FAQ about the BEST Program

What is the purpose of the BEST grant?

BEST includes First-Year and Second-Year as defined below. The grant’s purpose is to provide support and encouragement for early career teachers in order to strengthen their instructional skills and to retain competent teachers in the profession. Fifty percent of teachers leave the profession after seven years, most citing lack of support as a primary reason.

Who can participate in this grant?

The following districts are part of the ESD 112 BEST Consortium:

  • Battle Ground
  • Castle Rock
  • ESD 112 ESA Specialized Student Services
  • Evergreen
  • Hockinson
  • Kalama
  • Kelso
  • La Center
  • Longview
  • Mill A
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • Naselle-Grays
  • Ridgefield
  • Skamania
  • Wahkiakum
  • Washougal
  • White Salmon
  • Woodland
  • Washington State School for the Blind

All First and Second year teachers in these districts are eligible to participate.

If a non-consortium district would like to participate, they should contact the ESD 112 Instructional Services Department. There is a for-fee option available.

What professional development is available through the grant for mentees?

New teachers can participate in a series of professional development events. Professional development opportunities will include training on instructional frameworks, classroom management, engagement strategies, assessment, and the Common Core State Standards. There will be a combination of online and face-to-face learning opportunities. Clock hours will be offered and courses will be fee-based.

What professional development is available through the grant for mentors?

Mentors are required to participate in an OSPI Mentor Academy 101 or Mentor Academy 201 (tune-up for returning mentors). Mentors are also required to attend regional Mentor Round Tables and are paid to attend three round tables at curriculum rate for a total of 6 hours. There will be a combination of online and face-to-face learning opportunities. Clock hours will be offered and courses beyond mentor round tables will be fee-based.

What are the definitions of First-Year and Second-Year Teachers?

First-Year Teacher: a new teacher with 179 days or fewer in a continuous, certificated teaching assignment in public or private schools anywhere in the United States. Teachers who have more than 179 days of substitute teaching experience are eligible for funding as a first-year teacher provided that this experience did not include a single, continuous assignment as a certificated teacher for more than 179 days.

Second-Year Teacher: an individual with 180 days to 359 days of experience in a continuous, certificated teaching assignment in public or private schools anywhere in the United States.

What is the definition of a full-release mentor?

Full-release mentor: experienced teachers who are released from teaching responsibilities to allow dedicated time for mentoring. This may include instructional coaches if their position allows them to prioritize work with new teachers and mentoring is considered part of their assignment. Maximum ratio for full-release mentor with no other responsibilities is 20 new teachers per one mentor. Full-release mentors should observe each new teacher at least 8 times per year.

What is the definition of a Conditionally Licensed Teacher?

Conditionally Licensed Teacher: a new teacher holding a conditional teaching certificate with 179 days or fewer in a continuous, certificated teaching assignment in public or private schools anywhere in the United States. Teachers who have more than 179 days of substitute teaching experience are eligible for funding as a first-year teacher provided that this experience did not include a single, continuous assignment as a certificated teacher for more than 179 days.

Can a part-time teacher participate?

Yes, a part-time teacher may participate fully as a First-Year or Second-Year teacher.

What is the compensation structure?

First-year teachers receive support from the ESD or their district to participate in PD opportunities funded by the grant and will have access to courses for a reduced fee. Year 1 teachers will receive a $400 stipend for participation in the grant.

Second-year teachers receive support from the ESD or their district to participate in PD opportunities funded by the grant and will have access to courses for a reduced fee. Year 2 teacher will receive a $300 stipend.

Mentors receive pay for mentor time through district allocations and will be paid by their district or ESD 112. Participating districts will plan for mentoring time and coordinate with ESD 112 to plan for compensation to mentors. If mentors are paid directly by ESD 112, they will receive a $600 stipend for mentoring a single Y1 mentee or $400/mentee if mentoring multiple Y1 mentees. Mentors will be paid by ESD 112 or the district at curriculum rate of $35 for up to 6 hours to attend mentor round tables.

Some teachers are paid directly through ESD 112, based on agreements with each participating district. Some districts pay their participants directly and use this compensation structure as a guide. If you are part of a district that pays their participants directly, please contact your HR department with payment questions.

What are the grant requirements for mentees?

First-year mentees must sign an assurance that they met with their mentor at least 1-2 hours per week and attended a professional growth planning session with their mentor either in a district session or as organized by regional support. If substitutes can be secured, mentees should be observed by their mentor 3 times during the year. First-year mentees must submit their professional growth goal plan, end-of-year reflection, and complete two online surveys during the 2016-17 school year.

Second-year mentees must submit an end-of-year reflection on professional growth and complete two online surveys during the 2016-17 school year.

What are the grant requirements for mentors?

New mentors are required to attend Mentor Academy 101. Registration and offerings can be found at http://www.k12.wa.us/BEST/Events/default.aspx. 

Returning mentors are required to attend Mentor Academy 201. Registration and offerings can be found at http://www.k12.wa.us/BEST/Events/default.aspx.

Mentors must attend a minimum of three mentor round tables. Compensation will be provided at a curriculum rate for up to 6 hours from ESD 112.   

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

Mike Esping, ESD 112, Coordinator of School Initiatives
360-952-3412, mike.esping@esd112.org

Malena Goerl, ESD 112, Secretary II - Student & School Success/School Initiatives
360-952-3409, malena.goerl@esd112.org 

Related Pages

Questions?

Each district has identified a key contact for the BEST grant. They are responsible for getting information out to building principals.

District key contacts:

Key grant contacts at the ESD: