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Friday Report – June 9, 2017
This week in #nced: Schools Struggle to Meet New Class Size Rules; Bill Widening Educator Prep Passes Senate Finance
by Forum Admin
The Friday Report
June 9, 2017
Public School Forum of NC Launches New Effort to Address Impacts of Childhood Trauma on Learning
The Public School Forum of North Carolina announced today the creation of the “NC Resilience and Learning Project” to address the impacts of traumatic childhood experiences on student learning. The project was made possible with support from founding partners ChildTrust Foundation, The John M. Belk Endowment and The Belk Foundation who have invested $100,000 each to help launch this initiative.
The project unites the expertise of the Public School Forum with the Massachusetts Trauma & Learning Policy Initiative at Harvard Law School and the Duke Center for Child & Family Policy, as well as other nonprofit and academic institutions. Together these institutions, in partnership with several North Carolina school districts, will use an inquiry-based process to create trauma-sensitive whole school learning environments that improve students’ academic outcomes and social-emotional wellbeing.
“Research has documented the disturbingly high prevalence of traumatic experiences in childhood,” said Public School Forum President and Executive Director Keith Poston. “Educators are on the front lines, responding every day to the challenges students bring with them to school. The NC Resilience and Learning Project helps give educators tools to support students as they cope with adversity and engage in the learning process.”
The Project arose out of the Forum’s Study Group XVI: Expanding Educational Opportunity in North Carolina. Childhood trauma and its impact on learning, along with racial equity and chronically low-performing schools, were three key areas identified as barriers to providing every child in North Carolina the opportunity to reach their full potential through equal and meaningful public education.
In line with the recommendations of the Study Group’s Committee on Trauma & Learning, the Project will utilize two action strategies: 1) professional development for educators to increase their understanding of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), the potential trauma response students may experience, and resulting impacts on student learning and behavior, and to introduce interventions that can restore students’ sense of safety and agency, and 2) a structured program in partner LEAs to create inclusive learning environments that build student resilience as an alternative to removing students from classrooms.
The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study showed that, too often, students arrive at school besieged by the neurological effects of traumatic experiences. High levels of stress hormones over prolonged periods causing chemically toxic effects on regions of their brains that deal with problem-solving and decision-making. As a result, students may experience a trauma response that causes them to “fight” (defiance; aggression), “take flight” (absenteeism; dropouts), or “freeze” (shut down; withdraw). Unfortunately, schools and school systems typically focus on student behavior itself, instead of scrutinizing and responding to aspects of students’ experience that shape their behavior.
“Too often, teachers and school leaders respond to misbehavior by asking, ‘what’s wrong with you?’ when instead they should be asking, ‘what happened to you?’,” Poston said. “The result is that students are often punished at their most vulnerable moments, when in fact they are most in need of understanding, support, and help in building new coping skills. That’s what this effort is designed to do.”
As full program funding is realized, the Public School Forum plans to implement the whole-school model in up to six school districts (18 schools) over a three-year period. The initial school districts will be announced soon. In each of the six partner LEAs, three elementary schools will be selected that serve predominantly low-income children and have high rates of child welfare involvement. The Duke Center for Child & Family Policy will lead the program evaluation. The Public School Forum’s long-term goal is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach and seek statewide scale-up options.
The Forum Project Team includes Joe Ableidinger, Senior Director of the North Carolina Resilience and Learning Project; James Ford, the Forum’s Program Director; Lauren Bock, the Forum’s Research Director; and Elizabeth Jones DeKonty, the Forum’s Trauma & Learning Fellow. Ms. DeKonty joins the Forum team this month following several years as Program Manager of the North Carolina Child Treatment Program at the Center for Child and Family Health in Durham, North Carolina. At the Center she managed training on responses to chronic stress and conducted clinical therapy with young children who had experienced trauma.
Public School Forum Elects Tom Williams Chair-Elect; Elects New Board and Forum Members
The Board of Directors of the Public School Forum of North Carolina elected several new Directors and At-Large Forum members at its June 6, 2017 meeting. The two-year terms officially begin July 1, 2017. The Board of Directors elected Tom Williams as Chair-elect. Williams will succeed Michael Priddy as Board Chair on July 1, 2018.
“We’re honored to add so many dynamic and distinguished individuals to our Board of Directors and Membership,” said Keith Poston, President & Executive Director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina. “We rely on leaders like these to provide guidance to our organization and to inform and underpin all that we do to advance education in this state.”
Chair-elect Tom Williams is President of Strategic Educational Alliances, Inc. Prior to founding Strategic Educational Alliances, Tom served the public schools of North Carolina in various capacities for thirty-two years. Most recently, he was superintendent of Granville County Schools until his retirement. Tom received his undergraduate degree in elementary education at Pembroke State University and his M.A.Ed., Ed.S., and Ed.D in educational leadership from East Carolina University.
Chair-Elect Tom Williams
Michael Priddy, Chairman (continuing term)
Tom Oxholm, Secretary/Treasurer (continuing term)
Gene Arnold, Immediate Past Chair (continuing term)
Tom Williams, Chair-Elect (chairmanship begins July 1, 2018)
Keith Poston, President and Executive Director
Board of Directors
New Board Members
Damon Circosta, Executive Director, AJ Fletcher Foundation
Courtney Crowder, President, Crowder Consulting Co.
Charles Francis, Managing Partner, The Francis Law Firm
Sue Burgess, Retired Superintendent, Dare County Schools
Scott Penland, Retired Superintendent, Clay County Schools
Philip Price, retired Chief Financial Officer, NC Dept. of Public Instruction
Patti Gillenwater, President & CEO, President, Elinvar
Dick Daugherty, Retired Senior Executive, IBM
Blount Williams, Chairman & CEO, Alfred Williams & Co.
Alisa Chapman, Visiting Fellow in Public Policy and the Global Research Institute at UNC Chapel Hill
Jim Phillips, Partner at Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard
Chris Bell, Region President, SunTrust Bank
Van Isley, Chairman and CEO, Professional Builders Supply
Jessica Holmes, Wake County Board of Commissioners
Norris Tolson, President & CEO, Carolinas Gateway Partnership
Current At-Large Forum Members elected to new two-year terms:
Evelyn Bulluck, Board Member, Nash/Rocky Mount Public Schools
J.B. Buxton, Founding Principal, Education Innovations Group
Jeni Corn, Director of Evaluation Programs, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
Lou Fabrizio, Director, Data, Research and Federal Policy, NC Department of Public Instruction
Jayne Fleener, Research Professor, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
Shirley Prince, Executive Director, NC Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association (NC PAPA)
Sen. Gladys Robinson, NC General Assembly
New Episodes of Education Matters Return Next Week
A new episode of Education Matters will return on Saturday, June 17, 2017 featuring two leading NC House members, Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke) and Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Durham, Orange). We’ll discuss the state of the budget process and key education issues being debated.
The Public School Forum is seeking nominations for education leaders to be profiled on our weekly TV show, Education Matters.
Do you have a great leader in your local school? Nominate them today! We are seeking leaders who make a difference in their school each and every day.
This includes (but is not limited to) principals, superintendents, teachers, teacher assistants, guidance counselors, parents, students, community volunteers, afterschool providers, and the list goes on!
To nominate an education leader, please fill out the form here.
This week has been all budget, all the time. Except for the few relevant bills set forth below, the week was dominated by major budget negotiations between the House and Senate leadership. Appropriations Chairs worked until midnight some/many nights this week, and they expect to work full-time through the weekend. There is a possibility that any outstanding issues not resolved by top-tier leadership be “kicked up” to Senator Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and Speaker of the House Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) on Sunday, with a potential roll-out of the final budget bill as early as next week. The problem is that Governor Cooper is expected to veto any budget, and he would have ten days to deliberate over any such decision, which means that the General Assembly would have to continue this Long Session to then override any such hypothetical veto. It might be the end of the school year for many, but it is just the beginning of a long hot month of budget drama. If the legislature holds true to its intention of passing a budget by the 4th of July, it will be a very tight time-frame this month.
As referenced above, the relevant bills for education, students and parents this week include the following:
This is a 22-page omnibus child welfare system reform bill that seeks to better protect children who are on the verge of, or within, the jurisdiction of local departments of social services. Among many reforms, it would establish a Child Well-Being Transformation Council and it would create regional social service departments. For any school professionals dealing with students in foster care or otherwise cared for by social services, this is a bill to read in its entirety. It passed the House in a smaller-scale version, and it goes to the Senate for a vote Monday night. Thus far, it has bipartisan support.
This bill overhauls the state’s educator preparation system, especially requirements for lateral entry teachers’ preparation. It is now calendared for a vote on the Senate floor Monday night. For more information, please see the article below entitled, “Bill Widening Educator Preparation Options Passes Senate Finance.”
Anyone involved with School Resource Officers or otherwise interested in new concealed carry permissions for 18-year olds should review this bill (current law only allows those 21 and above). Among a host of gun reforms, the bill would add a new education statute, 115C-81.90, that sets forth a comprehensive firearm education course as a high school elective. It was the most publicly-debated bill of the week, by far, and organized-mothers’ groups from across the state were in the House gallery for the hours-long debate on the House floor Wednesday and Thursday. The bill passed the House on Thursday (64:51) and now goes to the Senate.
The Senate received this bill from the House this week, with House having passed it 103:11 last week. It is a solid bill for public education. It sets forth a new Article 43A in the state statute, entitled, “County Sales and Use Tax for Public Education.” It gives counties additional flexibility on their local option sales and use tax, allowing the option for further revenues to be used for public school construction, teacher supplements, and community colleges. The bill next goes to the Senate Rules Committee.
Elementary Schools Struggle to Meet State’s New Class Size Rules
Wake County elementary schools are struggling to meet new state-mandated cuts in elementary school class sizes this year in advance of deeper reductions that go into effect in 2018.
State lawmakers lowered the maximum class sizes for kindergarten through third grade for the 2017-18 school year by one child to an average of 20 students for school districts and a maximum of 23 kids in individual classes. Wake elementary schools will be required to keep an average of 20 children in K-3 classes to help maintain the district’s average, resulting in schools juggling their rosters around.
Some year-round elementary schools required families to change their tracks to balance class sizes. Cathy Moore, deputy superintendent for academic advancement, said schools that exceed 23 students in a K-3 class may have to reorganize classes during the upcoming school year.
To continue reading the complete article click here.
Pre-K grad Zoe after her Pre-K graduation at Aversboro Elementary School in Garner Thursday, June 9, 2016.
Photo Credit: Harry Lynch, News & Observer
In a moment of bipartisan agreement, North Carolina lawmakers could eliminate the waiting list for free preschool in their budget negotiations this year.
That would be huge news for thousands of parents across the state. Last year, nearly 5,000 children were on a waiting list for NC Pre-K, the state-run program that prepares 4-year-olds for school.
Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican who is the vice-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said that if the House budget passes then it will create enough new classroom seats so that no children are turned down.
“The waiting list for Pre-K is over in the House budget,” he said.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Bill Widening Educator Preparation Options Passes Senate Finance
The Senate finance committee gave a favorable report to a bill that gives prospective teachers more options for entering the profession. The bill now goes to the Senate rules committee and then the Senate floor.
Senate Bill 599, which already passed the Senate education committee, gives organizations outside of colleges and universities the ability to offer educator preparation programs. It also changes the process for individuals in other professions to start teaching, historically known as “lateral entry,” to “residency licensure,” which requires some training before teaching.
The bill also establishes the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission, a governing body made up of teachers and administrators that would make recommendations about educator preparation programs to the State Board of Education. The State Board would determine what standards the programs would have to meet and whether or not they meet those standards.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
Students with Trauma: How One Middle School is Coping After Hurricane Matthew
Teachers, students, and other Edgecombe County residents all had a common refrain when asked about heavy rainfall in April that led to school being canceled for the first time since Hurricane Matthew. They were scared. They were worried that the river would rise again sweeping away the small vestiges of progress that had unfolded.
This is not a typical response to rainfall, but life has not been typical for residents of Edgecombe County since Hurricane Matthew hit last October.
I recently visited Edgecombe County to observe life post-Matthew. As we walked the hallways of local schools and caught up with people on Main Street, resident after resident described the continued circumstance of life after Matthew, including residual feelings of fear they feel to this day each time a heavy rain happens.
Matthew lashed the town with strong winds and driving rain during the storm, but the true damage came in the days that followed. The river continued to rise until it swamped the community’s defenses, many that were put in place after Hurricane Floyd devastated the area in 1999.
Pattillo Middle School in Tarboro, North Carolina was not damaged by the storm, but many students and faculty members were affected.
Edgecombe County Schools Superintendent John Farrelly spoke of the remarkable leadership of Pattillo Principal Lauren Lampron and her staff who worked tirelessly to safeguard the school while also working overtime to help area shelters, check in on students, and simply do what needed to get done — even when it required working around the clock.
Lampron deflects praise for her work, making it clear it was a team effort. The clean-up work was just beginning of the challenges brought on by Matthews. School staff must now address trauma in the students.
A Mars Hill University sign reflects in the bookstore window displaying school merchandise.
Photo Credit: Maddy Jones, Asheville Citizen-Times
The plan to lower tuition at three of North Carolina’s public universities should save families money, but it could have unintended consequences for some of the state’s small, private colleges.
The N.C. Promise program, approved by state lawmakers last year, sets in-state tuition at Western Carolina University and two other universities at $500 a semester beginning in 2018.
The program also calls for limiting tuition for out-of-state students to $2,500 a semester, although some state lawmakers have proposed doing away with that tuition break as a way to reduce the cost of the program.
“That (discounted tuition) is a very, very difficult price point for a private institution to compete against even when we are giving out a great deal of financial aid,” outgoing Warren Wilson College President Steven L. Solnick said during a recent interview. “I think every college in Western North Carolina is worried about that.”
Smaller private colleges and universities have always operated on a narrow margin, and the loss of even a few students affects the bottom line. College officials in Western North Carolina say they are concerned, but they don’t know exactly what Western’s discounted tuition will mean for them.
To continue reading the complete article click here.
Judge: School Boards Don’t Have to Pay Big Pension Boosts
A North Carolina judge is ordering the state’s pension fund to cover large pension spikes for four retired school superintendents despite a state law that was supposed to force local taxpayers to cover big, late-career pay boosts.
State Treasurer Dale Folwell said last Friday the state will appeal this week’s Wake County court ruling.
To continue reading the complete article, click here.
State Board of Education Honors STEM Schools of Distinction
The North Carolina State Board of Education yesterday recognized three public schools for exemplary leadership and instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. These schools are the latest to be recognized under the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s (NCDPI) STEM Recognition Program.
STEM Schools of Distinction for the 2016-17 school year are:
Hilburn Academy, Wake County Schools, Model Level of Achievement;
Weatherstone Elementary, Wake County Schools, Model Level of Achievement; and
Hendersonville Elementary, Henderson County Schools, Prepared Level of Achievement.
The STEM Recognition Program was developed by NCDPI in partnership with representatives from schools, business and industry, and postsecondary institutions as a way to identify and recognize exemplary STEM schools and STEM programs. The application process rubric is built around NCDPI’s STEM Attributes, which describe characteristics of a high quality STEM school.
In addition to being honored by the State Board of Education, the schools will be recognized on the Department’s STEM web page and the NC STEM Center portal. Schools also will receive a specially designed STEM School of Distinction banner provided by the NC Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center.
For more information on the NCDPI STEM Recognition Program, please visit NCDPI’s STEM web page.
NCDPI. “State Board of Education Honors STEM Schools of Distinction.” 6/2/17.
In States’ Private-School Vouchers, Few Safeguards Against Discrimination
The answer is complicated—and less than reassuring to those concerned about the rights of students of color, LGBT students, and children with disabilities.
And it’s a question supercharged now by the Trump administration’s strong advocacy for expanding school choice and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ opaque stance on the issue, especially in recent testimony before members of Congress.
DeVos did not name an instance of discrimination that would rule out a private school from participating. But she did stress that her agency would investigate any alleged civil rights violations in schools.
Federal anti-discrimination laws include protections for race, color, and national origin under Title VI, for those with disabilities under provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and for gender under Title IX, among others.
To continue reading the complete article click here.
Senators Hammer at DeVos on Planned Budget Cuts, Proposed Vouchers
Senators had a clear message for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a budget hearing: Don’t get too attached to your budget proposal.
Republican and Democratic senators on the Senate education appropriations subcommittee expressed skepticism about cuts and eliminated programs in the budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education. And Democrats sparred with DeVos over how the spending blueprint for fiscal 2018 handles Title I spending on disadvantaged students, and how a voucher proposal would handle issues of discrimination.
“This is a difficult budget request to defend,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the subcommittee chairman, told DeVos. And he said the elimination of formula-funded programs like the $2 billion Title II program for teacher training, and the $1 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers program that funds after-school, will be “all but impossible” to get through Congress.
The secretary also addressed the civil rights controversy raised last month by the department’s $250 million proposal to fund and study the impact of vouchers. Last month before the House education spending committee, DeVos emphasized state and parent prerogatives with respect to voucher programs’ legal obligations. On Wednesday, DeVos pledged that any private schools that would participate in the initiative would have to follow federal law governing special education. “Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law, period,” DeVos said repeatedly.
To continue reading the complete article click here.
Applications Open for 2017-18 NC Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)
The Public School Forum is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 cohort of the North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).
The Public School Forum has led the North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program since 1992, and it has continued to be the only statewide program of its kind that focuses on leadership and professional development in the context of education policy. Each new class continues the trend of high caliber participants and is rich in its members’ range of experiences, both professionally and personally. Fellows come from public schools, higher education, community colleges, state agencies, and a diverse array of education organizations across North Carolina. Each class includes a cohort of Fellows who focus on education policy issues and the wide range of factors that influence education in North Carolina. The program is designed for Fellows to learn about issues and perspectives in education that they don’t always encounter in their daily work so that they can be more informed, rounded contributors to the critical education debates that shape the quality and focus of schools. Fellows increase their awareness of how public policy is made, learn whom the key players are in the formation of this policy, and become more confident and involved in the policy-making process. Leadership development is a key focus of the Education Policy Fellowship Program.
NC Science and Engineering Fair Teacher Workshop Opportunities
Want to learn how to inspire your students to conduct independent research? Interested in learning how to assist students in topic selection, time management, and presentation of science and engineering research projects? Planning your school’s science and engineering research competition? New to the process or looking for a more organized approach?
Plan to attend a NC Science & Engineering Fair Workshop
for the 2017-2018 Academic Year!
Workshops will be offered at the locations below. All workshops run from 9:00am to 3:30pm and include coffee, snacks and lunch.
July 19 – NC Center for Engineering Technology, Hickory
July 27 – Biogen, Research Triangle Park
July 28 – Triad Math and Science Academy, Greensboro
There is a $15 registration fee but all attendees will receive a $65 stipend for participation and 0.5 CEU for completion of the workshop.
ONLY Teachers & Administrators in grades 3 – 12 are eligible to participate. Participants will be asked to implement a science and engineering fair for your class, grade-level or school during the 2017-2018 academic year andcomplete a survey spring 2018.
The following topics will be discussed during the workshop
Learn how to foster and guide scientific and engineering research in the classroom.
Learn how to initiate, manage, and evaluate student science and engineering research projects.
You will be guided through the steps in planning a school or district science & engineering fair.
Workshops are sponsored by the Biogen Foundation.
NCSSM Summer Accelerator Courses Available
The NC School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) is bringing faculty and programming to Brevard College’s campus for one week this summer. The courses below will take place on the campus of Brevard College in the western NC town of Brevard, NC.
Early Accelerator | rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders | June 25 to 30, 2017
Eastern NC Educators Invited to Attend Free Teacher Leadership Symposium
The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is pleased to announce its inaugural North Carolina Teacher Leadership Symposium on Tuesday, Aug. 1 in Greenville. As Lead Champion, the Biogen Foundation has made it possible for the Kenan Fellows Program to provide this Symposium at no cost to attendees. The event includes a plated lunch, a networking reception, concurrent professional development sessions, and keynote speakers.
This one-day immersive event will feature concurrent sessions on project-based learning, technology integration, interdisciplinary instruction, building leadership capacity, inquiry-based instruction, developing successful grant proposals, and more!
Educators in the Kenan Fellows Alumni Network will lead the one-day Symposium. These talented Fellows have developed expertise across a wide variety of innovative and effective educational practices that are particularly pertinent to teachers who seek to grow professionally and have a powerful impact in and beyond the classroom.
Registration is open to K-12 educators from 27 Eastern North Carolina school districts:
Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Pitt, Tyrrell, Washington, and Wilson.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Friday Report is published weekly by the Public School Forum of NC and is distributed to Forum members, policymakers, donors, media, and Forum subscribers. Archived editions can be found at www.ncforum.org.