Beginning Educator Support Team Grants
BEST will award grants to continuing grantees (BEST recipients) for the 2020-2021 school year, but will not to be accepting new applications. We encourage interested districts to take advantage of other Beginning Educator Support Teams (BEST) supports to develop their work including:
- Using the Standards for Beginning Educator Induction to guide district thinking and planning.
- Selecting and training mentors through free Mentor Academies and Regional Mentor Roundtables.
- Participating in free regional Induction Leader Roundtables.
- Consulting with BEST program staff for creative ways to develop and fund induction work.
Continuing BEST Grantee Requirements
Well-trained, carefully selected mentors to enhance the instructional effectiveness of first-year educators. Mentors of first-year educators will provide an average of 1–2 hours per week for planning and reflection conferences, observations, and providing feedback for each mentee. The caseload for released mentors supporting first-year teachers should not exceed 1:20 for a full-time mentor. Colleague mentors (full-time classroom teachers who also mentor) should not mentor more than two first-year teachers. (See pg. 2 of this grant for more detailed definitions of these roles.) Districts that use classroom teachers as mentors commit to building a cadre of trained mentors who develop expertise over time, rather than using a one-year “buddy system." Mentors should be assigned at or shortly after hiring and prior to new educators beginning their assignments.
An instructional orientation and/or individualized assistance prior to the start of school (Aug. 2019) or the start of the new educator's assignment to acquaint them with district and school expectations and culture; orient them to preferred instructional practices and curriculum; and help them plan for their first day, weeks, and month with students. First-year educators must be compensated for their time.
A classroom set-up visit prior to the start of school (Aug. 2019) or the start of the new educator's assignment in which a mentor meets with the new educator to review classrooms set-up and plans for the first days with students.
On-going professional learning for beginning educators designed to meet their unique needs throughout the first year. Professional learning is aligned to the Washington State 8 Teacher Evaluation Criteria (or other professional standards when relevant) and the district's adopted instructional framework. Special attention should be given to Criteria 1, 2, 5, and 6.
Formative observations with written feedback for mentees provided at least monthly by released mentors and a minimum of quarterly by colleague mentors.
Release time for observations for mentees to observe accomplished teaching while accompanied by their mentor or other instructional leader. Additionally, time may be given for mentees to observe their mentors.
Ongoing professional learning for mentors to build capacity in components of the OSPI Standards for Mentoring. Mentors should participate in and be compensated for attending roundtables which may be hosted by OSPI, regional ESDs, regional consortia, and/or school districts. OSPI will provide Mentor Roundtable facilitator training and will coordinate a statewide communications network to support the work of roundtables and their membership.
Job description and compensation for mentors of early career educators for required activities that fall outside the mentor's regular job responsibilities such as attending mentor roundtables, after-school meetings, and summer trainings.
Special attention to the needs of early-career educators in challenging schools and/or working with students facing the most challenges.
Stakeholders' Team to meet at least 3 times per year in order to examine the current state of comprehensive new educator induction, gather and review data, problem-solve, and set goals. In order to build a sense of collective responsibility, members should represent multiple groups across the district (e.g., district administration, building administration, classroom teacher, mentor, recently new teacher, professional learning, special education department, teachers' association).
BEST Grantee Convening attendance by up to five members of the "Stakeholders' Team" that extends beyond a team of mentors.
Frequently Asked Questions
When grants open, they are announced on the BEST website, to ESD's and to all school districts and tribal schools through OSPI's weekly bulletins distributed to district leadership.
BEST will award grants to continuing grantees for the 2020-2021 school year, but will not to be accepting new applications. Grants become available in late spring or summer depending on funding from the Legislature. For questions or assistance in planning for a grant, contact BEST.
The competitive grant process considers the following:
- Evidence of Need - Recent history around new hires and placement challenges.
- Evidence of Capacity - A commitment to use funds to build local expertise, examine and alter induction policies and practices, and invest in a long-tern strategy for supporting beginning teachers.
- Leadership - Identification of a district stakeholder team that will collaborate to create a system of coordinated support for novice teachers.
- Induction Focus - Time for reflection and opportunities for beginning teachers to be observed and receive feedback from a trained mentor.
- Differentiated Support - Special attention given to the ways that novice teachers are placed and supported when they are assigned to high-need students and high-need schools.
- Alignment with Standards for Beginning Educator Induction.
- A letter of support from the superintendent.
Once announced, applications are open for about a month. Grants are awarded as soon as possible after applications close, usually within a few weeks.
In 2020- 2021, grantee districts received $2,000 per first-year teacher with a colleague mentor and $3,500 per first-year teacher with a release mentor. In addition, continuing grantees received $1,000 per second-year teacher.