Here's Yet Another Foundation That Sees Mentoring as a Key To Teacher Training

More evidence comes to us every week of just how excited funders are about mentoring approaches to teacher training. Last week, we wrote about how the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is investing heavily in the Urban Teacher Center, which advances a mentoring approach. This week it's the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation's funding in this area that caught our eye. 

Harold K.L. Castle was a Hawaii businessman who fell in love with the Windward side of the island of Oahu when he moved there in the early 20th century, and he set about doing all he could to develop the community there. He donated land for schools, hospitals, and churches, and in 1962 established the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. Today, the Castle Foundation is Hawaii's largest private foundation and has expanded its reach from the Windward side of Oahu to all of Hawaii, funding projects in marine conservation and public education, among other areas.

The foundation describes its approach to public education as one that emphasizes redesign and enhancement. Many education funders concentrate their attention on new players in the education field, such as charter school operators rather than traditional K-12 agencies. By contrast, Castle's past projects have emphasized strong links with the Hawaii Department of Education, which acts as both a state agency and local school district. Past Castle Foundation grants have provided mentoring for new teachers and supported performance management systems to help the Hawaii Department of Education better implement its strategic plans for the state's public schools.

Two recent Castle Foundation grants provide further support to the state's teachers. The funder awarded two grants, worth a total of $1.4. million, to the New Teacher Center of Hawaii and to the Hope Street Group. The New Teacher Center received $762,690 over a three-year period to work with the Hawaii Department of Education to recruit and train mentors for teachers. This furthers the Castle Foundation's interest in teacher training and mentoring, and fosters cooperation between state education officials and area nonprofits. The New Teacher Center, based in Honolulu, is a past recipient of Castle Foundation funding, receiving $450,000 in 2013 to develop the instructional leadership skills of school administrators in Hawaii.

With the $668,832 grant to the Hope Street Group, Castle continues its goal of supporting the Aloha State's teachers, but has reached beyond the Hawaiian Islands to a national organization as a means of doing so. Hope Street Group is based in Washington, D.C., and operates teacher fellowship programs that focus on educators in particular states to give them the tools to help shape education policy.

With the Castle Foundation grant, Hope Street Group will develop a teacher fellowship program that meets the needs of Hawaii educators, bolstering their ability to collaborate with state leaders on education policy.