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Mentor Grant Program
Applications for the Mentor Grant are closed. Details below are informational for the most recent round of funding.
Overview of Mentor Grant Program
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted education across our country. Like the learning disruption for students, beginning teachers have also been impacted by inconsistencies in learning environments and meaningful feedback. Just as students may have a "learning gap," our teacher candidates and early educators have their own "learning gap." Some preservice educators were unable to have adequate clinical residency experiences because of quarantine rules or impacts. New to the profession (probationary) teachers may have been completing their student teaching experience in the spring of 2020 when it was cut short by the initial COVID closings. Then those same preservice teachers were hired for the first time in the 2020-21 school year and did not have quality mentorship, instructional modeling, additional professional learning, or feedback and support on their instruction.
To ensure the pipeline of educators stays stable and continues to grow, strong mentorship and coaching supports must be put in place. Our preservice and new to the profession teachers must have high quality and talented mentors they can turn to as they grow and develop. According to the 2020 NEA Policy Playbook, there are “numerous studies [that] demonstrate that the implementation of comprehensive induction cuts new teacher turnover rates in half…Comprehensive induction is a sound investment to address teacher recruitment and retention.” Researchers Richard Ingersoll and Michael Strong state that “support and assistance for beginning teachers [has] a positive impact on three sets of outcomes: teacher commitment and retention, teacher classroom instructional practices, and student achievement.” Research shows that high-quality mentor programs include training and support for mentor teachers, intentional policies and practices for identification and placement with mentors and aligned practices /standards for the mentoring content.
This grant will serve as an opportunity for districts to build, enhance, and strengthen mentoring programs to ensure beginning teachers have all the support necessary to build instructional capacity and effectiveness in the classroom.
Mentor Grant Program Purpose
This grant program exists to:
- Deepen mentoring programs at the local level, specifically targeting pre-service mentoring programs for student teachers/clinical residencies and new to the profession (probationary) teachers in their first 3 years of teaching, including educators working under initial, alternative, and/or emergency licensure.
- Broaden the skills of mentor teachers to maximize mentor/mentee relationships and build instructional capacity.
Only applicants that specifically address both purposes identified for funding will be considered.
Local Education Providers (LEPs) are eligible to apply for this opportunity. An eligible LEP is:
- A School District;
- A Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES);
- The Charter School Institute (CSI);
- A Charter School authorized by a School District; or
- A Charter School authorized by the Charter School Institute.
Note: Applications will not be accepted from individual non-charter schools and must be authorized and submitted through the LEP.
Applicants that have received funds from the Mentor Grant Program may apply for this current funding opportunity but in their narrative responses must describe current grant activities and services and demonstrate how, if awarded, capacity to provide activities and services will be expanded, augmented, or sustained. Past expenditure of funds, responsiveness to reporting requirements, and quality of program implementation will also be considered.
Available Funds and Duration of Grant
Approximately $1 million is available for the 2023-2024 school year. Grants will be awarded for a one-year term beginning in the 2023-2024 fiscal year. Awards will be limited to no more than $150,000 per grant recipient. Funded applicants for the 2023-2024 school year are not guaranteed any additional funding beyond the 2023-2024 year at this time. All funds must be expended by August 31, 2024 and reimbursement requests must be submitted no later than September 30, 2024. There will be no carryover of funds.
Allowable Use of Funds
- Serve preservice educators through clinical residencies or student teaching AND/OR serve educators in their first 3 years of teaching (probationary teachers);
- Develop, implement, and/or expand a mentoring program;
- Select and develop mentors.
- Beginning teacher workshops, training, and professional development opportunities that are specifically designed for beginning teachers during their first years in the classroom
- Workshops and training for mentors on the skills of effective mentoring and/or instructional strategies
- Opportunities for mentors to meet with one another to share successes and trouble-shooting strategies to continue mentor's professional development
- Expenses incurred in creating and managing the mentorship program
- Mentor stipends
- Mentee stipends, including stipends for pre-service and in-service educators in the program
- Substitute costs for classroom leave time for mentors and mentees
- Materials/supplies necessary for mentor program content delivery
- FTE to develop and facilitate mentor program
Review Process and Timeline
Applications will be reviewed by CDE staff and peer reviewers to ensure they contain all required components. Applicants will be notified of final award status no later than Tuesday, August 15, 2023.
Note: This is a competitive process – applicants must score at least 70 points out of the 100 possible points to be approved for funding. Applications that score below 70 points may be asked to submit revisions that would bring the application up to a fundable level. There is no guarantee that submitting an application will result in funding or funding at the requested level. All award decisions are final. Applicants that do not meet the qualifications may reapply for future grant opportunities.
Submission Process and Deadline
Completed applications (including all required elements) must be submitted through the online application form by Thursday, June 8, 2023, by 11:59 pm.
Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. If you do not receive an email confirmation of receipt of your submission from the application system within 24 hours after the deadline, e-mail CompetitiveGrants@cde.state.co.us.
Application materials and budget are available for download on the Mentor Grant webpage.
An informational video is available:
Mentor Grant Showcase
Five program leaders hosted a webinar in the spring of 2023 about how they're utilizing grant funds after year 1 of the grant and what they are learning. A recording is available here.
Mentor Grant Year 1 Themes
In the fall of 2023, the Educator Development office at CDE conducted structured interviews with mentor grant recipients beginning their second year of mentor grant implementation (round 1 mentor grants). The goal was to uncover themes in the impact of the grant program and to surface best practices in current grant implementations. This report is a summary of the findings.