February 16, 2010

Welcome and Introductions

Senator Foriest, Co-Chair-presiding

Representative Yongue, Co-Chair

Overview of Ed Oversight Website Dee Atkinson, Research Assistant, Education Team, NCGA Research Division, An overview of the Research Division’s website was presented to the members and information was provided regarding the material now available at the following location:

National Board Certification Karen Garr, Regional Outreach Director, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards presented an overview and background of the NBPTS in North Carolina. North Carolina has more National Board teachers than any other state in the nation. Participation in the program gives teachers the time and the opportunity to analyze in a systematic way their professional development as teachers, successful teaching strategies, and the substantive area in which they teach. Students taught by teachers who are board certified make larger gains on achievement test scores than those taught by teachers who are not. Fifteen years ago our state saw its first group of teachers achieve certification. We continue to lead the nation with more than 15,695 teachers who have earned NBPTS certification. There are 12,175 NBPTS teachers still teaching in NC classrooms. Prior to July 1, 2010 the state paid the NBPTS participation fee and provided up to three days of approved paid leave to all teachers participating in the program. The change of the application fee from payment to a loan almost doubled the number of teachers who applied to become certified this year. The participation fee is now provided through a loan program. To receive certification a teacher must successfully complete the process of developing a portfolio of student work and videotapes of teaching and learning activities and participate in NBPTS assessment center simulation exercises, including performance based activities and content knowledge examination. The fiscal incentive to participate in the program includes placement on the salary schedule that is 12 percent higher than base teacher pay for the life of the certificate.  At the conclusion of the presentation each of the following speakers were given an opportunity to express their experience regarding the program and to urge legislators to repeal the loan requirement in the legislation and support teachers participating to become National Board certified.

Dr. Alvera Lesane, Senior Director, Professional Growth and Development, Durham Public Schools Sheila Evans, Principal and National Board Certified Teacher, DF Walker School, Edenton/Chowan Schools and Joan Celestino, National Board Certified Teacher, Mineral Springs Middle School, Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools briefly addressed the committee on their experience going through the National Board process and being National Board Certified teachers.

Update of EVAAS Dr. June Rivers, SAS Institute presented some historical background information and highlighted some of the capabilities of the EVAAS system that are available to all school districts.  Currently 65,000 logons have accessed the system in 2009-2010. Student data from EOGs, EOCs, and SATs has been collected and stored in the system. The system now has the capability to track every student enrolled in a school in North Carolina.  This has been accomplished mainly through the efforts of the SAS Corporation in collaboration with the Department of Public Instruction. They can assist National Board Teachers with differentiated instruction based on EVAAS data. All districts have access to EVAAS, however not all districts, schools, principals, and teachers are using the system.

NC 1:1 Learning Collaborative Phil Emer, Director of Technology, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, NCSU and Dr. Jeni Corn, Senior Research Associate, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, NCSU presented. This new learning environment requires effective leadership and community support, prepares teachers to use technology to enhance teaching and learning, incorporates 21st century skills and content into the curriculum, provides a wireless, multimedia digital device for every student and teacher, and provides broadband connectivity and wireless access throughout the school. An updated summary of the evaluation of the NC1:1 Learning Collaborative was presented to the members.  There are 12 districts with 6,072 students and 365 teachers participating in this initiative. The findings on the Instructional Practices concluded that teachers increased the use of technology for both planning and instruction, teachers and students reported ready Internet access increased the frequency, reliability, and quality of communication across the school, and teachers moved from assigning independent work to collaborative, project-based lessons, and teachers shifted to technology-enhanced  modes of assessments.  In the area of student performance, attendance was above 92 percent in all 1:1 schools and remained unchanged over the three-year period, the dropout rate decreased one or two percent, student engagement increased, and their 21st century skills increased.  The findings in the NC evaluation of the program were consistent with other programs in Maine, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Virginia, Australia, and Alberta.  The findings included an increase in student engagement, classroom activities were more active, reflective and collaborative. In addition, student achievement over time showed substantial increases in the writing scores, content areas related to teacher preparation, the use of classroom technology, and improved test scores for disadvantaged students. An overview of the projects across the state showed 8 LEAs in Phase one of the pilot, 4 LEAs in Expansion of the pilot, 14 LEAs in Strategic planning, 10 LEAs with One school in 1:1, 2 LEAs operating Independently and 5 LEAs in Impact Continuation schools. There are 43 LEAs in some level of planning or implementation of the 1:1 initiative.

Draft Social Studies Curriculum Dr. Rebecca Garland, Chief Academic Officer, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction addressed the members regarding the proposed revision to the Social Studies Curriculum. She explained the process for the Standards revision and commented on the volume of input and feedback received on the first draft document of the standards recently submitted. LEAs have until March 2 to comment on this first draft. The intent was to teach US History PreColonial to Age of Revolution in 5th grade and then to teach North Carolina and the United States and World in 7th grade leaving Reconstruction to Present, for 11th grade US History. This first Draft 1.0 has unleashed massive amounts of emails and some of them rather unkind. The University systems in NC do not require US History as a course and there is so much for students to learn in high school the thought was to put some of the US History curriculum in Elementary and Middle school. Three options were presented to members for consideration. The Options are as follows: 1) Leave sequence as drafted (5th and 7th early US History; 10th grade 1877 to present) which will be omitted 2) Draft Two, Required Courses (a) Pre-Columbian-Civil War and Reconstruction -up to 1877); (b) Reconstruction (1877) to the Present, 3) Draft Two, Two Courses: (a) Pre-Columbian-Civil War and Reconstruction up to 1877, the LEA chooses where to place the course and (b) Reconstruction  (1877) to the Present (required in High School). Draft 2.0 will be posted for feedback sometime in April. In the discussion if US History is divided between two required courses in high school Ms. Garland it would require additional teachers. Option 3 allows the LEAs to choose where to place the first course up to Reconstruction and it might be placed in middle school, 8th grade. Members asked if they could provide feedback.  


February 17, 2010

Welcome and Introductions

Representative Yongue, Co-Chair-Presiding

Senator Foriest, Co-Chair

The Collaborative Project: The First Two Years Dr Charles Thompson, LW King Professor in Education East Carolina University reviewed the Collaborative project. It is a three-year pilot that began in 2007-2008 and will conclude June 30, 2010. The pilot worked primarily with elementary and middle schools. It appears the pilot could be implemented in other rural districts, but not necessarily with urban systems (larger scale). The purpose was to improve teacher recruitment and retention as well as student performance. Five LEAs were chosen to participate: Caswell, Greene, Mitchell, Warren, and Washington. The state funding provided in 2007-2008 was $4.4 million, 2008-2009, $7.2 million, and 2009-2010 $6.4 million. They focused their efforts and funding in three areas; professional development, performance incentives, and after school programs. In 2009 they issued two reports and two more reports are due in May and November of 2010. Members asked what the per pupil cost of the pilot was and if they could move it statewide. Can you determine who benefited from the program and which areas were most successful? An executive summary was provided for the pilot. An additional year of the pilot was mentioned in the executive summary. They need to make some further refinements to pilot and complete a valid assessment of the Project outcomes, which will both require more time.

Teacher Preparation in Other Countries John Dornan, Executive Director, Public School Forum of North Carolina presented information on lessons learned from traveling and observing other countries educational systems. Three major advantages in other countries are the salaries are more competitive, they can easily expand the number of instructional days and there is time for staff development training and planning. Less important advantages include teaching is viewed as full time profession and they are not having to work part –time with a summer job. In other countries rarely are new teachers assigned a full teaching load for the first few years. They typically have fewer contact hours of teaching during the school day. They generally have their own office. They have devised ways for teachers to have varied career pathways. Many countries invest heavily in continuous professional development of their teachers. Many high-performing countries have well-defined approaches to teaching that are commonly used by all teachers. Countries have succeeded in making teaching a respected profession and attract the best and brightest college students to teaching. In some countries teachers and principals rotate job assignments. After visiting many countries to observe education, Singapore appears to have the most complete and successful approach to retaining, recruiting and training teachers. One or two key points; teacher majors are among the top 25 percent of entering college students and the salary for beginning teachers is comparable to the salary for engineers. Singapore and other countries tend to have longer days, larger classes and in Singapore the textbooks and materials are the same wherever you attend school. In the end, countries that recognize the teaching profession as a respected profession, as well as providing competitive pay, year-round employment, preparation to teach and professional development are more successful in their education programs. These issues and more tend to result in higher student performance. Senator Dannelly noted teachers must be treated as professionals and that is something we don’t do well, if at all.

Center for International Understanding – Teacher Exchanges with China and Other Recent Initiatives Millie Ravenel, Executive Director, North Carolina Center for International Understanding shared information about the Center. Their vision is to have NC as one of the most globally engaged states in the nation. They work with state leaders to assist them in making decisions on issues with international implications. They help teachers with global awareness and competence in teaching. She noted some of their key initiatives. She emphasized the importance of working with China which is NC’s 2nd largest export market. One-third of world’s people speak Mandarin. The Confucius classroom initiative is located in 45 NC schools (over three years). It is an in-depth study of Chinese language and culture. Fifty-one percent of the Centers funding comes from grants, donations and fees and the other 40 percent is state appropriations. The Center has handled a 37 percent cut in their budget.

Visiting International Faculty Program David B. Young, CEO showed a map of VIF teachers who are located in almost every county in the State. VIF first began bringing internal teachers to NC in 1990 (ten-French and Spanish). By 2000 there were more than 2,000 international teachers teaching in NC schools. VIF is the largest teacher exchange program in the country. They work with The State Department who views the organization as an asset to diplomacy in the United States. By having teachers from other countries teach in our schools as Mr. Young said “Teachers are opinion leaders in all nations.”  International teachers who teach in our schools, will take their positive opinions of North Carolina back to their own countries. VIF has several components: Passport –Global Literacy, Splash-Language Immersion, International Educators and Professional Development. He reviewed each of these programs. There is only one Global Literacy school and that is located in Cumberland County. In the Global Literacy School the students learn about one continent in every grade level (Kindergarten is North America). They will add another school in Cumberland next year. The language immersion program, Splash, is being used in 15 LEAs across the State. Charlotte has the most programs with Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. Wake County Schools was not on the list of LEAs using Splash in NC. The International teacher program is providing 51 school systems with more than 506 teachers from 50 different countries teaching 16 different subjects during this school year.  Mr. Young concluded with a short video of a language immersion school (Splash). The members commented on the VIF program and were very impressed with their work.

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