State Grants Aim to Curb New Teacher Dropout Rate
With 25 percent of new teachers quitting the profession within the first five years, state Superintendent Randy Dorn hopes the latest batch of mentorship grants will retain teachers.
Nearly $800,000 in Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST) grants will benefit nearly 400 new teachers in seven school districts across the state. The funds will help grantees coach and counsel new teachers and offer them professional development opportunities.
Among the grantees is the Kent School District where Sharon Williams, the district’s director of professional development, says new teachers often arrive at the classroom with more theoretical knowledge than practical know-how.
"Reading about it is good, and you should have a strong theoretical background and knowledge about different learning styles and the way to reach different students. But actually accomplishing that in six, seven hours every day is another situation entirely," Williams said.
To help new teachers, the district will increase its teacher mentor staff by hiring one additional mentor with the BEST grant.
The grants were established in 2009 by the state Legislature. The Clover Park School District in Pierce County will also receive the grant.