Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Contributes $2.25 Million for Teacher Support and Mentoring

Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession to Also Receive $750,000 from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- Program to Support Schools Across Washington State

SEATTLE--()--The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation (PGAFF) today announced it has committed $2.25 million over four years to the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP), an innovative Washington state nonprofit that supports student achievement through its focus on teaching excellence. The current grant will support phase three of a teacher development and support initiative that serves to improve new teacher induction, training and mentoring practices at districts throughout Washington State. In addition, CSTP will receive $750,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support its efforts, for a combined total of $3 million toward the teacher development and mentoring project.

Washington loses about 25% of its new teachers within their first five years in the classroom. By conservative estimates, it costs Washington taxpayers $45,000 -- or more than $30 million per year -- to replace these teachers. Particularly hard hit are high-poverty, low-performing schools that often have higher turnover than their wealthier counterparts. By better training and retaining quality teachers, the CSTP program strives to move teachers beyond mere survival and help create thriving, professional educators that have increasingly positive impacts on student learning. Through mentoring (creating partnerships between new and veteran teachers) and offering rigorous, ongoing adult education opportunities for new teachers, CSTP and its partners invest in the teaching profession, Washington public schools, and their students and families.

This is a strategic and hands-on approach to improving education, said Peter Berliner, senior program officer at the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. By helping assure that teachers experience high-quality training and mentoring during their first five years on the job and beyond, CSTP and its programs create a ripple effect that improves schools and supports teachers in positive and measurable ways.

A highly qualified teaching workforce, consisting of both new and veteran teachers, is the single greatest leverage point for assuring students can reach their highest potential, said Jeanne Harmon, executive director of the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession. Thanks to the funding support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we can expand our work to serve even more teachers and schools in Washington.

"This project is a compelling example of the public-private partnerships Washington needs to bring all students to standard," said Dr. Terry Bergeson, Washington state superintendent of public instruction. "Our office will carefully follow the progress of the districts involved with this initiative to learn more about best induction and mentoring practices in both rural and urban settings. Lessons learned here will help us expand opportunities across the state so every new teacher is assured an excellent start in our profession."

Ultimately, the CSTP Teacher Development and Support Initiative aims to change state and local policies and practices so that teacher induction and support programs become a more integral part of school and district improvements. Partnerships with a diverse group of school districts include city as well as rural districts, which together demonstrate the range of issues faced by teachers and students in different areas. School districts in the CSTP program currently include large and complex urban districts such as Highline and Spokane, as well as outlying areas such as Toppenish and Cle Elum-Roslyn. In addition, small districts such as Raymond, Rochester and Mary M. Knight in Education Service District 113 (in and near Olympia), and Educational Service District 105 (in and near Yakima), are also part of the initiative. These rural regions often face issues such as student poverty, mobility and English language skills, which are key considerations in education. Over the next four years, the program will implement these new programs, as well as pay for evaluation, communication and advocacy, to ensure long-term success and results measurement.

About the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession

The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) promotes state and local policies and practices that build a strong, supported and effective teaching force for Washington's students. CSTP is an independent, nonprofit organization that supports student achievement through its focus on improving the quality of teaching. Established in 2003, CSTP commissions research and builds capacity for using data to inform policy discussions and decision making; provides teachers with opportunities to develop leadership skills and contribute to policy decisions; and engages the public in dialogue centered on powerful learning for all students.

About the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

Launched in 2004 through the consolidation of Allens six private foundations (first established in 1988), the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation supports nonprofit organizations focused on making positive and measurable change in the Pacific Northwest. The mission of the Foundation, under the direction of Executive Director Jo Allen Patton, is to build healthy communities and advance social progress through four strategic programs. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation reviews and awards grants twice per year, and accepts applications from eligible organizations located in -- or serving the populations of -- Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Visit the Foundation online at www.pgafamilyfoundation.com.

Contacts

Vulcan Inc.
For more information, press only:
Michael Nank, 206-342-2000
michaelna@vulcan.com

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Contacts

Vulcan Inc.
For more information, press only:
Michael Nank, 206-342-2000
michaelna@vulcan.com