FW schools earn coveted Beginning Education Support Team grant

There's good news for new teachers in the Federal Way School District.

The district was just awarded the Beginning Education Support Team grant to expand its beginning teacher assistance program. The district received one of only five grants given out in the state this year, out of 185 districts in the state.

The district requested $491,500. As of press time, it was unknown how much the district will receive.

Nationwide, 50 percent of beginning teachers leave the profession within the first five years. In Washington state that number is around 25 percent.

Washington state has had teacher support resources since 1985. The state credits those resources for its lower-than-average number of teachers who leave.

New teachers in Federal Way will have expanded access to mentors, classes and certification prep.

Some of the funding will go toward individual mentor support and extra classes specifically designed to meet the needs of beginning teachers. Money will also go toward substitute teachers so that new teachers can observe veteran teachers in similar positions. In addition to books and supplies, the money will provide new novice teachers the chance to attend the New Teacher Institute conference.

This is good news for the 41 teachers in the school district this year who have less than 179 days under their belt.

Teachers in their second and third years of teaching will also be offered the chance to participate in the program.

In a notification letter, the district received strong praise for its efforts.

“Your vision of comprehensive induction and mentoring for first-, second- and third-year teachers, and for candidates for Professional Certification, is a best example of what is possible and necessary to increase retention and enhance instructional growth for all early career teachers in Washington state,” Early Career Educator Development Program Administrator Linda Foster said in the letter.

The Federal Way School District is "ecstatic" about the news, said Francine Oishi, Beginning Educator Support Team Grant Coordinator.

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