Torsh Inc., a provider of video based reflection, observation and coaching solutions, and New Teacher Center (NTC), a national nonprofit focused on improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders, have launched a beta version of "Ask a Mentor" powered by Torsh (www.askamentor.org), a new mentoring service for teachers. This offering provides teachers with "just in time", on-demand access to expert mentors who will provide them with quality feedback and support along with suggestions for how to continually improve their practice. The full launch of Ask A Mentor will occur in late August 2014, to coincide with the beginning of the school year.
Educators will be intelligently matched with an NTC mentor based on their needs and will be able to request feedback at any time from their mentor via a mobile and web enabled online platform. Teachers will have the option of requesting feedback in the form of a scheduled synchronous online video chat or as an asynchronous written summary delivered within 48 hours. Teachers will also be able to upload and share videos of their classrooms with mentors in order to get direct feedback on instructional practice and student engagement.
As part of the feedback process, New Teacher Center trained mentors will pose questions to encourage teacher reflection and help the teacher map out how they might improve. This solution allows teachers who might not have access to an in-person, high-quality mentor to receive remote feedback from an expert on a self-identified focus area of their practice. The offering will initially focus on STEM subjects for grades 6 – 12 with plans to expand to other grade levels and subjects in the future.
"It would be phenomenal if every new teacher in the country had access to the support of a mentor and a high-quality new teacher induction program," says Ellen Moir, New Teacher Center founder and CEO. "While we work on making this vision a reality, we believe 'Ask a Mentor' can help greater numbers of new teachers across the country become more effective by accessing the expert guidance of specially-trained, accomplished teachers."
The launch of Ask A Mentor is part of a multi-year agreement between New Teacher Center and Torsh which reflects a deepening relationship which began with the inclusion of Torsh TALENT, an online video observation tool, in NTC's e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS) (http://www.newteachercenter.org/services/emss) teacher induction offering in 2012. Mentors and new teachers responded positively to the ability to see themselves in the classroom, review and reflect on their own practice, and interact with each other at anytime and from anywhere. Given the feedback, Torsh TALENT is also being rolled out by NTC as an addition to their clients who have district-embedded, mentoring-based teacher induction programs where mentors also meet with mentees face-to-face. This addition will increase the number of touchpoints between mentors and new teachers as well as give mentors more flexibility to choose when they review and provide feedback to teachers. This new multi-year agreement reflects NTC's recognition of Torsh's unique value proposition and it's potential to rapidly drive the growth of quality remote coaching solutions across the education sector at scale.
"Our partnership with Torsh came along at just the right time," states Lynn Kepp, NTC's Senior VP of Strategy and Innovation. "The combination of our expertise and their innovative product offerings is allowing us to deepen our relationship with existing clients, increase the number of new teachers we reach directly and ensure that, as an organization, we are being responsive to the trend toward adoption of technology to improve program delivery in the education sector".
Courtney Williams, CEO of Torsh, Inc. sees the work with New Teacher Center as a way to shift the current paradigm from one in which professional development is "done" to teachers to one which reflects a growth mindset where teachers control their development and proactively seek out instructional support that helps them drive student growth and achievement. He shares, "We are thrilled about our partnership with New Teacher Center. They have built a phenomenal brand around teacher growth and effectiveness and continue to aggressively explore innovative ways to touch the lives of more teachers and students. The introduction of "Ask A Mentor" which delivers a mentor to every teacher who wants one, is a logical step in that direction."
Torsh and NTC will be attending ISTE in Atlanta, GA from June 28 - July 1, 2015. Stop by Torsh's booth in the Start Up Pavilion to find out more about Torsh, Torsh TALENT, and Ask A Mentor.
About Torsh Inc.
Since 2011, Torsh Inc.(Today's One Room School House) has worked to improve student achievement by increasing teacher and administrator effectiveness. They are the creators of Torsh TALENT, a video-based observation, reflection, feedback, coaching and data analytics platform. Torsh TALENT delivers a simple mobile app for capturing classroom video, and an online platform that facilitates video-based reflection, coaching, and collaboration around practice. For more information on Torsh Inc., please visit www.torsh.co, follow them on Twitter @TorshCo, and like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Torshco.
About New Teacher Center
New Teacher Center focuses on improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders. In partnering with states, school districts and policymakers across the country since 1998, New Teacher Center has become a nationally recognized leader in designing and delivering high quality induction programs for new teachers, supporting principals and administrators, and promoting policies and practices that provide teachers with positive school conditions – ultimately transforming schools into vibrant learning communities where all students succeed. For more information on New Teacher Center, please visit www.newteachercenter.org, follow them on Twitter @NewTeacherCtr, and like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NewTeacherCenter.