Educator Retooling Conditional Scholarship Program

The Educator Retooling Conditional Scholarship Program provides financial support to Washington State certified teachers who seek to expand their knowledge and skills by adding endorsements in subject or geographic shortage areas.

This program is administered jointly by the Professional Educator Standards Board (responsible for selecting recipients) and the Washington Student Achievement Council (responsible for distributing awards). Funding for this program is dependent upon annual budget appropriations from the Washington State legislature. The state laws establishing this program include the RCWs on Retooling (28A.660.045) and Conditional Scholarship Programs (28A.660.050). Educators need to obtain administrative support and submit complete application materials to be considered for an award.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! 

Please be aware that pending May 2017 board approval, the pathways for teachers to add endorsements to their certificates will be changing. Effective June 26th Pathway 2 will be eliminated, and Pathways 1 and 3 will be restructured. A complete state-approved endorsement program (formerly Pathway 3) or National Board Certification will be required to add an

  1. Early Childhood Education,
  2. Elementary Education,
  3. Bilingual Education*,
  4. English Language Learners*,
  5. Special Education, or
  6. Early Childhood Special Education

endorsement to a Residency, Professional, or Continuing teaching certificate. All other endorsements may be added by what was previously known Pathway 1; successful passage of a content knowledge test (WEST-E/NES).  No endorsement additions will require a pedagogy assessment.

*At the May 2017 meeting there will be a determination of possible testing to add Bilingual Education or ELL endorsement if the certified individual already holds the other (Bilingual Education/ELL) endorsement.


Who is eligible to apply for a retooling scholarship?

In order to qualify for a retooling scholarship, you must meet five criteria:

1. Washington certified

You must hold a current, regular Washington teaching certificate (i.e., residency or professional/continuing).

You are ineligible for a retooling scholarship if you hold a limited certificate, a substitute certificate only, a CTE certificate only, or are on a temporary permit pending testing.

If you are unsure what type of certificate you have, please check your credentials in the e-certification system to confirm that you meet this eligibility criterion before proceeding.

2. Employment status

You must be currently employed as a teacher at a Washington K-12 school or district/ESD (substitutes included).

Exception: Individuals with elementary education endorsements who are not currently employed as elementary teachers are also eligible.

3. Shortage area

You must add on an endorsement in a subject or geographic shortage area, including the following:

  • Bilingual Education 
  • Computer Science Education (endorsement being developed) 
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English Language Learner 
  • Environmental and Sustainability Education 
  • Mathematics 
  • Science 
  • Special Education 
  • Other shortage areas as determined by PESB* 
All applicants, regardless of area, must describe their school/district's shortage situation in their letter of support (see application materials below).

*Applicants pursuing endorsements in areas other than those listed may be awarded on a case-by-case basis if the review committee determines that the applicant's description of their school/district's shortage situation is compelling.

4. Pathway

You must take one of the following three pathways to add the endorsement:

  • Pathway 1: Endorsement test only, for a closely compatible area
  • Pathway 2: Endorsement test plus pedagogy assessment, for a somewhat compatible area
  • Pathway 3: Completion of an add-on endorsement program at a college or university
Visit the Adding an Endorsement page for more information about each of the pathways.

View the Pathways Chart to see which endorsements may be added via Pathway 1 or 2 depending upon the endorsement(s) you already hold.

5. No existing service obligations

If you have previously received a conditional loan scholarship that includes an unsatisfied teaching service obligation, as monitored by WSAC, you must fulfill that obligation or repay the remaining portion of that obligation prior to applying for the retooling scholarship.

What does the scholarship cover?

Recipients are awarded up to $3,000 per endorsement add-on. The scholarship is given directly to the qualifying teacher and is to be used towards educational expenses for the retooling endorsement, such as tuition for coursework, the endorsement test (WEST-E/NES), the pedagogy assessment, and other educational expenses (e.g., books, supplies, transportation). 

Only one scholarship may be granted per endorsement add-on. Candidates may apply for a second scholarship in order to pursue an additional endorsement, but only after completing the teaching service obligation tied to their first award. Each scholarship requires a separate application and incurs a separate teaching service obligation.


What is required of scholarship recipients?

Funding for this program is through the Conditional Loan Scholarship program. The conditional scholarship is a loan that is forgiven in exchange for teaching service in the retooling endorsement area (partial assignments are allowed). The state shall forgive the loan obligation entirely if the recipient completes two years of teaching service (per scholarship) in the endorsement area added through the program; all teaching service must be completed in a Washington state K-12 public school after the endorsement has been earned.

In order to avoid repayment of the remaining loan principal (plus interest and fees), recipients must: 

  • complete the requirements for their endorsement within two years of their award payment date, and
  • complete their entire teaching obligation within a reasonable time frame (to be determined by WSAC)

The promissory note includes detailed information about what qualifies as teaching service in order to earn loan forgiveness. If you have questions about your particular situation, please contact WSAC.


How does one apply?

To apply for the retooling scholarship, you must complete and submit the following materials to PESB. Application instructions are provided in the documents linked below. Please click on each of the links and read the full instructions before applying.
Send your completed application materials via mail to:

Retooling Review Committee
Professional Educator Standards Board
PO Box 47236
Olympia, WA 98504-7236

We cannot accept emailed or faxed applications at this time. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

When to apply

Candidates may apply when their program is underway or when their program will start in the near future, with the understanding that they need to complete their endorsement add-on within two years of the award payment date. We do not specify when programs need to start, but once the recipient is awarded their scholarship check, they need to complete within two years, or run the risk of repayment. Scholarships will not be awarded for endorsements that have already been completed.

There are three application deadlines each year:
  • September 23, 2016
  • January 6, 2017
  • April 28, 2017

Applications must be received by 5:00pm on the deadline in order to be considered for that round of funding.


How are applicants awarded?

Applications are reviewed three times a year, with applicants receiving notification of their award decision within six weeks of the application deadline. The Professional Educator Standards Board selects the recipients, and the Washington Student Achievement Council distributes the awards.

In recent funding rounds, PESB has been able to award all applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and follow the application instructions. However, we expect that in the near future demand for the program will exceed the amount of funding available. In that case, scholarships will be awarded competitively based on the preferences outlined below and the quality of the information provided by the applicant, as evaluated by the Retooling Review Committee.

Awarding preferences

State law stipulates that PESB shall give preference to the following applicants when selecting recipients. 

Among all applicants, preference will be given to:
  • Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, and 
  • National Guard members 
Among the applicants pursuing Bilingual Education and English Language Learner endorsements, preference will be given to:
  • Teachers assigned to schools required under state or federal accountability measures to implement a plan for improvement, and
  • Teachers assigned to schools whose enrollment of ELL students has increased an average of more than 5% per year over the previous 3 years

Have questions? 

If you are a prospective applicant with questions about the retooling program, please contact PESB.

If you are a recipient with questions about your award and/or service obligation, please contact WSAC.

Helpful Links: