Providing Release Time for Teachers
LanguagesA-Z IndexPrinter Friendly Image

For more information about the BEST Program: or
 (360) 725-6118


Beginning Educator Support Team

Providing Release Time for Teachers

One of the requirements for TAP-funded peer mentoring in state law is the provision of release time for mentors and beginning teachers so that they may observe each other and other experienced teachers. This is a critical piece of the program, as without the information gleaned from watching a new teacher teach, a mentor is ill-equipped to help that teacher develop and implement an appropriate Professional Growth Plan. New teachers can also learn a great deal by observing their mentors or, with their mentors whenever possible, observing other exemplary teachers. In addition, a great deal of research shows that in-class professional development – teachers watching each other and teaching together – is also a very effective activity.

Districts, however, are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their needs for substitute teachers. Below are some creative ideas from districts around the state for finding time in the day for this important activity:

  • Hire one substitute to fill in for 3-4 teachers
    Observations are most effective if they cover a relatively short period of time (20-50 minutes). With this time requirement, one substitute can fill in for short periods for several teachers in a building or in adjacent buildings.
  • Ask an administrator to cover the class
    Some administrators find it refreshing to be back in the classroom for a short lesson.
  • Observe during a preparation period
    While not an ideal solution, this can provide for observation time when other options are not available.
  • Ask a colleague to cover the class during his/her preparation period
    The district may use TAP funds to pay the colleague for that time.

If you have other suggestions to add to this list, please contact OSPI's Beginning Educator Support Team Coordinator Linda Foster at with your creative solutions!


Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  (360) 725-6000  TTY (360) 664-3631
Contact Us    |    A-Z Index    |    Site Info    |    Staff Only    |    Education Data System (EDS)