WMU receives grant to implement summer mentoring program for teachers

Contact: Nicole Leffler
Dr. Regena Fails Nelson


Jennifer Heymoss


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Two members of Western Michigan University's College of Education and Human Development recently received a grant to fund a summer mentoring program for teachers in area school districts. 

Dr. Regena Fails Nelson, chair and professor of teaching, learning and educational studies and interim chair of special education and literacy studies, and Jennifer Heymoss, director of the Office of Clinical Experiences, were awarded the $25,638 grant from the Michigan Department of Education.

The grant will fund the Leading the Next Generation of Teachers: WMU Summer Institute, which is designed for teachers in partnering districts to gain coaching skills to mentor new teachers and lead professional learning communities focused on improving student mastery in math and English. Participating school districts are Kalamazoo Public Schools, Comstock Public Schools, Parchment School District and Portage Public Schools. Participants are expected to be coaches and mentors for new teachers in their districts.

Thirty teachers will receive stipends to attend a four-day summer institute to learn about leadership, identifying and utilizing strengths, coaching, self-care, and co-teaching models in math and English. They will attend a follow-up session at the end of the summer in which they will develop coaching and co-teaching plans to share with other teachers.

The project evaluation will document the effectiveness of this professional development model for improving teachers' skills and knowledge in coaching, leadership and co-teaching.

Nelson and Heymoss are joined on the project by Dr. Jill Hermann-Wilmarth, professor of socio-cultural studies in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies; and Dr. Kate Kline, professor of mathematics, and Dr. Cody Williams, director of Science and Mathematics Program Improvement, both of the College of Arts and Sciences. Nelson, Heymoss, Hermann-Wilmarth and Kline will all lead professional development sessions at the summer institute; Williams will perform the project evaluation.

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