MUSE provides individualized instructional mentoring to unlicensed Hawai‘i special education teachers enrolled in a special education teacher preparation program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. MUSE mentors have a unique opportunity to share their wealth of knowledge and experience by supporting beginning special education classroom teachers, promoting student achievement and the teaching profession, and positively impacting teacher retention rates in Hawai‘i. Founded in 2003 as a partnership among the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Hawai‘i State Department of Education, and the New Teacher Center at the University of California Santa Cruz, the MUSE program is a vital component of the teacher preparation programs offered through the Department of Special Education.
Mentor Roles and Responsibilities
The primary roles of the MUSE mentor are:
- To build a trusting relationship with each teacher candidate.
- To provide individualized instructional mentoring, and non-evaluative feedback and support to teacher candidates.
- To encourage teacher candidates to engage in professional growth through: (a) collaboration, (b) networking with others in the educational community, and (c) sharing of strategies and resources.
- To engage in professional reflection on effective teaching practices and challenges, and plan for next steps.
- To provide both instructional and emotional support, with emphasis on evidence-based best practices.
To be eligible to receive a MUSE mentor, candidates must be:
- Enrolled in a UH Mānoa Special Education Teacher Preparation Program
- Employed as a Hawaii DOE PreK-12 emergency-hire special education teacher
Hear about Leina‘ala Kealoha’s experience with the MUSE mentoring program:
Kailina Lewis PBSPED Mild/Moderate, 2015-2017 Cohort
"It was pivotal that I could work and go to school, and this program made that a reality."
Robin Dazzeo PBSPED Mild/Moderate, 2015-2017 Cohort
"As an emergency hire for the Hawai‘i Department of Education, I am so grateful for the support I have received from the college’s MUSE mentoring program."
Jessica Ford MEdT Dual Secondary/SPED, 2016-2018 Cohort
The MEdT provides both certification and a master's degree, and with the dual content of special and general education, it can't be beat.
Meet our MUSE mentors
MUSE mentors are a team of highly skilled, veteran special education teacher who have a broad range of classroom and teaching experience. All mentors possess a Master’s Degree and have: (a) extensive teaching experience in Hawai‘i public schools, (b) taught in a variety of placement settings, and (c) worked with students who have a broad range of disabilities. Mentors are well trained in successfully implementing an induction program that supports beginning teacher development, teacher retention, and improved student learning.
Our mentors also provide additional support to graduates who get hired into a SPED position in their first two years upon completion of their program through a partner College of Education program called SONG (Supporting Our New Graduates). Once identified as being hired in a SPED position, MUSE mentors provide support as requested, as another way to assure success of our University trained teacher preparation candidates.
Aileen Soma MUSE Mentor
"Mentoring also supports the retention of novice teachers by offering a comprehensive array of supports often needed during the most difficult years of a beginning teacher’s career"
Steve Klein MUSE Mentor
"I'm starting my 8th year as a MUSE mentor, but before that I was a mentor teacher to UH sped student candidates for 10 years when I taught in the DOE."
Our MUSE Mentees, SY 18-19
An anonymous MUSE Program Survey is distributed each year to all candidates receiving MUSE mentoring supports. The following data represents the 26/48 teacher candidates who responded to the 2018-2019 survey.
Out of the 26 respondents, 27% were enrolled in the MEdT Dual Secondary & Special Education program, 19% were enrolled in the PBSPED Severe/Autism program, and 54% were enrolled in the PBSPED Mild/Moderate program.
Out of the 26 respondents, 19% were hired in preschool, 27% in elementary, 31% in middle/intermediate, and 23% in high school settings.
Given a likert scale and the statement “Overall, the MUSE program has been very effective for me”, 73% of respondents chose “Strongly Agree”, 23% chose “Agree”, and 4% chose “Neutral”. No candidates chose “Disagree or Strongly Disagree”.
An anonymous survey was distributed to all 2016 and 2017 graduates of the Post baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education to analyze which program supports they found most valuable.
Although alumni had found almost all supports valuable, one of the most significant findings of this study was the overwhelming support for the MUSE mentoring program. When asked to rank order all nine types of identified programmatic supports, a majority of alumni listed MUSE as their #1 valued support.
Anonymous feedback regarding the value of MUSE support include:
“The mentor was an impartial person who neither judged nor evaluated me. Truly supportive and accessible. I saw my mentor in person and more frequently than other people in the program.”
“They [MUSE mentors] were the closest connection bridging what was being presented in theory and the reality of working in the DOE.”
“Having a MUSE Mentor come & see you when your are an emergency hire is the ONLY thing that kept me alive & afloat! Her support at anytime of day or night, the positive feedback & reinforcement that I was doing the right things meant a LOT!”