playing “Roll-a-Blend” with a student from Chelsea-Lyn Lewis’ class at Hoover Elementary

During the 2nd part of the school year, a total of four collegial circle visits are held consisting of one mentor and eight mentees. During these circles, the group works to solve common problems, share opinions and ideas, read scholarly articles, and observe each other’s lessons.

“The reaction has been positive. Mentees have enjoyed building rapport with their colleagues, visiting other buildings, and collaborating,” Cerrafati said. “In the future, we hope to continue to model and support the work the district is doing around Restorative Circles as well as student engagement not only in our classrooms, but in our work we are doing as colleagues.”

Collegial Circles is a part of Ken-Ton’s unique mentoring program, where full-time teacher mentors support and guide new teacher mentees. Following the district’s new teacher orientation over the summer, mentees will regularly meet with their mentors for classroom visits. They also observe and collaborate with other experienced teachers and receive support from the Ken-Ton Staff Development Center.

Teachers Dan Norton (KE) and Lena Scapillato (KW) working on “r- blends” with student in Chelsea-Lyn Lewis’ class at Hoover