BEST Tips for Mentors: June 2023


Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST)


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BEST Events

Using Instructional Frameworks in Observation & Feedback

June 1, 8am-3pm

Mentor Academy 101 

June 6 & 13, 8am-3pm

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

June 27 & 28, 8am-3pm

Mentoring Special Education ESAs

June 6, 8am-3pm

Mentoring School Nurses

June 12, 8:30am-3:30pm

Mentor Academy 201

More dates will be posted soon for the 2023-2024 school year.

Mentoring Teachers of Special Education

Academies have concluded for this school year. They will run again in Oct. and end of Jan/ beginning of Feb. Stay tuned. Registration will open soon! 

NAKIA Academy

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

Mentor Roundtables 

Mentor On-going Opportunities are for mentors to continue their learning in community with other mentors. After attending Mentor Academy 101, mentors can choose an on-going learning community to engage with others throughout the school year. They run September through May.

These are opportunities for mentors and coaches to connect in community, build knowledge, practice skills, and reflect on their work supporting educator growth and pursuing educational equity. 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 in small or rural districts, and more.

Check out the BEST Events & Trainings page to register for open opportunities! Next year's schedule will be posted soon.

BEST will continue to provide all events online until further notice.

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
June 2023

BEST Events for the Year Ahead, 2023-2024

The BEST Program Staff and BEST Mentor Faculty have been working strategically to establish an events calendar for the upcoming school year. This calendar will include all BEST academies and Roundtables. Our hope is having all the dates for the year will aid in planning and be received as respectful and supportive. 

Stay tuned for our events calendar to be launched this summer. Expect to see the following academies:

Mentor Academy 101

Mentor Academy 201

NAKIA Academy

Mentoring ESAs

Mentoring Teachers of Special Education

Using Instructional Frameworks in Observation & Feedback

End of the Year Reflections with Mentees

Dear Mentors,

You have spent the year working with mentees and are now at the time where reflections are critical to learning, growth, and celebrations. How do you feel about your experiences this year? How are you planning to wrap up your final meetings with mentees?

If you're looking for ideas, the Kent Mentoring Team has shared their end-of-year wrap up questions they use with mentees. Feel free to borrow them and/or let them inspire you to create more or different questions. The goal is to help your mentees remember and review their learning for the year as well as look ahead to next year.

 1. What did you learn about yourself this year?

2. What did you learn from your students this year?

3. What was an instructional "win" or teaching success?

4. Tell me about a relationship you built.

5. Who was your support system?

6. What was a challenge you faced this year, and what did you learn from it?

7. When thinking about equity, what kind of classroom do you hope to build next year?

8. Thinking about next year, what might you do differently?

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Thriving Relationships

What are the attributes you see connected to thriving relationships? As a mentor, there is a great responsibility to develop a culture of togetherness with mentor teams and mentees. Center care for one another, and please remember not every day is going to be great.

Along this journey of collaboration and reciprocal relationships, embracing your own growth as well as guiding mentees to do the same will help nurture and embrace the natural evolution of self and support more joy in relationships. Embrace the process--your process--and keep your why, your motivation, and your joy for mentoring close in mind and heart. Mentees will appreciate it.  

The Four Pivots

"In our pivot toward a healing-centered society, care is perhaps one of the most important ingredients to cultivate transformative relationships" (Ginwright, 2022, p. 113).

New Teacher Spotlight

Olivia Alvord_1

Full Name: Olivia Alvord

Pronouns: she/her

Year: First Year Teacher

Subjects: English Language Arts & AVID

School: Winlock High School

Advice for Mentors: The number one thing we need from mentor teachers is to exhibit enthusiasm for teaching and learning. There is nothing worse than someone in a mentorship role not showing passion or drive for their career. It is so hard to learn and grow from someone who is just "getting through it."

The first year(s) are hard and we deserve someone who is going to be there for us positively and enthusiastically. 

I would also encourage all mentors to talk about mental health, burnout, and the importance of taking breaks with their mentee. This is often taboo in any professional setting and I am a huge advocate for real discussions that happen around this topic. One of the most valuable bits of information that I will take with me as I further my career is: do not be afraid to take breaks. I didn't realize that until I was so far into teaching. Sometimes you just need a mental health day and that's okay.

Olivia Alvord_2

BEST Summer Reading 

What's on your reading list this summer? 

Here are 5 books on the BEST Summer Reading List: 

The Four Pivots; Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves by Shawn A. Ginwright, PhD

The PD Book; 7 Habits that Transform Professional Development by Elena Agular & Lori Cohen

Thanks for the Feedback; The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen

Street Data; A Next-Generation Model for Equity, Pedagogy, and School Transformation by Shane Safir & Jamila Dugan

Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity; The Keys to Successful Equity Implementation by Floyd Cobb & John Krownapple 

5 Instagram pages, people, and authors we love and follow:






Honorable Mention:


Belonging book

An excerpt from page 180:

In order to achieve equity, enormous and fundamental changes are necessary, and many of us who are well-served by the current system are reluctant to upset the status quo. Moreover, such fundamental change requires us to come to terms with the students, teachers, and parents who we've harmed along the way by engaging in a system and practices that make certain people feel that they don't belong. But if we are truly sincere in our efforts to achieve greater equity--actionable instead of purely symbolic--we must correct the climate and cultures in indignity in our classrooms and schools.

Thank you for your patience.

Typically Mentor Tips is sent every first of the month at 8am. There have been a few technical difficulties, and we thank you for your patience and understanding with the delay of Mentor Tips this month.

See You in August

Mentor Tips will be pausing for intentional rest in July. Expect to see the next issue of Mentor Tips in August. Enjoy the warmth and light of summer! 

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