BEST Tips for Mentors: February 2023


Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST)


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BEST Events

Using Instructional Frameworks in Observation & Feedback

May 4, 8am-3pm

June 1, 8am-3pm

Mentor Academy 101 

Feb. 1 & 2, 8am-3pm

May 3, 10, 17, 24, 4pm-7pm

May 6 & 13, 8am-3pm

May 9 & 11, 8am-3pm

May 16 & 23, 8am-3pm

June 6 & 13, 8am-3pm

June 7, 14, 21, 28, 4pm-7pm

June 27 & 28, 8am-3pm

Mentor Academy 201

June 20 & 22, 8am-3pm

Mentoring Teachers of Special Education

Feb. 6 & 8, 8am-3pm

Mentor Roundtables 

There are many different roundtables at different times of day and days of the week. There are roundtables for mentors of color (BIPOC), mentors of special education teachers, mentors experiencing compassion fatigue/burnout, mentors in small or rural districts, mentors of ESAs, and mentors looking for a roundtable experience that utilizes the circle way protocol. We also offer a specialty Roundtable for School Nurses.

Check out the BEST Events & Trainings page to register for open opportunities! BEST will continue to provide all events online until further notice.

SAVE THE DATE: Our BEST Virtual Mentor/Coach Equity Conference March 8 & 9, 2023.

Our BEST Virtual Grantee Convening is March 15, 2023.

This year's BEST Spring Symposium theme is Transformational Mentoring.

BEST spring symposium logo

Artwork Credit: Taylor Kidder-Morrill of the Educator Effectiveness Office at OSPI

BEST Contacts

Lan Le, Administrative Program Specialist

Kati Casto de Ventura, Lead Program Supervisor

Bawaajigekwe Boulley, Program Supervisor 

Contact us:


P: (360) 725-6430

Tips for Mentors
February 2023

Symposium Theme
  • BEST Virtual Mentor/Coach Equity Conference: March 8 & 9, 2023
  • BEST Virtual Grantee Convening: March 15
  • Symposium Agenda

If you are a mentor or BEST grantee, contact your BEST Lead for information on how to register.

Registration opens for the public on February 8th.

Keynote Speakers

Get excited with us and check out the speakers before the symposium! We hope you love them as much as we do.

Mentor/Coach Equity Conference:

Grantee Convening:

Power of Affirmations continued...

For the past two months, BEST has been offering encouragement and affirmations in our newsletter. Saying positive things to one another has the power to motivate, promote taking action, interrupt negative thinking patterns and replace them with positive thinking, and offer assistance in reaching new goals.

Here are a few words of affirmations for mentors. We hope these uplifting messages are shared widely with both mentors and mentees.   



Image Credit: @selfloverainbow on Instagram

How To Know What New Teachers Need

by Amy Vaughn, Dr. Alicia Roberts Frank, and Bawaajigekwe Boulley

The first step to understanding a mentee's needs is to ask and listen. Mentors have years of experience in the classroom, district, and as educators. It is the mentor's responsibility to help new teachers get the support they need with content, assessments, engagement strategies, social emotional learning, cooperative learning, explicit instruction, etc. What we do for teachers, we do for their students.

BEST offers mentors the tools to facilitate mentees’ learning and growth and emphasizes adult learning theory that cultivates relationships. The relationship between the mentor and mentee is the foundation, not the goal. The mentor/mentee relationship helps uncover the needs of the mentee and allows for individualized support. This aligns with Washington State Standards for Mentoring, Standard 1. 

Keep in mind, new teachers may not know what they don't know. Using coaching conversation strategies, such as attending fully and paraphrasing, mentors can help mentees uncover their underlying needs. This problem solving process is founded on a learning-focused relationship built on trust. This process can occur during conversations or as the result of observations. Once needs are identified, mentors can provide mini lessons and connect mentees to resources and professional development (as listed below). 

Supportive Resources for Mentors:

The following resources can be found within the OSPI website along with many more.

Resources by Subject Area 

Dyslexia & Structured Literacy for All 

MTSS and Foundational Literacy Instruction

Multilingual Education 

Open Educational Resources Hub of Lessons & Materials

New Teacher Spotlight

Sarah Tipps

Sarah Tipps is a Dental Assisting Instructor in the Kennewick School District at Tri-Tech Skills Center where she teaches a cohort of junior and senior students. This is her first year teaching high school students. She has one year prior experience working with Dental Hygiene Students at Columbia Basin College. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Dental Hygiene and her Masters Degree in Education.

Advice for Mentors from Sarah:

“Preach about the basic fundamentals of teaching, for example, implementing classroom management strategies!”

As a new instructor, I found myself looking for advice and was happy to find The PAR mentor program in the Kennewick School District. Attending these monthly meetings has been a vital part of my success in my first year of teaching. Before attending these meetings I was not taught about how to manage a classroom, I just figured I would implement teaching strategies I observed from my student perspective.

Being a part of the PAR mentor program, I have learned some of the basics to managing a classroom, and it has paid off for me thus far. Learning how to apply the simplest of concepts like setting up classroom expectations early and communicating these expectations from day one has been a lifesaver.

Applying techniques like using a classroom callback system with students, or a doorbell sound to regain each student's focus has made instruction simpler, because they know the expectation is to listen to the instructor silently after the callback or doorbell. Utilizing table points with incentives for students to follow the expectations of the classroom has allowed us to have quick transitions from task to task and properly move through the curriculum.

The simple and easy to implement classroom management strategies I was taught by my mentors have made my class run more efficiently and provide my classroom with more time to incorporate teambuilding and bonding. I am thankful that my mentors focused on teaching me about the basics because, at any grade level, the basics are needed to have a classroom running well!

Sarah Tipps_dental