PUEBLO, Colo. — School District 60 in Pueblo is adding more resources to help keep teachers in the district. Officials said they are improving the newly launched teacher mentor program.
The state's department of education is giving nearly a million dollars to D60 to make this possible.
"[It's] so needed because our students deserve to have the best teacher in front of them," said the district's Director of Professional Development, Kelly Warren. "It's our job as the district to provide that intensive systematic support."
Warren said about 20 percent of teachers left the district in the past two years. She said improving this program will help with teacher retention.
New teachers are set up with mentors for their first two years. Warren said there are about 80 teachers with a mentor right now.
One of them, Mariah Bailey, started her teaching career at Belmont Elementary in the middle of this school year.
"[It] can be very difficult because you're stepping into a classroom that's already set up, the students already know each other, but they don't know you," said Bailey.
But thanks to this mentor program, Bailey doesn't have to do it alone.
"As a mentor, I've already seen where teachers have not stayed because once you get in there and you're overwhelmed, it's quite easy to say, 'I don't think so,'" said Bailey's mentor, Elaine Madrid.
Madrid was a teacher with D60 for 30 plus years. She came out of retirement to be a mentor because she said she's been in Bailey's shoes.
"Every first-year teacher back in my day, which is a long time ago, wonders if we did any justice to our first year class," said Madrid.
Madrid observes and offers feedback to Bailey in her classroom.
"It's very important to us, myself to have a mentor that cares about not only myself but my students who I love and adore," said Bailey.
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