[SEC. 37-9-301]. Definitions; establishment; application process and selection.
(1) The following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) "Beginning principal" means a principal who:
(i) Possesses an administrator's license issued by the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development;
(ii) Is employed as a principal by a public school district; and
(iii) Has served fewer than ninety (90) consecutive days, or one hundred eighty (180) days total, as a licensed principal in any public school.
(b) "Formal assistance" means a program provided by a mentor principal to a beginning principal which includes, but is not limited to: direct administrative observation and consultation; assistance in administrative planning and preparation; support in implementation and delivery of principal administrative responsibilities; and support in the administrative functions of school leadership, student psychology, student health, student drug abuse, human relations, multicultural and multiethnic relations, crisis management and other assistance intended to enhance the professional performance and development of the beginning principal.
(c) "Mentor principal" means a principal who:
(i) Possesses a standard administrative license issued by the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development;
(ii) At the time of selection, is employed under contract primarily as a principal by a public school district or is retired from a public school district;
(iii) Has successfully served for three (3) or more years as a licensed principal in any public school; and
(iv) Has demonstrated mastery of administrative skills and subject matter knowledge and has been selected and trained as described in this act.
(2) The School Executive Management Institute of the State Department of Education shall establish a Beginning Principal Support Pilot Program to provide eligible beginning principals in this state with continued and sustained support from a formally assigned mentor principal during the first full year of principal service.
(3) The State Board of Education shall select one (1) school district in each of the five (5) Mississippi congressional districts, pursuant to the application process provided for in this section, to participate in the Beginning Principal Support Pilot Program. Two (2) or more districts may operate jointly a Beginning Principal Support Pilot Program if the districts meet all the requirements of this section. School districts may coordinate with institutions of higher learning in the design, implementation and evaluation of mentorship programs. Private educational consortia established for approved principal education programs are eligible to operate a Beginning Principal Support Pilot Program to serve beginning principals in a participating school district.
(4) Each district that wishes to participate in the Beginning Principal Support Pilot Program shall submit a formal application to the School Executive Management Institute before May 1 of each school year, according to rules of the institute. By that date, districts shall inform the institute of the following:
(a) The names of all eligible beginning principals employed by the district and a description of their administrative duties;
(b) The names of mentor principals selected by a district and a description of their administrative assignments and endorsements;
(c) A description of the content and calendar of the proposed Beginning Principal Support Pilot Program. The program shall provide a minimum of ninety (90) hours of direct contact between mentor principals and beginning principals, including observation or assistance with administrative duties, or both, during the school day; and
(d) A description of the amount and nature of each eligible beginning principal's administrative duties.
(5) After consulting with representatives of administrators, school boards, schools of education of the institutions of higher learning and such others as it considers appropriate, the School Executive Management Institute shall develop or approve workshops to provide training for mentor principals and beginning principals.
(6) The selection, nature and extent of duties of mentor principals shall be determined by the school district, subject to the following:
(a) No principal shall be designated as a mentor principal unless willing to perform in that role;
(b) Each mentor principal shall complete successfully a training workshop provided or approved by the School Executive Management Institute in the Beginning Principal Support Pilot Program; and
(c) Participating school districts shall be fully authorized to compensate principal mentors, grant release time for principal mentors and employ and compensate substitute administrators for additional duties performed under the beginning principal mentorship program which are in addition to regular school day responsibilities.
(7) The School Executive Management Institute shall be responsible for the regular and ongoing evaluation of the Beginning Principal Support Pilot Program and may contract for such evaluation. The institute shall report to the State Board of Education and the Legislature in the 2003 Regular Session on the desirability of extending this assistance program statewide.
SOURCES: Laws, 1999, ch. 359, § 1, HB751, eff July 1, 1999.