Connecticut’s Teacher Education And Mentoring (TEAM) program is one of the nation’s most highly regarded induction and support programs for new teachers. After state funding for the program was unexpectedly eliminated from the new state budget, CEA has continued to strongly advocate for a restoration of TEAM funding.
At the State Board of Education meeting in January, CEA leaders and staff joined Ridgefield teacher Liz Misiewicz and Bridgeport new teacher coordinator and TEAM facilitator Michael Brosnan in calling on members to support the restoration of TEAM funding.
“It is absolutely imperative,” Misiewicz told the board. “Connecticut is one out of three states that has been nationally recognized by the New Teacher Center as having a high quality induction program, because TEAM is an authentic mentorship program that guides new teachers in their professional learning. TEAM has benefited hundreds of teachers and directly contributes to the reason Connecticut is a leader in education, ranking 4th overall out of 50 U.S. states. How do we expect our state to remain at the forefront if we do not restore funding to TEAM?”
Misiewicz recalled her own early days as a teacher, and the critical support that TEAM provided.
“I remember the summer before I started my first year of teaching—the excitement and nervousness—a mix of emotions, as I’m sure you all have felt at the start of a new career. What helped settle my mind, so I could spend my summer focused on planning my curriculum to positively impact student learning, was TEAM—knowing I was going into this profession with support from a mentor, a relationship with a veteran teacher. I felt a sense of security knowing I could seek advice on questions related to teaching.”
Misiewicz credits her students’ growth in critical reading and writing skills, as measured by various assessments, with the support she received from TEAM.
Brosnan added, “The cost of shifting TEAM mentor stipends onto the districts has had a significant impact on large urban districts. It will cost Bridgeport an unforeseen $91,000 this school year. The bottom line is that we have an unfunded mandate from the state that continues to grow in cost.”
CEA will continue to place TEAM funding on the front burner as the start of the new legislative session approaches. For more information, click here.