Beginning Teacher Assistance Program

Sustaining Educator Growth

Ecosystem of Empowerment for Early Career Educators

Questions? Contact MNEA Professional Practice Program Services Administrative Assistant Olivia Compton (, (417) 569-1402).

The forest is not a forest without individual trees, and individual trees are never as strong standing alone as they are surrounded and supported by the whole forest. Similarly, education cannot exist without individual teachers, and individual teachers will have a better chance of growing into strong, experienced educators with the support and guidance from their forest of fellow educators. 

All teachers with a Missouri Initial Professional Certificate (IPC) must participate in a beginning teacher assistance program (BTAP) before upgrading their certificate. 

Much like the mechanisms that create the ecosystems that regulate the health of our planet, MNEA has overhauled our Early Career Educator Program to include the following: 

  • Network: Just as trees develop interconnected root systems, MNEA’s Ecosystem of Empowerment for ECEs ensures that the initial establishment of a teacher's professional networks is not only within their district but also expands to their region, state, and national resources and support systems.  
  • Shade and Shelter:  For growth and stress reduction, tree canopies provide share and shelter for each other. Regional facilitator-mentors are accomplished teachers and leaders who provide guidance for growth and experience in how to navigate typical challenges of the teaching profession. 
  • Stability: Through the Ecosystem of Empowerment programming, the stability of consistent meetings with facilitator-mentors and support from fellow ECEs is a anchor for participants—much like the mutual support of trees growing close together. 
  • Resource Sharing: The transfer of resources helps everyone in a network and within the Ecosystem of Empowerment, Facilitator-Mentors and ECEs regularly share all resources for teachers to best support all students. Resource sharing leads to the promotion of overall forest—teacher—resilience. 
  • Belonging: All educators deserve to be supported and encouraged and empowered by fellow educators; this space is for you and every early career educator.

The Ecosystem of Empowerment for ECEs programming includes the following: 

  •  Regional sign-up at this webpage (sign up for the 2024-2025 school year will be available starting in July 2024) 
  • Any teacher who needs ECE support or who is seeking their BTAP—whether they are a member or not—can sign up for this programming.
  • Participants will be grouped regionally and paired with two accomplished teachers as regional facilitator/mentors who will support them during the entirety of their experience and for 12 additional months after you complete your BTAP
  • 6-12 months of learning experiences to obtain your BTAP Certificate from MNEA (you complete the BTAP within 6 months or 12 but you will have 1 year from your sign up to complete the BTAP)
  • 6 Synchronous Zooms during each semester
  • Asynchronous Learning Experiences between Zoom calls that will require you to explore and research within your local context between Zoom sessions

Missouri Rules and Regulations, 5 CSR 20-400.385, requires teachers to take a Beginning Teacher Assistance Program if they want to upgrade their Initial Certification to a Career Continuous Certification. Missouri NEA previously had the “I Can Do It” training that did serve this purpose. 

The Beginning Teacher Assistance Program rule is currently undergoing rule changes at the State Board and DESE level; you can view changes to that rule here. The Ecosystems of Empowerment for ECEs programming fulfills the new rule changes. 

If you are an MNEA member who is interested in applying for the Facilitator-Mentor positions we have available, please log in below to complete an application.