Values & History

A BRIEF HISTORY AND VALUES

Alaska Statewide Mentor Project
The University of Alaska obtained funding for a statewide mentoring pilot project which began in the 2003/2004 school year with one mentor working in five school districts. By early spring 2004, Alaska Department of Education & Early Development (DEED) Commissioner Roger Sampson had learned enough about the mentoring program to ask then UA President Mark Hamilton, "How can we make this happen statewide?"

Department of Education and Early Development joins ASMP
DEED
linked arms with the University to make it happen, pooling both state and federal grant resources. By April 2004, 22 mentors were selected out of 150 exemplary teachers who applied. The teachers were released from their districts to work full time for the project and attended their first mentor training session in June of 2004. By the 2004/2005 school year, mentors were provided to over three hundred early career teachers in 31 school districts across Alaska.

ASMP Co-founder Lorrie Scoles is encouraged by the positive feedback
"We know from talking to our mentors and early career teachers that what we are doing is having a positive impact on teachers and students alike," said Lorrie Scoles, former director of ASMP, "The Mentor Program is a shining star in Alaska and for other states that are looking to develop comprehensive mentoring programs. We are very proud of our state for recognizing the need to support our early career teachers, and I am very grateful to President Hamilton and Commissioner Sampson for working together to make it happen."

Quantitative Research shows results
Since the early days, we have backed up the narrative that our program is working with studies and quantitative research.  ASMP has a researcher on staff from the beginning, and a research report published every other year.

Diversified funding
Over the years, ASMP has adapted with the changing landscape of legislative funding.  In 2016 funding was removed from the Alaska legislative budget.

We were fortunate when UA president Dr. Jim Johnson stepped up with funding to keep us going.  We further adapted by asking districts to cost-share with us.  We began piloting sustainable methods of mentoring early career teachers.  Our foundational model has never changed, yet our delivery methods have expanded.  As a result, we have a greater reach and are better than ever.

Experienced veterans in virtual delivery
Since 2015 we have honed our virtual skills with powerful technology such as SWIVL, Zoom and digital tools.  When we are off-site, we continue to make positive impacts and have proven that getting into classrooms from a distance is possible and effective.  When COVID hit in 2020, we were already prepared to meet the challenges of distance delivered mentor support.

Looking ahead
Currently (2023) we are in the middle of a grant that will evaluate our delivery methods as well as address the connection between cultural competency and social emotional learning.  The study will also help us analyze cost-effective strategies for sustainability.