(b) Teacher mentoring programs must be included in or aligned with districts' teacher evaluation and peer review processes under sections 122A.40, subdivision 8, and 122A.41, subdivision 5. A district may use staff development revenue under section 122A.61, special grant programs established by the legislature, or another funding source to pay a stipend to a mentor who may be a current or former teacher who has taught at least three years and is not on an improvement plan. Other initiatives using such funds or funds available under sections 124D.861 and 124D.862 may include:
(1) additional stipends as incentives to mentors of color or who are American Indian;
(2) financial supports for professional learning community affinity groups across schools within and between districts for teachers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to come together throughout the school year. For purposes of this section, "affinity groups" are groups of educators who share a common racial or ethnic identity in society as persons of color or who are American Indian;
(3) programs for induction aligned with the district or school mentorship program during the first three years of teaching, especially for teachers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; or
(4) grants supporting licensed and nonlicensed educator participation in professional development, such as workshops and graduate courses, related to increasing student achievement for students of color and American Indian students in order to close opportunity and achievement gaps.
(c) A school or district that receives a grant must negotiate additional retention strategies or protection from unrequested leave of absences in the beginning years of employment for teachers of color and teachers who are American Indian. Retention strategies may include providing financial incentives for teachers of color and teachers who are American Indian to work in the school or district for at least five years and placing American Indian educators at sites with other American Indian educators and educators of color at sites with other educators of color to reduce isolation and increase opportunity for collegial support.
Submitted: Jan 22, 2022