DFA – Educator Induction, Mentoring, and Professional Learning

Educator Induction, Mentoring, and Professional Learning

Revised September 2023

Educator Induction Program—

The District and each school shall develop and implement an educator induction program for educators who are: licensed as associate educators, licensed as professional educators and have less than 3 years of experience teaching, and licensed under District-specific licensure during the first 3 years of working in the District. The induction program shall provide for:

  1. A plan for on-going support and development of an educator, which may include reflective goal setting, implementation of action steps, and evaluation of outcomes that lead to refinement in instructional practice.
  2. Assistance in meeting the Utah Effective Educator Standards (Utah Admin. Rules R277-530).
  3. Mentoring (including observation and feedback beginning early in the program).
  4. Evaluation consistent with Policy DG, including observation and feedback from the principal.
  5. For associate educators, support in meeting the requirements for a professional educator license.

Utah Admin. Rules R277-308-3 (April 8, 2021)


Mentors serving educators in the District’s educator induction program must be licensed as professional educators and shall be trained to advise, coach, consult, and guide the development of a new educator. The mentor shall assist the educator in meeting the Utah Effective Educator Standards. A mentor may not act as the evaluator of an educator that the mentor is assigned to serve.

Utah Admin. Rules R277-308-2(2) (April 8, 2021)

Utah Admin. Rules R277-308-3 (April 8, 2021)

Learning Opportunities for Professional Educators—

Each year, each District employee holding a professional educator license shall be provided professional learning opportunities which upon completion would enable the employee to complete the equivalent of 20 license renewal hours as defined by Utah Administrative Rules R277-302-7, including trainings required by state law or State Board of Education rule. The District shall maintain documentation of these professional learning activities or shall provide the documentation to the employee. If an employee does not participate in these activities, the District shall notify the employee and the State Superintendent that the employee is not eligible to use the simplified license renewal provisions provided under Utah Administrative Rules R277-302-4(1)(a).

Utah Admin. Rules R277-302-6 (July 22, 2022)

Professional Learning Standards—

“Professional learning” means a comprehensive, sustained, and evidence-based approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement. “Evidence-based” means that a strategy (not including reading software) demonstrates a statistically significant effect, of at least a 0.40 effect size, on improving student outcomes based on either strong evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented experimental study (as further defined by the State Board of Education) or moderate evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental study (as further defined by the State Board of Education). “Evidence-informed” means that a strategy is developed using high-quality research outside of a controlled setting in the given field (as further defined by the State Board of Education) and includes strategies and activities with a strong scientific basis for use (as further defined by the State Board of Education). Professional development plans shall implement high quality professional learning which meets the following standards:

  1. It occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, individual and collective responsibility, and goal alignment;
  2. It requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate for professional learning and create support systems for professional learning;
  3. It requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning;
  4. It uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning;
  5. It integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes;
  6. It applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long-term change;
  7. It aligns its outcomes with:
    • Performance standards for teachers and school administrators as described in rules of the State Board of Education and
    • Performance standards for students as described in the core standards for Utah public schools adopted by the State Board of Education;
  8. It incorporates the use of technology in the design, implementation, and evaluation of high-quality professional learning practices and includes targeted professional learning on the use of technology devices to enhance the teaching and learning environment and the integration of technology in content delivery; and
  9. It uses evidence-informed core materials and evidence-based instructional practices and intervention materials.

Utah Code § 53G-11-303(1), (2) (2023) 

State-Funded Professional Development—

The District shall use the funding provided by the State Board of Education under Utah Code § 53F-7-203 to provide paid professional development hours to the following educators: general education teachers, special education teachers, counselors, school administrators, school specialists, student support staff, school psychologists, speech language pathologists, and audiologists. The funds may only be used for educator salary and benefits and may not be used to cover indirect costs.

Utah Code § 53F-7-203(1) (2023)

Utah Admin. Rules R277-629-3(3) (October 11, 2022)

The paid professional development hours provided with this state funding shall provide educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students to succeed in a well-rounded education and to meet the challenging state academic standards and may include activities that

  1. improve and increase an educator’s:
    • knowledge of the academic subjects the educator teaches;
    • time to plan and prepare daily lessons based on student needs;
    • understanding of how students learn; and
    • ability to analyze student work and achievement from multiple sources, including hot to adjust instructional strategies, assessments, and materials based on the analysis;
  2. are an integral part of broad school-wide and District-wide educational improvement plans;
  3. allow personalized plans for each educator to address the educator’s specific needs identified in observation or other feedback;
  4. advance educator understanding of:
    • effective and evidence-based instructional strategies; and
    • strategies for improving student academic achievement or substantially increasing the knowledge and teaching skills of educators;
  5. are aligned with, and directly related to, academic goals of the school or District; and
  6. include instruction in the use of data and assessments to inform and instruct classroom practice.

Utah Code § 53F-7-203(3) (2022)

Each educator who desires to use paid professional development hours funded by the State Board of Education shall:

  1. On or before the fifth day of instruction for a given school year, create a plan in consultation with the educator’s principal on how the educator plans to use the paid professional hours during the school year; and
  2. Before the end of a given school year, provide a written statement to the educator’s principal of how the educator used the paid professional development hours during the school year.

If an educator begins employment after the fifth day of instruction in a given year, the educator may still qualify for paid professional hours. The paid professional hours may be prorated according to the portion of the school year that the educator is employed.

Utah Code § 53F-7-203(4) (2023)