BEST Tips for Mentors: March 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 

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

Academies are concluded for this school year. Stay tuned for next year's academy dates.

NAKIA Academy

NAKIA Academy is concluded for this year. It runs from Oct-Feb. Applications will open late summer/early fall.

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.

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
March 2023

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

Registration is open to the public!

Sign up today. Registration closes on March 8th.

Click here to register.

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:

The 4Rs

Dear Mentors,

I have an invitation for you. There is no requirement to accept. I am just asking for a moment to pause with me and think together about something I learned growing up and continue to study as an educator and a researcher. It is a framework of the 4Rs: respect, responsibility, reciprocity, and relationship.

The 4Rs are Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee worldview. As an educator of special education, an educator who identifies as BIPOC and is Anishinaabe, and as a doctoral candidate studying the conditions of belonging in learning communities, I find the 4Rs supportive in the journey of educational equity. Maybe you will too.

Below are some prompts, teachings, and a text intended to support equitable coaching practices. I hope these offerings are received in the way they are being given--with compassion, respect, and humility. 


Bawaajigekwe, BEST Program Supervisor


The 4Rs:


  • Imagine a basket as your vessel. What are you bringing in your basket? How does that impact yourself and others? Thinking about the way we show up and how that impacts self and others is an act of respect.
  • I offer encouragement to keep what is in your basket for yourself and give away the overflow. Keep the core contents for you.
  • The overflow is where the sweetest parts of you live, and that is what those closest to you deserve. 
  • You deserve a full basket. This can be an overwhelming and even frustrating notion--prioritizing self. Take it one step at a time. Being whole and healthy as an educator is a complex and daring expectation in today's world. However, it is one that can offer healing, restoration, and harmony. 

Relationship/Being in Relation

  • A knowledge bearer from my home says, "We always want to be understood and appreciated. From birth, we are born seeking connection, and this teaching is good to renew throughout our lives." -Dr. Alton Sonny Smart, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point & Enrolled Member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe
  • Dr. Smart reminds us to approach life with a curiosity that positions ourselves as knowledge seekers.
  • How are we seeking to understand and appreciate ourselves and one another? 
  • When working with new teachers, especially during this time of year, seek to connect, understand, and help mentees appreciate how far they have come, where they are now, and what is yet to be. Help them remember and model as an act of relationship.


  • Spring is coming, and it is a great time of anticipation and renewal. New life and more light is upon us.
  • Take some time with your mentee to ask why. Why are you showing up?
  • Renew your why together. Try this as a partner exercise.
  • Another teacher and elder from my home says, "When we have a reason, we put our heart, mind, and soul into it." -Ernie St. Germaine, Elder of the Ojibwe Nation, Lac du Flambeau & Lac Courte Oreilles
  • Prompts: What is your motivation? What is your why? Who are you responsible to? 


  • BEST uses a metaphor of a web of support meaning we are all connected and we rely on one another. Nothing in this program rests on one point or one person. 
  • Encouragement is offered to reflect on the intent of mentorship within BEST and that mentoring is one part of what we want for new teachers within a web of support. 
  • "One's very existence depends on the web of interconnectedness between the self and the community and between the community and nature." -Stewardship Guide, p. 53-54

Phases of First-Year Teachers

phases of teaching

This is a good time of year to remember the phases of first-year teachers' attitude towards teaching. This can be a personal journey and story, and also it doesn't hurt to review the research. 

New Teacher Center has a two-page article discussing the phases of first-year teaching. We have shared this before in Mentor Tips, and we offer it again as mentors check in with mentees this month. 


Comprehensive Induction

Mentoring is a piece of the pie or a part of the web of support new teachers need. Dr. Ana M. Elfers and Dr. Margaret L. Plecki will speak in detail on this as keynotes at our BEST Grantee Convening on March 15th. Along with Dr. Camille Ungco they published a final report on their research about teacher induction and mentoring. 

Read their full report here and find it on our BEST website.  

New Teacher Spotlight

BEST is looking for new teachers to interview for our New Teacher Spotlight section in Mentor Tips. Know someone? Email us!

We are looking forward to hearing from you and meeting new teachers around the state.