The Public School Forum of NC is a not for profit policy think tank which is a partnership of business leaders, education leaders, and government leaders in North Carolina. Since opening its doors in 1986, the Forum has evolved into an organization that has made a significant contribution to schools across North Carolina.
In addition to research and work in the public policy arena, the Forum oversees programs in communities across the state. Currently, the Forum is working with community leaders in over twenty counties in an effort to attract more minorities and males into the teaching professsion. In five counties, the Forum's Collaborative Project, a project designed at the request of leaders in the General Assembly, is providing intensive staff development, especially in the areas of mathematics and science, supporting newly-created afterschool programs, experimenting with financial incentives for teachers and administrators and overseeing a Leadership Institute aimed at sharpening the skills of school leaders.
The Forum also is home to two statewide centers. One, the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP), is a resource center and clearinghouse for private and public afterschool programs across North Carolina. NC CAP work groups are now focused on creating a consensus around high quality standards for afterschool programs and designing certification programs for employees of afterschool centers. NC Partners is a network of school/business partnerships, education foundations and Chamber of Commerce Education Committees that work to improve schools in their communities. NC Partners works to build the capacity of staff and volunteers who are key to the success of local partnerships.
The Forum also works to build the capacity of mid-career professionals working in schools, state agencies and non-profit organizations. This work is done through the Educational Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) which is part of a nationwide network based at the Institute for Educational Leadership. EPFP introduces participants to the educational policymaking arena in Raleigh and in Washington DC.
The Forum’s oldest program initiative is the North Carolina Teaching Fellows initiative, made possible through support of the General Assembly. The Forum, working in partnership with the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission, oversees the selection process of 500 scholarship recipients each year as well as coordinating summer enrichment programs for the 2,000 prospective teachers located on public and private campuses across North Carolina.
Finally, in the Public Policy Arena, the Forum provides timely information about trends and best practices in education through its weekly Friday Report and its quarterly Forum Report. It also offers capacity-building seminars and conferences created for policymakers, candidates for elected office and education reporters who cover their actions.