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Published: Tuesday, 11/5/2002

200 in education visit to learn TPS peer-review plan

As if enough eyes weren't on the district as voters today consider funding a major school replacement and renovation measure, Toledo Public Schools also will host more “students” this week.

About 200 teachers, administrators, and university faculty from across the United States are expected to come to Toledo beginning tomorrow to learn about the district's peer-review program.

Called The Toledo Plan, it was adopted in 1981 in contract negotiations between the Board of Education and Toledo Federation of Teachers as a way to evaluate and prepare incoming teachers.

The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard last year awarded the district and the teachers union one of five Innovations in Government awards for the program, including a $100,000 cash prize.

“We put that as part of our plan to the Innovations people - that we would have a national conference on peer mentoring,” said Craig Cotner, the district's chief academic officer.

“The attendees get a first-hand working knowledge of how peer mentoring works and how it can help the educational process,” Mr. Cotner said.

Under the program, experienced teachers leave the classroom for three-year terms. They are appointed to mentor teachers who are in their first year with the district. Veteran teachers having classroom problems can be referred to the program as well.

Evaluations are presented to a board of review comprised of representatives of the teachers union and the administration.

Educators from throughout the country will meet in a series of workshops, site visits, and lectures to learn how the plan works.

As part of the three-day conference, attendees will shadow mentors as they visit classrooms. Groups also will visit Pickett Elementary School, Grove Patterson Academy, East Toledo Junior High, and Bowsher High School.

“We'll be focusing on school improvement initiatives at each of the school sites,” said Francine Lawrence, president of the teachers union.

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