A Tree Grows In Vallejo

Mentorship program gives teachers a ‘residency’ similar to doctors and other healthcare professionals

March 29, 2023
A Tree Grows Graphic

Some academic programs graduate students into residency programs – like doctors or pharmacists.

Faculty and administrators with the Graduate School of Education (GSOE) asked an interesting question. Why can’t there be a residency program like doctors have for teachers?

Now there is.

The Touro Rising Educator Experience (TREE) program offers new teachers the opportunity to be supported by mentor teachers while working through their first full year of classroom teaching.

Just as newly minted nurses or doctors enter the workplace with supervising professionals supporting them, teachers will now have experienced teachers there to guide them through the often-difficult transition from student to teacher.

Dr. Louise Santiago, GSOE Program Director, has a goal to connect newly credentialed teachers graduating from Touro with other Touro grads as mentors.

“We’re aiming to have Touro-trained mentorteachers so we can keep our values as a university and a program intact all the way through the process,” Dr. Santiago said.

GSOE professionals have already spent extensive time laying the groundwork with neighboring districts for this fully online program.

Mentor teaching isn’t an entirely new concept, but the execution of that mentorship was hit or miss, depending on the district, Dr. Santiago explained. Some teachers would get great mentorship and others would get essentially none.

TREE’s intent is to make sure teachers get consistent, quality mentoring from veteran teachers so they can not only succeed in the classroom, but thrive. Dr. Santiago said this bolstering of teachers should have an indirect positive effect on students being taught by these TREE educators.

The program is structured so there is a network of individuals and organizations partnering to give these teachers a stable foundation as they begin their careers.

“We want everyone to come together to work collaboratively to support these teachers,” Dr. Santiago said.

The program is set to begin in the Fall of 2023 and there are numerous GSOE alums throughout Vacaville, Benicia, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Napa areas, as well as plentiful alums in the Vallejo and Fairfield/Suisun City regions.

Interested teachers can visit our Graduate School of Education website for all of degree offerings.