What better way to have new faculty and staff members get acquainted with their working environment and fellow colleagues than with a mentoring program? This year saw the introduction of the TOPS (Team of Peers) mentoring program for onboarding and welcoming new faculty.
Assistant Head of School Linda Vasu created TOPS for the 2021-2022 new faculty and staff orientation in order to build peer group relationships in a similar manner to the Sacred Heart peer leadership program in the Upper School. The TOPS vision, in Vasu’s own words, is to view the program as “a flexible approach to build Sacred Heart community well-being (Goal IV) by connecting new faculty with a mentor-coach in a cohort across the three divisions. Brief, informal, check-ins provide continued mutual support through shared collaboration, communication, problem-solving, ideas, resources, and healthy doses of dialogue, reflection, laughter, and celebration.”
Nine mentor-coaches across disciplines and divisions at Sacred Heart were paired with groups of four to five new hires. So far, the meetings have been informative and enjoyable for both mentors and mentees alike and will continue to take place a few times a month throughout the rest of the year.
“It's tough to be new anywhere,” Middle School English teacher Chris Cunningham commented. “The TOPS program was great in pairing our cohort of new faculty with a seasoned teacher to answer all of our questions and generally help us know what's what.”
Upper School English teacher Marta Napiorkowska echoed the sentiment. “As a new faculty member, having Judene [Pendergast, Upper School Math teacher] here [as my mentor] is a great resource for sifting through new details and finding encouragement and enthusiasm for the school.”
Veterans of Sacred Heart Greenwich-turned-mentors also agree with the importance of this program. “It is important for new faculty to feel welcomed into our strong sense of community here at Sacred Heart Greenwich. The TOPS program accomplishes this by allowing a seasoned Sacred Heart educator to mentor new faculty in a small, more intimate group setting,” Upper School mathematics teacher and peer mentor Michael Maida said.
The TOPS Program will continue to develop and grow as the year continues and is just another example of the way in which Sacred Heart works to build community among faculty, staff, and students.