eMSS (eMentoring for Student Success) empowers the next generation of teachers by providing exceptionality, content, endorsement and grade level focused mentoring through an online technology network. Though eMSS, new and veteran teachers collaborate in an interactive community to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, and experiences in order to advance high quality instruction for all students.
Within eMSS, a new teacher has a one-on-one mentor as well as a small group of mentees just like them to form a small community in what is called Our Place. We ask that mentees login and/or communicate with their mentor at least twice per week.
Also within eMSS, we provide 8 weeks of targeted support around a specific topic. This 8 weeks of support is called an Exploration. We ask that each mentee complete 1 Exploration. There are 4 Exploration topics that are offered throughout the year. When and what Exploration the mentee completes is up to them. These are not courses but discussions that follow a plan/prepare, teach/assess, reflect/analyze cycle.
eMSS is the only program available which combines all the elements to provide an integrated approach to professional development for new teachers in an online and user-friendly environment. Participants will be able to access these important lessons and network with colleagues while keeping within the parameters of their busy schedules. By focusing on improvement, mentees will be able to focus on students and provide the tools needed to promote student achievement for each and every student.
Because Kansas loses more than 10% of special education teachers annually, Kansas began implementation of eMSS in 2012 as part of the Statewide Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) with the aim of retaining high quality special education teachers in Kansas schools. Local impact as measured by an outside evaluator of the project indicates that 99% of mentees continue teaching 2 years after completion of eMSS. To date, nearly 500 new special education teachers in 87 districts have successfully completed the eMentoring for Student Success program. In order to continue the meaningful work of the mentoring project, eMSS became part of the Technical Assistance Systems Network (TASN) in 2018.
Attrition reports are completed with the assistance of Sarah Vanderpool and Kerry Haag, at the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), who assist in obtaining the data each year and are written by Dr. Kylie Stewart. Additionally, historical data compiled from 1983 to 2010 by Paul McNabb is critical in identifying trends in current attrition rates in special education. These reports are submitted to the Student Support Services section of KSDE and supported through a contract with Greenbush-The Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, Julie Jameson, coordinator of the project. Johnna McColm of Greenbush (SEKESC) conducts the editor review.