WASBO Mentorship Program: Helping School Business Officials Succeed
A mentorship is a supportive relationship established between two individuals where knowledge, skills, and experience are shared. The protégé is someone seeking guidance in developing specific competencies, self-awareness, and skills early in their career. The mentor is a person who has the experience and expertise in the areas of need identified by the protégé and is able to share wisdom in a nurturing way.
In this relationship, the protégé has the opportunity to ask questions, share concerns, and observe a more experienced professional within a safe, protected environment. Through reflection and collaboration between the pair, the protégé can become more self-confident and competent in their application of knowledge and skills gained in their training.
No two mentorship relationships are the same; the relationship established is unique based on their needs, personality, learning styles, expectations, and experiences. Mentorship can provide one or all of the following: regular opportunities for individuals to reflect together about their hands-on work; an opportunity for skill development measured in competencies gained; a significant, long-term effect on the life or work style of another person.
The Mentor-Protégé Training Handbook was developed to comply with changes to Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Administrative Licensing found in the Administrative Rule – PI 34. The Handbook includes best practice thinking for mentoring administrators into the profession where they can succeed and thrive.
PI 34 requires all initial educators, which includes administrators, to have a mentor assigned who is trained in the Wisconsin Standards. An initial educator is someone who has completed an approved program with institutional endorsement and is now entering the profession with a Masters degree.
The initial educator license shall be issued for a period of five (5) years and is a non-renewable license. PI 34 requires all school districts to provide three things for the initial educator.
- The initial educator shall receive on-going orientation from the employing school district, which is collaboratively developed and delivered by the school board, administrators, teachers, support staff and parents.
- The initial educator shall be provided support seminars by the employing school district that reflect the appropriate Wisconsin Standards and the mission and goals of the school district.
- The initial educator shall be provided with a qualified mentor by the employing school district. The mentor period may be less than five years.
The focus of the Handbook is to address the third requirement of PI 34, the providing of a qualified mentor for all initial administrators serving as school business officials. The Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials (WASBO) has expanded the availability of the mentorship program to all District Professional Members. It is recognized that current members who are changing positions within the state, assuming positions in Wisconsin after practicing in another state(s), or wishing to become more knowledgeable in a specific program may also want to participate in the mentorship program on a volunteer basis.
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WASBO has developed a process to be used to identify program participants and has established the roles and responsibilities for regional levels. Candiates for the mentorship program may be identified in a variety of ways including: by the institution of higher learning that is granting the degree or certifying eligibility for licensure; the hiring entity such as a school district or CESA; by a WASBO regional representative; or through self-referral. In all cases, the referrals should be directed to WASBO Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators Sandy Malliet (Kickapoo Area School District, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608.627.0105) or Diane Pertzborn (DeForest Area School District, email@example.com, 608.842.6504.)
The Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators manage the program at the state level. Sandy and Diane are responsible for notifying the appropriate regionals of the names of eligible candidates requesting a mentor, arranging for the training of all mentors and protégés, and maintaining an appropriate evaluation component.
It is the responsibility of the regionals to name a contact person to serve as the Regional Mentorship Representative of the mentorship program within their regional. Working with these Regional Mentorship Representatives, the Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators will secure an appropriate pool of experienced business officials willing to serve as mentors. The WASBO Mentorship Program requires business officials to have at least five years of in-state experience in the profession and to have completed the prescribed training prior to serving as mentors.
The Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators will work with the Regional Mentorship Representatives to contact the protégé candidates and arrange for participation in the program and assigning the appropriate mentor. The Regional Mentorship Representative, with the assistance of the Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators, will work to resolve any potential conflicts between the mentor and protégé up to and including a possible reassignment of both parties.
Participation is available to all District Professional Members. While all new WASBO members are eligible to participate in the program, current WASBO members may wish to be assigned a mentor as well. The mentorship program is designed to assist those:
- Beginning their careers in school business management, whether under a provisional or 08 licenses, or by virtue of their current responsibilities in this field
- Changing positions within the state
- Assuming positions in Wisconsin after practicing in another state(s)
- Wishing to become more knowledgeable in specific areas
Identification of Program Candidates
Candidates for the program may be identified for participation in the mentorship program by any of the following means:
- Institutions of Higher Education. Referrals may be made by higher education institutions upon graduation and/or earning eligibility for the WI 08 license
- Self-Referrals. Individuals may contact the Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators or the WASBO Executive Director directly indicating an interest in entering the School Business Management Mentorship Program
- Employer Referrals. Local administrators may contact the Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators or the WASBO Executive Director to request a mentor for an individual with school business management responsibilities in his or her district
- If individual WASBO members or regional chairpersons initiate or receive initial referrals, they are to forward them to the Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators or the WASBO Executive Director
State Level Responsibilities
- The Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators, as designees of the WASBO Executive Director, will coordinate the School Business Management Mentorship Program.
- Referrals of candidates to the program will be made to the Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators
- It is the Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators' responsibility to notify the appropriate regionals of the names of eligible candidates requesting a mentor, arrange for the training of all mentors and protégés and to maintain an appropriate evaluation component
- With the assistance of regional representatives, identify and train potential mentor/PDP reviewers.
- With the assistance of regional representatives, match mentors and protégés through review of mentor and protégé applications
- Check in on mentor/protégé relationship
Regional Mentorship Representative Expectations and Guidelines
- Keep track of new hires in their regional
- Notify the Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators of the need for mentors for new hires
- Schedule mentorship as a topic at regional meetings at least once a year with the Mentorship Program Co-Coordinators to discuss Mentorship Program
- Be trained as mentor and PDP reviewer
- Recommend matches between mentor and protégé through review of mentor and protégé applications
- Attend committee meetings when scheduled
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Mentoring has been and continues to be an accepted and successful practice and powerful tool for training professionals and supporting adult learning in business and industry, education, and many other professional fields. While the approaches and level of sophistication may vary from program to program, the desired outcomes of successful programs are generally the same and focus on strategies that assist individuals to be or become more effective within the context of their organization.
The WASBO mentor program is designed to provide technical assistance and advice to first and second year school business officials relative to the myriad duties and responsibilities that are inherent within every school business official’s job description. This is accomplished by pairing new business officials on a one-to-one basis with experienced veterans.
What are the Goals of this Program?
The mentor program is designed to accomplish the following specific goals:
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- To provide opportunities for new school business officials to acquire the performance skills and knowledge necessary for the effective implementation of their job responsibilities
- To provide a resource in order to facilitate decision making associated with the particularly difficult challenges and problems that occur within the frame of reference of a school business official’s position
- To develop a cadre of experienced school business officials who would be willing to participate in the implementation of mentor activities