Learning the Ropes at Katonah-Lewisboro

building support across the district

What was Dawn Ausiello, a first-grade teacher at Increase Miller Elementary, doing at Katonah Elementary School bright and early one morning before school started? Meeting with two teachers who were new to the district: second-grade teacher Jennifer Rutigliano and kindergarten teacher Rebecca Corrigan.

On the agenda? Absolutely anything they needed help with.

Ausiello, who’s been with Katonah-Lewisboro for eighteen years, was paired with the two new teachers as part of the district’s teacher mentoring program.

KLSD Teacher Mentoring Program

supporting and retaining excellent teachers

“It’s so important for a new teacher to have a supportive peer in the district to serve as an experienced guide and help the teacher to navigate the ups and downs of the school year,” said Dr. Mary Ford, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, who is in charge of the program.

When possible, mentors and mentees are matched by school level and specialty. This year’s cohort includes general education, special education, physical education, biology, technology and world language teachers as well as school counselors. The initiative also features a monthly New Teacher course after school for teachers in their first and second year at Katonah-Lewisboro—building a supportive network of educators across the district which also includes relationships with grade level colleagues, school administrators and staff developers. 

Mentoring happens informally, too

"things you can't learn in college"

Ausiello suggested they begin by setting up Rutigliano and Corrigan’s classrooms together.

She also wanted to review her mentees’ daily routines for arrival, dismissal, hand washing and snack. “It’s important to set up a place for students to hang their masks when they are eating,” she said.

While both Rutigliano and Corrigan have several years of teaching experience, they were already appreciative of Ausiello’s insights into how things are done at Katonah-Lewisboro. “These are things you can’t learn in college,” said Corrigan.

“I am your go-to,” Ausiello told them. “I’m available to you 24/7.”