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Boyle replaces KTIP with teacher mentors

The Boyle County Board of Education has unanimously approved a new teacher internship program. The “BCTIP” (Boyle County Teacher Internship Program), as Superintendent Mike LaFavers called it, is designed to replace a suspended state program, KTIP, which districts across Kentucky previously relied upon.

KTIP has been suspended through the end of the 2019-20 school year, according to the Education Professional Standards Board of Kentucky.

“Due to budgetary constraints and lack of available funds this program is temporarily suspended during the current biennium budget,” according to the EPSB. “KTIP is an internship program designed to provide assistance to new teachers. Its main goal is to help new teachers experience a successful first year in the classroom.”

Boyle’s program will focus on one specific aspect of what KTIP had provided: mentors for first-year teachers.

“What our principals have said to us is KTIP going away is a burden and the main thing that’s missing is the mentor that KTIP provided,” LaFavers told board members Thursday. “So this is our way of putting that mentor back in.”

There are 19 new teachers in the school district right now, and there could be 20 depending on if a currently empty position is filled, LaFavers said. New teachers include those who went to college to be teachers and those teaching through “Option 6,” a program that allows people who didn’t get their bachelor’s in education but have since completed master’s work to become a teacher “on speed dial,” LaFavers said.

The program approved by the board provides $1,500 stipends to experienced Boyle County teachers to serve as mentors to each new teacher. Mentors will spend 40 hours outside the classroom and 20 hours inside the classroom with the new teacher during the internship.

“We took that language directly from KTIP,” LaFavers said.

Ben Kleppinger/ben.kleppinger@amnews.com
Boyle County Superintendent Mike LaFavers speaks during Thursday night’s board of education meeting.

The mentor teachers will help the new teachers plan, gather materials, build curriculum and more. They’ll also conduct three full-length observations of the new teachers as they lead classes and give them feedback afterward.

There was a preliminary version of the internship program presented in July, but LaFavers asked at that time to table it because he felt it had been rushed and wasn’t entirely comfortable with how it would work.

One change was the district’s principals volunteered not to receive additional stipends per new teacher. The original plan had called for principals to get $400 per new teacher.

“That speaks to our principals — they said, ‘We really don’t think that’s necessary,’ so we pulled that part out,” LaFavers said. “The focus of this is all about the mentors.”

Thursday night’s meeting would normally have been a working session and the board would have taken no action. But LaFavers said they converted the meeting to a special called meeting so the board could take action to approve the internship program. That allows the school district to post the mentor positions internally immediately, hire teachers for the mentor positions by Monday, and have them ready to go for a new teacher luncheon on Tuesday, which will signal the beginning of the internships.