Danforth Mentor Access
Roles and Expectations
The internship experience closely follows the public school calendar. Interns begin their first internship by asking permission to shadow the administrative team at the school where they teach as they prepare to end the school year. Next, interns assist with the opening of school at their new internship site in August. Students are expected to expand their experience, skill and knowledge during the internship, to thoughtfully and intentionally move from the role of observer to participant and, finally, to serve as a facilitator and/or leader whenever appropriate.
The mentor role is supplemented with guidance from a university-appointed internship advocate who has a record of excellence in leadership positions. Most of our advocates are retired principals who have also served in central office positions of leadership. Joint planning and evaluation meetings are held with the mentor principal or program administrator, the UW advocate, and the student during each internship. All parties participate in developing internship plans, monitoring progress, informally discussing and advising, writing and reviewing reflective essays, and meeting regularly at the internship site.
Your UW Liaison: Internship Advocate
The Danforth program provides each student with an internship advocate who is a former leader in the P-12 school system and has been chosen based on a reputation of excellent leadership and commitment to the values-base of the program. In addition to a personalized and supportive relationship throughout the internship, the will be an advocate and contact between the program, the intern, the mentor, and the University of Washington.
UW Intern Advocate Responsibilities
- Arrange meetings. The UW supervisor will arrange meetings with the mentor and the UW advisor be notified about advisor early in the internship. Ideally, the first visit will take place before the fourth week in September.
- Meet individually with the intern. This is an opportunity to discover how the intern is managing to balance all aspects of the Danforth program. (is he/she keeping up with the reading and assignments? Does he/she have suggestions or concerns about the internship or modules?) Advisors might ask students to give a tour of the school to observe how well he/she knows and relates to students, staff and teachers.
- Meet with the intern and mentor.
- Review the internship plan in detail. Ask probing questions about the intern’s assigned tasks. (Are they challenging? Do they require the intern to take risks? Do they cover a range of skills? Are there connections to the program content? Do they deeply align with the ISLLC standards?)
- Discuss the current program assignments, answer questions, encourage connections between the modules and the internship. Ask the mentor whether he/she has concerns or questions.
- Remind the mentor about the evaluation form.
- Write a follow-up letter to the principal, summarizing the discussion. Intern advocates are asked to send a copy to both the intern and the Danforth Office for inclusion in the intern’s file.
- Let the director, Ann O'Doherty (email@example.com) know about any concerns raised during visits.
- Arrange additional visits. Since the internship experience is tailored to the needs of the intern, additional visits should be individually negotiated.
- Conduct a final visit. Ideally, the final visit should be a review of the internship summary and the mentor’s evaluation of the intern. The final visit is another opportunity to check on general progress and to ask the mentor principal for program suggestions or concerns. It is also an opportunity for the mentor to tell the intern what he or she did well and to share suggestions for personal growth.
Mentor Principal Responsibilities
- Mentors meet regularly and provide professional opportunities. The mentor principal provides numerous opportunities for the intern to observe and participate in activities that typify the principal's (or program administrator's) responsibilities. It is critically important for the mentor to schedule regular meetings with the intern to shape the intern’s plan, share perceptions, answer questions, and provide feedback. One of the key ways that interns learn is through reflection on key leadership decisions.
- Mentors meet with UW internship supervisor. A UW internship supervisor will work with each intern throughout the year. The supervisor maintains regular contact with the intern, assists with challenges along the way, meets with the mentor principal and observes the intern and gives guidance and feedback.
- Mentors agree to work with the plan and complete an evaluation. The mentor agrees to be responsible for helping the intern meet his/her goals. At the conclusion of the experience, the mentor completes the evaluation of the intern’s work and demonstrated competence on the ISLLC standards. The evaluation report is shared with the intern and both documents are submitted to the University of Washington as part of the official certification record.
- Mentors participate in mentor meetings. Danforth mentors participate in meetings during August or September to establish expectations, provide orientation to the program, and to link the internship experience with the Danforth curriculum. Mentors are always welcome (and encouraged) to join the cohort for a Thursday or Saturday session during the year. In addition, the meeting is a forum to discuss the mentor's role in the internship experience, reflect upon the qualities of a good mentor, and to raise concerns, issues and program suggestions.
- Participate as a school-based UW faculty member. Mentor principals commit to actively facilitate the intern’s learning and growth during the Danforth program. Often, program assignments ask the intern to interview mentors about specific topics, to share a reading, and to engage in inquiry. We expect the mentors to willingly be part of the intern’s learning.
- Select mentor principal. Students select a mentor principal for the first internship experience in sufficient time to be on-site at least one week before the opening of school. To assist in the selection process, a book of anonymous evaluations of mentor principals and school sites is available to students in the Danforth program office. The selection of internship sites is among the most important decisions a student will make in the program. This choice is vital to a student's personal success and satisfaction in the program. Interns: Please take extra time and care regarding these decisions.
- Suggested internship parameters. We encourage each student to expand their experience base as much as possible. This may include working at more than one school, at more than one level, and/or in more than one district. In addition, we urge students to experience a school in an urban setting or a school facing the challenge of changing demographics.
- Develop internship plan. Each internship is designed as an individualized program. To guide the experience, each student develops an internship plan that specifies work and activities to meet the requirements of the Interstate Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards (ISLLC); a copy of these standards is included in your orientation packet. The plan is jointly negotiated with the mentor, the UW internship advisor, and the intern.
- Maintain internship log and write summary. Interns maintain an Internship Log during the internship. This log is a record of time and tasks during the internship. The log assists the intern in writing the Internship Summary that is presented to the mentor toward the end of the internship.
- Evaluate internship experience. The intern completes an evaluation of each internship experience. These evaluations are used to help select quality mentors and school sites for future interns.