(105 ILCS 5/2-3.53a)
New principal mentoring program.
(a) Beginning on July 1, 2007, and subject to an annual appropriation by the General Assembly, to establish a new principal mentoring program for new principals. Any individual who is first hired as a principal on or after July 1, 2007 shall participate in a new principal mentoring program for the duration of his or her first year as a principal and must complete the program in accordance with the requirements established under this Section and by the State Board of Education by rule or, for a school district created by Article 34 of this Code, in accordance with the provisions of Section 34-18.33 of this Code. School districts created by Article 34 are not subject to the requirements of subsection (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (i), (j), (k), (l), or (m) of this Section. Any individual who is first hired as a principal on or after July 1, 2008 may participate in a second year of mentoring if it is determined by the State Superintendent of Education that sufficient funding exists for such participation. The new principal mentoring program shall match an experienced principal who meets the requirements of subsection (b) of this Section with each new principal in order to assist the new principal in the development of his or her professional growth and to provide guidance.
(b) Any individual who has been a principal in Illinois for 3 or more years and who has demonstrated success as an instructional leader, as determined by the State Board by rule, is eligible to apply to be a mentor under a new principal mentoring program. Eligible mentors shall be selected by approved entities and shall complete mentoring training provided by an approved entity set forth by the State Board by rule.
(c) Subject to annual appropriation by the General Assembly, the State Board shall establish a competitive grant program to support the new principal mentoring program and shall approve one or more eligible entities to provide services to new principals under the program. Approval of eligible entities shall be valid for 3 years. Eligible entities are defined as regional offices of education, intermediate service centers, Illinois higher education institutions, statewide organizations representing principals, and school districts. Approved entities shall be responsible for mentor training, pairing mentors and new principals, and all other administrative aspects of providing mentoring services as provided by the State Board by rule.
(d) A mentor shall be assigned to a new principal based on (i) similarity of grade level or type of school, (ii) learning needs of the new principal, and (iii) accessibility of the mentor to the new principal. The principal, in collaboration with the mentor, shall identify areas for improvement of the new principal's professional growth, including, but not limited to, professional growth in the areas addressed in the Illinois Performance Standards for School Leaders.
The mentor shall not provide input into a new principal's evaluation that is completed in accordance with Article 24A of this Code.
(e) On or before July 1, 2008 and on or after July 1 of each year thereafter, the State Board shall evaluate the new principal mentoring training program in collaboration with the approved entities. Each new principal and his or her mentor must complete a verification form developed by the State Board in order to certify their completion of a new principal mentoring program.
(f) The requirements of this Section do not apply to any individual who has previously served as an assistant principal in Illinois acting under an administrative endorsement for 5 or more years and who is hired as a principal by the school district in which the individual last served as an assistant principal, although such an individual may choose to participate in this program or may be required to participate in the program by the individual's employing school district.
(g) The State Board may adopt any rules necessary for the implementation of this Section.
(h) On an annual basis, the State Superintendent of Education shall determine whether appropriations are likely to be sufficient to require operation of the new principal mentoring program for the coming year.
(i) If the State Superintendent of Education determines that appropriations are not likely sufficient to serve all anticipated first year principals in any given year, then the new principal mentoring program shall be voluntary and priority access to mentoring services shall be given to first year principals in the highest need schools, as determined by the State Superintendent of Education. The new principal mentoring program shall only be available to second year principals if the State Superintendent of Education first determines that appropriations are likely sufficient to serve all anticipated first year principals. If mentoring services are extended to second year principals and if appropriations are not sufficient to serve all second year principals who wish to participate in the new principal mentoring program, priority access to mentoring services shall be given to second year principals who are in the highest need schools, as determined by the State Superintendent of Education.
(j) The State Superintendent of Education may determine on a yearly basis the number of mentoring hours required for first year principals and the number of mentoring hours required for second year principals.
(k) The State Superintendent of Education may determine on a yearly basis the amount of compensation to be provided to first year principal mentors, second year principal mentors, and approved entities.
(l) Contact hours for mentors and principals may be in person, by telephone, online, or by any other mechanism that allows for synchronous communication between the mentor and new principal. The State Board may, by rule, require a minimum number of in-person contact hours.
(m) Using funds from the new principal mentoring program, the State Board may contract with an independent party to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the program.
(Source: P.A. 102-521, eff. 8-20-21.)