March 24, 2006

Mentor teacher stipend for Catholic schools back in state’s code

There is good news for private education as the Indiana General Assembly passed a measure to provide money for mentor teachers in Catholic schools.

Language was added to the conference committee report on House Bill 1240—a bill dealing with ISTEP—which authorizes the Indiana Department of Education to pay stipends to mentor teachers next year, including mentor teachers in Catholic schools.

“In 2005, the state legislature stripped $3.6 million by putting a prohibition that the Department of Education could not pay mentor teacher stipends,” said Shawn Sriver, director for the Division of Professional Standards. “Many legislators heard from their constituents to put the money for the mentor teacher program back in, so that’s what they did.”

In 2002, the mentor teacher program became part of a two-year licensure and training program for new teachers.

Pam Peroutky, assistant superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Lafayette who oversees its mentor teacher program, said, “The mentor teacher program helps new teachers learn the everyday business of education.”

Notre Dame de Namur Sister Lois Ann Meyer, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Lafayette, said that roughly 70 to 75 percent of their schools have at least one certified mentor teacher in each building.

“This is really important for schools in rural areas,” said Sister Lois Ann. “Without funding for this program, it would eventually die.”

Glenn Tebbe, executive director for the Indiana Catholic Conference, said, “This is a one-year deal. It will be an issue the Indiana Catholic Conference will be involved with again when it is addressed in the budget session in 2007.” †


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