Frequently Asked Questions - Educator Retooling Program

Frequently Asked Questions - Educator Retooling Program

Q. What is the Educator Retooling Program?

A. The Educator Retooling Program is designed to financially (dependent upon annual funding appropriations from the Washington State legislature) assist Washington State certified teachers and school districts seeking ways to address work force short falls in adding endorsements in teaching shortage areas. The shortage areas that qualify for this program are: Middle Level Math, Middle Level Science, Secondary Math and all Secondary Science endorsements. 

Q. Does the Educator Retooling program provide financial assistance?

A. Yes, depending upon funding appropriations from the Washington State Legislature, the program provides up to $3,000 per fiscal year through a Conditional Loan Scholarship to be used for educational expenses leading to an endorsement in the shortage area. A Conditional Loan Scholarship is given directly to the qualifying teacher. A teacher may apply for a total of two scholarships for a total award of $6,000. Conditional Loan Scholarships require that the teacher complete two years of teaching service per scholarship in the endorsement area to avoid repayment ( partial assignments in the added endorsement area are allowed for teaching service). All teaching service must be completed in a Washington State K-12 public school after the endorsement has been earned.

In addition, school districts seeking to create Retooling Academies related to increasing the capacity of their current teaching staff may partner with programs authorized to offer shortage area endorsements through cohort models.

Q. How do I get started?

A. Visit our web page and complete a Request for an Application.

Q. What are Pathways and the Pathways Chart?

A. The Pathways Chart describes three ways or "Paths" that a teacher may be eligible to add an endorsement. The Pathway you qualify for depends on what endorsements are currently listed on your certificate. Washington State currently has three pathways for teachers to add endorsements:

Pathway I - Teachers in this category currently hold endorsements that align with the endorsements that they wish to add through Pathway I. Taking the West-E in that content area will allow them to add the endorsement.

Pathway II - Teachers who hold endorsements that somewhat align with the endorsement that they wish to add through Pathway II will need to take the West-E in that content area and complete the College/University supervised Pedagogy Assessment.

Pathway III - Teachers in this category will take the traditional path to adding an endorsement and will need to complete endorsement program coursework and take the West-E, or other university observation instrument if required by the program.

Click here for a link to the Pathways Chart

Q. How do I figure out my Pathway options?

A. Look at the left column in the Pathways Chart and find your current endorsement(s) on the Pathway Chart located on OSPI's website at If you hold one of the endorsements listed in the first column and have 90 days of teaching experience in that endorsement area, follow the row to the second and third columns. Column two shows which endorsements you can add via Pathway I, taking the WEST-E and column three shows endorsements that can be added via Pathway II, taking the WEST-E and successfully completing a Pedagogy Assessment administered by an approved endorsement program. If an endorsement area is not listed in those two columns, you would add the endorsement via a traditional program, also known as Pathway III.

Q. Is there contact information for programs offering Pathway II and III ?

A. Contact information for colleges and universities offering Pathway II and Pathways III programs are available on our website at

Q. What are my obligations once I have earned my endorsement in a shortage area?

A. You are obligated to teach for two years per each scholarship received in a Washington State K-12 public school in the endorsement area that you earned (partial day assignments are allowed for teaching service). Once you have completed your teaching service your Conditional Loan Scholarship will be forgiven. You may only add one endorsement at a time through the program and must complete your teaching service before applying for a scholarship to add an additional endorsement.

Q.What happens if I change my mind and decide to find other employment after earning my endorsement?

A. You must repay your Conditional Loan Scholarship.

Q. How long do I have to earn a shortage area endorsement?

A. You will be required to add the endorsement within two years from the time that you receive your Conditional Loan Scholarship.

Q. What role does my district play in adding an endorsement?

A. It is important that you discuss your participation in the Educator Retooling Program with your district administrators. The district will be responsible for verifying your teaching service; therefore, it is important to talk to them about your future placement if you would like to avoid repayment. If you are Pathway II you will want to discuss with your district the opportunity to complete your Pedagogy Assessment in an endorsement area classroom.

Q. Can the Educator Retooling Conditional Loan Scholarship be used to add other endorsements besides shortage areas?

A. No. The retooling program funds are only for any of the Secondary Math and all Secondary Science endorsements, Middle Level Math, and Middle Level Science.

Q. What is a partial day assignment?

A. If you are assigned to one or two instructional periods per day in the shortage area endorsement that you earned through the Educator Retooling Program, this will count for teaching service.

Q. What if I teach math as part of my assignment in an elementary classroom? Will that count for Middle Level Math teaching service?

A. No. For Teachers earning Mathematics or Middle Level Math endorsements through the Educator Retooling program, assignments to the following types of classrooms may be credited for verification of teaching service:

  • Math coach/ TOSA- Assignment to work with teachers, paraprofessionals and or students in Math content instruction.
  • Math block teacher- Assignment in a K-8 building Math classroom where students are pulled out and sent to a Math class for blocked Math instruction (typically 6-8 grades).
  • Special Education Math classes at the Middle or High school level- The teacher is assigned to teach Math content for special education students in blocked periods dedicated to Math instruction.

The following types of classrooms will NOT be credited for verification of teaching service:

  • Teaching Math as part of a self contained elementary education classroom is NOT considered middle level or secondary Math instruction and will NOT qualify for teaching service.

Please note that verification of teaching service will depend on whether or not your district administrator will be willing to sign your verification of teaching service form indicating that you are teaching in a Math content assignment. It will be up to your district administrator to sign the verification that he or she considers the classroom assignment you have to be significant in terms of instruction in Math content area.

Q. There are not many "ELL Teaching" jobs in my district, but I want to add ELL. How will teaching service be determined for ELL?

A.The fact that you may not be in an ELL position is allowable. If you are teaching in a mainstream or Title classroom and your school’s student population has a significant number of ELL students this would be considered acceptable for your service requirement.

It will depend on whether or not your district administrator will be willing to sign your verification of teaching service form indicating that you are teaching in an assignment that supports a significant number of ELL students. Unfortunately, there is no magic number that is considered significant. That will be up to your district. It is suggested that you talk with your district administrators and explain the terms of your teaching service.