BEST Tips for Mentors: September 2023


Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST)


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BEST Events

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

*Registration closes 48 hours prior to the academies.

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


  • Mentor Academy 101
  • Mentor Academy 201


  • Using Instructional Frameworks in Observation & Feedback
  • Mentoring Teachers of Special Education
  • Mentoring ESAs
  • Mentoring School Nurses

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 end of September. This academy runs October-February/March. 

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 is available on our website

After attending Mentor Academy 101, mentors can choose an on-going learning community to engage with others throughout the school year.

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 Academy 201, Mentor Specialty Opportunities, and Roundtables is prior attendance of Mentor Academy 101.  

BEST will continue to provide all events online.

Contact BEST


P: (360) 725-6430

Tips for Mentors
September 2023

Cheers for New Beginnings

Happy First of September Educator Friends!

How has your full, blue moon, week been? I hope it's giving a sense of clarity as many schools begin the fall frenzy. Remember we have predictable and research-based phases of first-year teachers' attitudes towards teaching to help us as we embark on the new year. You can access a full article here for more on the phases of first-year teaching.

phases of first year teachers

What IF

It is important to consider the existing conversation about mentoring new teachers. At the same time, what if we committed to possibility, imagining something different, and leaning into deconstructing the fall frenzy to reconstruct in more sustainable ways? What would that look like?

Here is a resource to help imagine and articulate a different way:


BEST Friends

Lori Cohen is the co-author of The PD Book with Elena Aguilar. Both Lori and Elena provide a wealth of resources, guidance, and learning pertaining to mentoring, coaching, and facilitating professional learning. If you are not already connected, consider looking into what they have to offer.

Listen to this podcast by Principal Center Radio with Lori Cohen discussing The PD Book.

Lori Cohen Consulting 

Supporting individual and collective transformation through empowering learning experiences.

Bright Morning

Learn to lead coaching conversations, professional development, and teams that transform schools into joyful, resilient, and equitable places of learning.

the pd book

BEST Events

Mentor Academy 101

Mentor Academy 101 exists to prepare educators as leaders to serve in mentoring and coaching roles. We have two academies ready for you to attend in September.

Register Today!

Topics include: Understanding identity, relationship building, confidentiality, conversation skills, mentor roles, observation and feedback.

Go to our website to view the full academy description. 

I've already taken Mentor Academy 101. What's next?

Mentor Academy 201 extends mentor learning from Mentor Academy 101 to build capacity to engage in conversations around racial equity, deepen awareness of equitable classroom practices, and refine mentoring skills. We have two academies ready for you to attend in September.

Register Today!

Topics include: Understanding implicit bias, asset-based thinking, building learning partnerships.

We will also have 201 Academies in January, February, and June. You can find our full schedule of Mentor Academy events for the year on our website

Roundtables Are Back!!

BEST Mentor Faculty are eager and excited to begin their Roundtables this month. This is a wonderful, on-going, professional learning opportunity that is very popular with mentors.  

There are several Roundtable offerings with a specific emphasis or facilitation style. Please choose and register here for the Roundtable that best fits your needs, interests, and schedule.

Mentor Roundtables are opportunities for mentors and coaches to build knowledge, practice skills, collaborate with colleagues, and reflect on their work supporting educator growth and pursuing educational equity.

Roundtables follow a 3-part structure: Connecting, Building, Coaching.

Roundtable content is structured to help mentors learn together in a community style cohort and dive into the Washington State Mentoring Standards:

  • Session 1 & 2: Standard 1
  • Session 3: Standard 2
  • Session 4: Standard 3
  • Session 5: Standard 4
  • Session 6: Standard 5
  • Session 7 & 8: Standard 6

All OSIP BEST Mentor Roundtables will remain virtual (Zoom) until further notice. They run Sept-May with a pause in April for spring break. Mentors may join at any time. 

Tools for Mentors

If you are new to mentoring or are looking for a solid, straight-forward tool to support conversations with mentees, check out the Mentor-Mentee Conversation Tool. It offers clean and easy-to-follow steps that guides meaningful conversation centering instruction on student achievement.

Use this template/tool to exhibit collaborative and collegial practices focused on improving instructional practices and student learning.

Download it from our website.  

Mentor Mentee Conversation Tool

BEST Announcements

BEST is taking a sabbatical from our annual symposium.

We will not be hosting a conference or convening this year. We do have our program events fully calendared for the year including academies and roundtables. 

Academy event registration will close 48 hours prior to the academy.

This allows for facilitators of academies and program staff time to intentionally prepare as well as send reminders to accurate participant rosters. 


OSPI’s website address is changing! 

Effective September 1, 2023, OSPI is changing the current website address from to This change is required for improved security. 

Please make sure to update your bookmarks, links, and saved pages to reflect this change, as redirects will only be in place for a period of 6 months. Rest assured, all the content and functionality you've come to rely on will remain intact at the new URL.  

All OSPI email addresses will remain unchanged. If you encounter any issues or have any questions about this URL change, please reach out to OSPI’s support team at We're here to assist you and ensure a seamless transition. 

Relevant Resources & Opportunities for Educators

Network for EdWork is a network of strong, diverse leaders in education. The Martinez Fellowship program at the Network for EdWork is dedicated to supporting pre-service and early-career BIPOC teachers in Washington state in anti-racist professional and personal development.

Want to know more? 

TAF’s Network for EdWork (NWEW) develops collaborative partnerships with and among districts, schools, higher education, nonprofits, and government to close gaps in recruitment, encourage retention, develop internal and external competencies, and foster the promotion of BIPOC educators and education leaders in order to become more representative of their student populations. Supporting and connecting BIPOC educators and leaders is essential to creating education spaces where students of color thrive. Contact NWEW Director, Sung Kim for more information.


The Convening: Journey Towards Liberation   

  • February 23-24, 2024 
  • For BIPOC Educators and all Leaders in Education     
  • UW Husky Union Building, Seattle 

Network for EdWork’s Convening 2024 provides an empowering space for BIPOC educators and leaders to connect, learn, thrive, develop partnerships, and advocate for liberatory practices in education. 

Proposal submission deadline: November 1, 2023