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The Friday Report

January 18, 2019

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Forum News

Education Matters: Freshman Year

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When the new NC General Assembly was sworn in last week, about 1/4 of the 50-member Senate were new faces. On the House side, 26 brand new members joined, about 20 percent of the 120-member chamber. That group included 17 Democrats who helped end the Republican’s supermajority, but a legislature where the GOP remains firmly in the majority. This week we’re joined by four of those Freshmen, 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans, to discuss their views on education and their goals for the new session.

Guests:

  • Rep. Julie von Haefen (D) Wake (pictured above, left)
  • Rep. Rachel Hunt (D) Mecklenburg (pictured above, right)
  • Sen. Jim Burgin (R) Harnett, Johnston, Lee (pictured below, left)
  • Rep. Chris Humphrey (R) Lenoir, Pitt (pictured below, right)
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When and Where to Watch Education Matters

Saturday at 7:30 PM, WRAL-TV (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

Sunday at 8:00 AM, FOX 50 (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

Sunday at 6:30 AM and Wednesday at 9:30 AM, UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel (Statewide)

The North Carolina Channel can be found on Time Warner Cable/Spectrum Channel 1276 or check your local listings and other providers here.

Online at www.ncforum.org.

Education Matters is also available as a podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Overcast, and Google Play Music.

Ashley Kazouh Joins Public School Forum of NC as Policy Analyst

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The Forum is excited to welcome our newest Policy Analyst, Ashley Kazouh. As a Policy Analyst, Ashley supports the policy team by monitoring, documenting, and providing analysis of current education policy issues in North Carolina.

Prior to joining the Forum, Ashley earned a B.A. in Psychology from Wake Forest University. After college, she gained a passion for education and racial equity through influential experiences such as facilitating social justice workshops for students as an Americorps member in Memphis, TN and collaborating with community members to promote the academic, socio-emotional and behavioral well-being of students as a Program Coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Ashley is completing dual masters’ degrees in Social Work and Public Administration at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she has gained a multitude of research experience. Her interests are largely focused around the intersection of racial equity, education policy, and nonprofit leadership. Ashley grew up in High Point, North Carolina.

2019 Eggs & Issues Breakfast

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We can’t wait to see so many of you on Wednesday, but if you can’t be there, look for the Top 10 Education Issues 2019 publication release on our website next Wednesday, the panel discussion on Education Matters next weekend and the full event video soon.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Time: 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM

Location: Marbles Kids Museum

201 East Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC

Sponsorship info available here

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State News

Testing in NC Schools Could Get Less Stressful. Changes in Exam Rules Are Coming.

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Mark Johnson, North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction comments on the annual release of the school performance grades during a press conference at the State Education Building on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 in Raleigh, N.C. Photo Credit: Robert Willett, The News & Observer.

Some of North Carolina’s high-stakes standardized student tests are about to get shorter, and schools may not have to scramble looking for people to proctor the exams anymore.

State Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson has announced several changes that the state Department of Public Instruction will make for testing this school year that he says should reduce the amount of stress on students and teachers. Changes include state exams with fewer questions, allowing students to leave the exams sooner and easing rules requiring exam proctors.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. and Doss Helms, A. “‘Testing in NC schools could get less stressful. Changes in exam rules are coming.” The News & Observer. 1/16/19.

State Superintendent Calls for Fewer Standardized Tests

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Photo Credit: Ben Mullins, Unsplash.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson has announced plans to reduce standardized testing in public schools.

Proponents of more standardized testing believe it enforces accountability for students and teachers while creating standards to track performance; however, detractors believe it encourages teachers to create lesson plans geared towards exams while discouraging students from pursuing subjects they won’t be tested on.

“If Mandarin Chinese is not going to be on the standardized test at the end of the year, do those kinds of classes that are really important for a great world-class education, are they dropped in favor of check-in-the-boxes?” asked Keith Poston, the parent of a public school graduate and the President and Executive Director of the Raleigh-based non-profit Public School Forum of North Carolina.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Perchick, M. “State Superintendent calls for fewer standardized tests.” ABC 11. 1/16/19.

Governor’s Leandro Commission Looks at North Carolina’s School Support Personnel

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Lynn Makor, DPI’s school psychology consultant, shares how support personnel work in teams to support the health of students. Photo Credit: Liz Bell, EducationNC.

Student success has to do with more than academic instruction and performance. School support personnel provide much-needed services to address other factors of the “whole child” — physical, social, and behavioral health and wellbeing.

Yet in schools across North Carolina, these “specialized instructional support personnel” (SISP) are stretched thin. In presentations from school nurses, psychologists, social workers, and counselors, the Governor’s Access to Sound Basic Education heard Thursday of the barriers facing SISPs’ work.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bell, L. “Governor’s Leandro commission looks at North Carolina’s school support personnel.” EducationNC. 1/18/19.

Governor Cooper Visits Charlotte, Announces Bond Proposal

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Photo Credit: WCNC.

Governor Roy Cooper was in the Queen City Tuesday, making a big announcement for education.

While meeting with students and staff at Parkside Elementary School in north Charlotte, the governor announced he is re-proposing a $2 billion new school construction bond.

Governor Cooper says he first proposed the bond last year, but says it was squashed by members of the General Assembly. With a new assembly now in place, and his veto power back, the governor is hoping to finally get it passed.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Daley, A. “Governor Cooper visits Charlotte, announces bond proposal.” WCNC. 1/15/19.

Business Leaders Say NC Must Do More to Provide Pre-K to Those Kids Who Most Need It

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Prominent North Carolina CEOs gathered for a press conference to discuss the importance of increasing participation in NC Pre-K to 75 percent of eligible children, at Millbrook Elementary School in Raleigh on Thursday, Jan. 17. Photo Credit: Casey Toth, The News & Observer.

Prominent North Carolina business leaders are calling on state leaders to sharply increase pre-kindergarten enrollment by more than 15,000 children so that 75 percent of the eligible children are served.

NC Pre-K, the state’s program for at-risk 4-year-olds, serves 29,509 children. But business leaders say another 32,728 children who meet the program’s requirements aren’t being served. At a news conference Thursday at Millbrook Elementary School in Raleigh, business leaders said the state needs to change the way NC Pre-K is funded to ensure more children are served.

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Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “Business leaders say NC must do more to provide Pre-K to those kids who most need it.” The News & Observer. 1/17/19.

Rowan-Salisbury Assesses Way Forward on Renewal

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Lynn Moody, school superintendent, presents a 12-point plan to identify renewal paths for schools. Photo Credit: Maggie Blackwell, EducationNC.

The Rowan-Salisbury School Board met on Monday and key among their agenda items was a presentation by School Superintendent Lynn Moody on the Renewal implementation process.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools was approved as a Renewal District by the General Assembly in 2018 for a five-year term, effective immediately upon approval. Renewal status gives the system charter-like flexibility to meet the needs of each school’s population in distinct fashions, while still meeting core state requirements, such as student absenteeism, annual state testing requirements and outcomes, and teacher and administrator turnover. While the system does not receive additional funding in Renewal status, it does have more lenience in how to utilize its existing funding.

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Excerpt from:

Blackwell, M. “Rowan-Salisbury assesses way forward on Renewal.” EducationNC. 1/16/19.

Federal Shutdown Prompts Changes to Vance School District Lunch Program

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Photo Credit: WRAL.

Vance County Schools will start serving “minimum-level” lunches next week because of the partial government shutdown, district officials have announced.

Starting Monday, Vance schools will offer one main dish, bread, two vegetables and milk. The county’s public schools will not offer fresh produce except at elementary schools, where produce will be offered twice a week, according to the district’s plan.

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Excerpt from:

Krueger, S. “Federal shutdown prompts changes to Vance school district lunch program.” WRAL. 1/16/19.

Education, Health Care Are Main Goals of Russell, Ballard Going into 2019

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N.C. Rep. Ray Russell (D-Boone), left, and N.C. Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Blowing Rock), right. Photo Credit: File photo, Watauga Democrat.

As one of the freshman representatives in the North Carolina General Assembly, Ray Russell has been trying to familiarize himself with the ins and outs of legislative offices in downtown Raleigh.

From moving into his new office, to participating in workshops and meeting some of his fellow elected officials, Russell has been gearing up for two years of law making.

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Excerpt from:

Sherrill, T. “Education, health care are main goals of Russell, Ballard going into 2019.” Watauga Democrat. 1/16/19.

Governor Cooper Addresses the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee

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Gov. Cooper talks legislative priorities with his teacher advisory committee. Photo Credit: Rupen Fofaria, EducationNC.

Governor Roy Cooper met with the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee yesterday to talk about some of his priorities ahead of the 2019-2020 legislative long session. In its second year after he established the committee with Executive Order No. 16 in August 2017, the committee continues to serve as his eyes and ears in the classrooms and advises him on education issues.

The committee meets quarterly, and independently in smaller breakout committees, as they finalize strategic plans to present to Gov. Cooper.

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Excerpt from:

Fofaria, R. “Governor Cooper addresses the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee.” EducationNC. 1/15/19.

Guilford County System Tries New Approach to Help Students at Struggling Schools

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Marissa McOmber teaches her seventh-grade class at Hairston Middle. Photo Credit: Khadejeh Nikouyeh, News & Record.

After 10 years teaching English at Dudley High School, Ashley Ekwem-Thorpe had plenty of “Panther” pride, but also a desire for a new adventure.

So this school year she applied for a new position advertised at Hairston Middle School, a feeder school to Dudley.

As a multi-classroom leader working with nine English teachers, Ekwem-Thorpe is part of a new experiment for Guilford County Schools — one that rearranges some school staffing roles in an attempt to boost student achievement.

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Excerpt from:

Pounds, J. “Guilford County system tries new approach to help students at struggling schools.” News & Record. 1/14/19.

National News

How the Shutdown Is Starting to Impact Schools

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Photo Credit: AP.

More than three weeks into what’s now the longest federal government shutdown in history, school district officials are making plans to cope with the impacts on students, families, and their own operations should it drag on.

The current closure is different from earlier shutdowns because the agencies from which school districts receive critical federal dollars—chiefly the department of education—are funded during the partial shutdown.

But there is still a lot at stake for school districts if the shutdown persists for months—as President Trump had threatened during a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders earlier this month.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Superville, D. “How the Shutdown Is Starting to Impact Schools.” Education Week. 1/13/19.

Is It Time to Kill Annual Testing?

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Image Credit: Daryn Ray, Education Week.

Editor’s Note: Associate Editor Stephen Sawchuk covers curriculum and instruction. This analysis is part of a special report exploring pressing trends in education. Read the full report: 10 Big Ideas in Education.

Ask anyone from a school accountability expert to a parent of a school-age child, and you will get near universal agreement that we have a dysfunctional standardized-testing system in the United States.

Educators do not like the annual statewide tests: They inform school penalties, not learning, because the results come so late in the school year. They fail to match any specific curriculum, and generally don’t deeply measure students’ analytical capabilities or the dispositions employers and colleges value.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Sawchuk, S. “Is It Time to Kill Annual Testing?” Education Week. 1/8/19.

Opportunities

Webinar: What to Do in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster to Support Families and Reduce Trauma

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Our NC Resilience & Learning Project is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, January 22nd at 4 pm for all school staff on what to do in the aftermath of a natural disaster to support families and reduce trauma. With hurricanes and floods often hitting our coastline and other natural disasters that can occur across the state that impact our schools and families, we know this is an important topic for school staff.

Please join us live on Tuesday using the following link: https://zoom.us/j/894881529.

A recording of the webinar will be available online at https://www.ncforum.org/north-carolina-resilience-and-learning-project/.

Synergy Conference 2019

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The Synergy Conference 2019 for afterschool professionals will convene April 24-25, 2019 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, NC. This year’s conference is themed “DOING THE M.O.S.T.: MAXIMIZING OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME”. The conference timeline can be viewed here.

Early Registration and the Request for Proposals (RFPs) for workshop presenters and vendors are now open. We are excited to announce that Mentoring has been added as a new workshop strand. Workshop strands include Arts & Literacy, Closing Gaps, College & Career Readiness, Mentoring, Organizational Capacity, Public/Private Partnerships, S.T.E.M., and Youth Development.

You can register here by February 10th for the discounted rate of $200. Regular registration will begin on February 11th at the regular rate of $225. To learn more or submit proposals, please visit: ncafterschool.org/synergyconference2019/

NC CAP’s POWER UP Program

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Youth who regularly participate in high-quality programs develop strong social skills, are excited about learning, improve work habits and grades, improve school day attendance, have higher graduation rates, explore career paths and gain workforce skills. However, the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) recognizes that many factors have the potential to serve as barriers or challenges for programs serving youth, especially those in rural communities. The purpose of the POWER UP Program and mini-grants is to provide programs in pre-determined rural counties with resources and on-going technical support over the course of two years to build program capacity.

Interested programs must currently serve youth afterschool, before school or during the summer months in one of the following counties:

Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Caswell, Columbus, Duplin, Edgecombe, Halifax, Hertford, Lenoir, McDowell, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Person, Richmond, Robeson, Rockingham, Scotland, Tyrrell, Vance, Warren, Washington or Wilson.

To learn more about this program, please visit: https://ncafterschool.org/power-up-program.

Applications for NC CAP’s POWER UP Program are due by January 14th and can be submitted here.

Call for 2019-20 Kenan Fellowship Applications

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Applications for 2019-20 Kenan fellowships will be accepted through Jan. 21, 2019. These fellowships address the critical need to develop and empower high-quality teachers who can drive innovations that make learning more authentic and engaging for students.

The fellowship begins with a summer internship in a higher education laboratory or local industry setting and is supported by 80 hours of professional development that focuses on instructional leadership, elevating teacher voice, strengthening ties between the school and the local community, peer coaching and mentoring, and growing professional learning networks that extend beyond the school and local district.

Fellowship projects have a unique set of criteria that in some cases is restricted by district, grade level, and subject. Projects vary from scientific research to work experiences in the agriculture, energy and high-tech manufacturing industries. Each Fellow is awarded at least a $5,000 stipend and must develop and implement relevant educational materials and/or programs based on their internship experience. Fellows remain in the classroom while completing the year-long fellowship.

Applicants must submit an essay detailing their desire to have influence beyond the classroom and two letters of recommendation. Final candidates are invited for an in-person interview to be conducted in their local area. Fellowships are based on funding and awarded each spring.

Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] should you have questions.

FAST NC Fundraising Drive to Aid Public Schools

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A historic storm has devastated parts of North Carolina. In response, a historic, bipartisan coalition of current and former state education leaders presented their effort to aid schools to the State Board of Education, promoting Florence Aid to Students and Teachers (FAST NC) as a drive to help North Carolina’s public schools as students and educators struggle to return to normal.

Hurricane Florence caused at least 1.2 million, or about 80 percent, of North Carolina’s public school students to miss some school. Many school buildings are damaged, and several school districts are still closed due to displacement, flooding and storm-related disruptions. Now, FAST NC has brought together an illustrious steering committee for the effort to help schools recover.

To learn more about FAST NC and how to donate, click here.

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.

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