PESB Pathways Newsletter - September 2017

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September PESB Educator Pathways Newsletter


We are pleased to share our monthly newsletter from the Pathways Team at the Professional Educator Standards Board.  The Pathways team focuses on educator workforce development, with specific attention to diversifying the workforce to better reflect the student population, addressing teacher shortage, and supporting navigation of pathways into the education profession.

A LOT has happened over the summer, and we have rounded up some key highlights and articles ranging from the implementation of new legislation, new efforts and teacher programs for paraeducators and bilingual teachers, and upcoming innovative programming and grants focused on equity and diversity.

We hope this helps you gain a deeper understanding of workforce development efforts underway by the PESB, and look forward to sharing our newsletter again next month.


Alexandra Manuel  

Deputy Director


Over the past year Washington State’s seen a significant increase in providers offering teacher preparation programs. The expansion of providers has created new access points and pathways into teaching.  With this, we’ve also seen significant expansion of alternative routes to teaching, which can often be a better fit for paraeducators and diverse candidates.

Here are some key facts to know:

  • Nearly 200 additional alternative route to teaching program slots are anticipated to be offered this year from new providers approved since 2016.

  • Since January 2016, six community colleges have become accredited and approved to offer teacher preparation programs – Pierce College, Highline College, Centralia College, Grays Harbor College, and Yakima Valley College – offering streamlined pathways for community college students into teaching. Read more here and here.

  • This past July, the first Educational Service District - ESD 112 – was approved to offer a teacher preparation program and alternative route program in close partnership with the districts it serves.  Read more here.

  • In July, Eastern Washington University and Highline College were approved to offer alternative routes to teaching programs.

THE PARAEDUCATOR BOARD: Why it's important and what it will do

The Paraeducator Board was established this past legislative session and will be administered by the PESB.

Increasing attention has focused on pathways for paraeducators as a key workforce development strategy, as paras are significantly more diverse than teachers in Washington State, and are also more likely to be from the communities that students are from. This has several implications not only for closing opportunity gaps for student of color, but also addressing teacher shortage. Read the Seattle Times article written about Washington State’s new board here and Education Week article here. The Washington State Governor’s Office just released a great article today about this here as well!

The Paraeducator Board will make policy recommendations for a career ladder for streamlined professional advancement of paraeducators, and will have the authority to set employment requirements and standards, policies for paraeducator certificates, and approve and develop specified courses.

The first Paraeducator Board meeting will be this Wednesday and Thursday, September 20th and 21st – visit this page to see the agenda and access the meeting via webinar. The Paraeducator Board will also have its own newsletter – sign up here.


Students of color make up nearly 50% of our state’s students, and the number of English Language Learner (ELL) students is also growing. It is projected that by 2025, 25% of students will be ELLs.  As Dual Language Programs continue to grow in Washington State to serve ELLs, it’s crucial we are also growing bilingual teachers and responding to workforce demands.

  • One example of efforts underway is highlighted in this Slate article, a bilingual educator “Grow Your Own” program between Highline Public Schools and Western Washington University that focuses of bilingual paraeducators - one of the awardees of PESB’s Alternative Route Block Grants.

  • This conversation is also ongoing nationally - New America, a national think tank has published a report that highlights opportunities to grow a multilingual teacher workforce. PESB will be represented with partners at New America’s Dual Language Work Group to speak about the program in Washington D.C. this week.

  • This year’s passage of HB 1445 expands Dual Language schools and bilingual high school teacher pathways (more on that below!). To celebrate, OneAmerica launched their Speak Your Language Campaign, a campaign with toolkits and resources on advancing bilingualism in teaching. 


Alternative Routes Block Grant:  As a reminder the deadline for the Alternative Route Block Grant is Oct. 9th. 

New Grant - Pilot to Policy, Advancing Systemic Equity: In mid-October, the PESB will release an RFP for a two-year grant for educator preparation programs focused on advancing racial equity – specifically recruiting and retaining diverse teachers, and ensuring educators are prepared with culturally responsive instruction.  Learnings from the grant will inform broader PESB policy around equity practices in the field.  Contact to learn more.

The Pipeline for Paraeducators Conditional Scholarship is returning! The new application will launch September 26th and the first closing review date will be October 31st. This conditional loan scholarship provides up to $4,000 for current paraeducators without a college degree, and with at least three years experience, to pursue their Associate of Arts degree at a Washington community or technical college. Candidates will be eligible to pursue their teaching certificate through an Alternative Route 1 program. In order to avoid repayment, candidates must become fully certified and complete a two year teaching obligation. Check the Educator Pathways website next week for more information!

The RWT - Bilingual Teachers Initiative to launch soon!  This program will build upon the Recruiting Washington Teachers (RWT) pilot program, supporting high school bilingual students to advance towards becoming teachers in our state.  Grants will be available for approximately four districts or a district partnership, with the requirement that there be at least one pilot site on either side of the Cascades. Pilot projects will have the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year as a planning period and will launch in 2018-2019. More information will be released on October 3rd.


Road Map GYO Educator Regional Gathering: October 23

We are excited about the upcoming Monday, October 23, Road Map GYO Educator Regional Gathering.  Regional Gatherings bring many stakeholders together who are interested in the efforts to “Grow Your Own” Educators. Please join us as we come together to discuss what has happened since we last gathered a year ago, create new partnerships, celebrate the efforts, and talk about next steps.

Register Eventbrite :Monday, October 23, 2:00-4:00pm, Highline College, Mt. Constance/Olympus|2400 S 240th St, Des Moines,WA 98198

If you have any questions, please contact


Upcoming Work Groups: We have a few work groups launching this fall to dive deep into particular issues – the Testing Barriers Work Group and the CTE B&I Policy Exploration Work Group in partnership with OSPI.  If you’d like to be a part of either work group please contact

Check us out on Twitter! We are constantly posting on state and national happenings related to our work. Follow us @DiverseWaTeach