BEST Tips for Mentors: August 2023


Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST)


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BEST Events

Registration is open for many of our 2023-2024 BEST Academies for the ENTIRE YEAR! Click here to get to our Events & Trainings page. All academies are free to attend.

BEST Academies scheduled for the entire year and available for registration now include:

Mentor Foundational Opportunities 

Mentor Foundational Opportunities are designed to build core knowledge of mentoring for equity. Mentor Academy 101 and 201 are 12-hour trainings that take place over the course of 2 days. NAKIA Academy can be taken in place of Mentor Academy 101 by participants who identify as people of color. Participation in Mentor Academy 101 or Nakia Academy is the prerequisite for participation in any other BEST event.

*NAKIA Academy applications will open by the end of August. This academy runs October-February. 

Mentor On-going Opportunities

These are year-round opportunities for mentors to continue their learning in community with other mentors.  This includes Mentor Roundtables geared for mentors and coaches to build knowledge, practice skills, collaborate with colleagues, and reflect on their work supporting educator growth and pursuing educational equity.

*The 2023-2024 Mentor Roundtable Schedule will be available on our website in August. Please check throughout the first and second weeks of August for updated Roundtable schedules and registration links. 

Roundtable content will remain consistent across all Roundtables, however, the emphasis will vary. Please choose and register for the roundtable that best fits your needs, interests, and schedule. We offer Roundtables that focus on Special Education, Burnout/Educator Wellness, the Circle Way Protocol, and the book The Four Pivots. There are also offerings specifically for Small/Rural Districts, ESAs, School Nurses, people who identify as BIPOC, and Colleague Mentors.

Mentor Specialty Opportunities 

Mentor Specialty Opportunities are focused trainings designed to build on learning from Mentor Academy 101. These specialties include: Using Instructional Frameworks in Observation and Feedback, Mentoring ESAs, and Mentoring Teachers of Special Education.

*Prerequisite for Mentor Specialty Opportunities is prior attendance of Mentor Academy 101.  

BEST will continue to provide all events online.

BEST Contacts

Bawaajigekwe Boulley, Program Supervisor 

Contact us:


P: (360) 725-6430

Tips for Mentors
August 2023

Dear Mentors, 

We are about to embark on another meaningful year in education. We thank you for being someone who is connected to and part of the BEST Community in Washington State. Let us begin the new school year by grounding ourselves in our program's mission and goals. These are the roots that feed our program and inform our initiatives and decisions.

Sending you all our best from BEST for a school year filled with comprehensive support that is responsible, respectful, relational, reciprocal, and relevant.


The BEST Team at OSPI


The Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST) supports novice educators in Washington through comprehensive induction. The goal of the program is to support and retain beginning educators to ensure equitable access to high-quality education for every student in Washington. To accomplish this, we provide grants (as appropriated by legislative funding), professional learning, resources, and other information for comprehensive induction programs for novice educators.  


When we set up our novice teachers for success, we set up their students for success. The BEST program works to: 

1. Reduce educator turnover 

2. Improve educator quality for student learning 

3. Ensure educational equity for students furthest from educational justice 


Starting the Year Responsively

Coaching and mentoring teachers is really about a sustainable way to work and live in partnership. We are meant to be interconnected, to help each other, and to learn with and from one another.

Being a coach or mentor does not mean you have it all figured out or that you have to assert power or responsibility over anyone. In fact, we hope coaches and mentors position themselves as whole human beings who are learning along with and in relation with mentees. Support options can be designed in ways that are community focused and connects people around similar experiences. 

Coaching and mentoring is a way of life, a culture, and provides a community of support.

Mentors, don't be afraid to look for help and seek out who is and has been thinking about mentoring as more of a partnership than a service.

During this time in education, building community and listening to one another's stories is desired, effective, research-based, and rooted in equity. So as the year starts, remember to stay relevant to the times, responsive to the needs, and connect with mentees in ways that are rooted in meaningful and genuine connections. Use your experience, trust yourself in the guidance you are offering as someone who has been there and knows what, and check in with mentees often for feedback to ensure your time together is working for them. 


New Teacher Center Article "Building Communities of Support for New Teachers of Color"

Often what is good for those who have been underrepresented in education is good for everyone. Let us work to respectfully understand and center responsiveness.

Mentoring and Coaching Tools

This is a great tool by Bright Morning outlining 6 touchpoints to support mentors in understanding how ways of being impacts the relationship with mentees. 


ways of being

For more free resources like this, visit the Bright Morning website

New Teacher Spotlight


Full Name: Galen Disston

Pronouns: He/Him

Year: 3rd

Subject: 9th & 10th ELA

School: Capital High School--Olympia, WA

Galen Disston planned to be an ELA teacher after college, but starting a family, playing in a touring band, and dabbling in musical theater delayed the inevitable. Galen volunteered at a variety of innovative schools before going back to school himself: Puget Sound Community School in Seattle teaching vocal performance, Big Picture Learning School in Burien teaching guitar and singing, and the Clearwater School in Bothell where students choose which teachers to hire and fire! After getting a Master in Teaching degree online at WGU, Galen is starting his 3rd year as a 9th & 10th grade ELA teacher and Synthesizer Club advisor at Capital High School in Olympia, Wa.

Advice for Mentors:

Be vulnerable.

Being able to openly discuss my experiences and have a mentor mirror my confusion, frustration, and questioning using her experiences was invaluable. Part of the reason I wanted to become a teacher was to positively affect the systems of schooling in public education. It’s complex, but having a mentor that not only helped me strategize ways to improve my instruction, but also understand my place as a teacher in society eased the transition into a new job. I look forward to working with my mentor this year as we explore how to expand the impact of the classroom beyond its four walls. 

Galen's Book Recommendations: 

We Want to do More Than Survive; Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Bettina L. Love

This book is a comprehensive look into how to engage ALL the students in a classroom, and incorporate engagement strategies that connect us to our community. 

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders

George Saunders is one of my favorite authors. He is courageous in his creativity, and somehow is able to anchor his stories and instruction around empathy. In this book he demonstrates how he teaches short stories to his MFA students.