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The Friday Report

March 10, 2017

State News

Bill Would Create New Teaching Fellows Program with STEM Focus

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After ending a previous teacher scholarship program, state lawmakers on Thursday proposed a new version that would provide forgivable loans for new teachers who agree to teach in North Carolina in certain subjects — science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as special education.

The proposal for a new N.C. Teaching Fellows Program was announced Thursday at N.C. State University by Sen. Chad Barefoot, a Republican representing Wake and Franklin counties, and Rep. Craig Horn, a Republican from Union County. They were flanked by other lawmakers and education leaders.

The proposed legislation would cost the state $6 million for about 160 teachers per year. Those chosen by a commission would receive a forgivable loan up to $8,250 a year. Teachers who receive the loan would have 10 years to repay it, but it would be forgiven if they teach two years in a North Carolina school for each year of the loan. Their loans would be forgiven faster – at the rate of one year per year of the loan – if they teach in a low-performing school.

The program’s goal is to draw teachers into high-need fields and steer them to hard-to-staff schools.

“Today we ring the bell for the teachers,” Horn said. “C’mon. We need you, we want you and we value you.”

The proposal comes at a time when enrollment in teacher education programs has dropped precipitously here and across the nation. In North Carolina, enrollment in UNC system teacher preparation programs fell by 30 percent between 2010 and 2016.

Around the same time, the state’s incentives to future teachers ended. In 2011, after Republicans gained control of the legislature, it voted to phase out the previous teaching fellows program, which had been highly regarded. The final class of nearly 500 teaching fellows graduated in 2015.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

To view a video of yesterday’s press conference, visit the EducationNC article here.

Excerpt from:

Stancill, J. “Bill would create new Teaching Fellows program with STEM focus.” News & Observer. 3/9/17.

Forum News

This Weekend on Education Matters: Newsmakers & Newsbreakers

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This week’s episode of Education Matters features newsmakers & newsbreakers.

State Budget Director Charlie Perusse talks about Gov. Roy Cooper’s first budget and its focus on education investments in the first half of the show, followed by a discussion with key reporters who cover the ins and outs of education in North Carolina.

Guests Include:

  • Charlie Perusse, State Budget Director, NC Office of State Budget & Management
  • Lynn Bonner, News & Observer
  • Mark Binker, WRAL News

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When and Where to Watch Education Matters

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

Sundays at 6:30 AM and Mondays at 3:00 PM, UNC-TV’s NC Channel (Statewide)

Online at https://www.ncforum.org/

Note: The North Carolina Channel can be found on Time Warner Cable Channel 1276 or check local listing and other providers here.

If you missed last week’s episode on preparing the next generation of school leaders, you can watch it online at https://www.ncforum.org/education-matters-preparing-the-next-generation-of-school-leaders/

In This Issue

Bill Would Create New Teaching Fellows Program with STEM Focus

This Weekend on Education Matters: Newsmakers & Newsbreakers

NC Legislative Update

Superintendents Would Decide Principal Raises, Poorer Counties Would Get Construction Money Under NC Senate Bill

Cooper Introduces Teacher Salary Schedule at Middle School Educator Conference

First Review of NC’s School Voucher Program: Accountability Measures “Among Weakest in Country”

‘How Do We Create 400 Classrooms?’ NC Schools Say Class Size Cap Will Cause Scramble For Space

Senators Move to Close Teacher Bonus Loophole

U.S. Senate Votes to Block Obama Teacher Preparation Rules

Federal Budget Knife Could Slash Into K-12 Programs

U.S. Supreme Court Returns Transgender Student’s Case to Appeals Court

Trauma & Learning Fellow

Manager, NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP)

NC CAP Annual SYNERGY Conference

Step Up to STEM

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Student Science Enrichment Program

Position Opening for Program Director of the Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (MEITE) at UNC-CH

Journal for Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership Submissions

Public School Forum Programs

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State News

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This week, at Tuesday’s Joint Education Appropriations Committee, both fiscal staff from the General Assembly and budget staff from the respective education agencies (DPI, Community Colleges and UNC System), reviewed the Governor’s proposed education budget provisions. This particular Committee has the primary responsibility for putting the “building blocks” of the state’s education budget together; therefore, reviewing the Governor’s proposal is its starting point. When considering the major education announcements by legislators on Thursday, the General Assembly has positioned itself on its education platform just in time for Monday night at 7:00 p.m. – the Governor’s State of the State Address. Resolution 2017-2 became final this week and officially invites the Governor to address a joint session of the General Assembly on the House floor Monday night, March 13. That will be education news worth watching.

Next week, at Tuesday’s Joint Education Appropriations Committee, the State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA) is slated to review the state-funded scholarships it administers, including the Special Education Scholarships and the Opportunity Scholarships, among others. After this week’s announcement on the anticipated $6 million Teaching Fellows Program and the SEAA’s administration of the loan portion of the program, should the legislation become law, next week’s SEAA presentation (and legislators’ questions) will be one to watch, especially for those who have long-awaited the reinstatement of the NC Teaching Fellows Program.

Superintendents Would Decide Principal Raises, Poorer Counties Would Get Construction Money Under NC Senate Bill

Lottery proceeds would be set aside for school construction and principal raises under a proposal state Senate budget and finance leaders announced Thursday.

The bill proposes to change the way school principals are paid, part of an intricate new compensation system. Principal salary schedules would be eliminated, and pay decisions would be in the hands of superintendents. No principal would get a pay cut, but their bosses would decide on their raises.

The bill proposes setting aside $75 million for 80 counties to use for school building construction and repair. The counties eligible for the money are in the bottom two tiers of the three-tier state system that measures economic distress. The county designations change each year.

The poorest counties would have to give a dollar of their own money for every $2 from the building fund. Counties in the middle tier would provide a dollar-for-dollar match. No county would get more than $10 million a year, and no more than $100 million would come out of the fund each year.

Many schools in poor counties are old and falling apart, the senators said. The counties cannot afford to raise money on their own to fix them, and their condition hurts business recruitment, they said.

“They are in desperate need for repair and replacement,” said Sen. Harry Brown, a Jacksonville Republican and budget writer. “That’s the main piece of this, to try to help these counties.” A portion of lottery revenue is already set aside for school construction in all counties, but Brown said the rural counties don’t get much of it.

The bill would put in a place a vastly changed plan for paying school leaders. Under the proposal, the state would add $13.7 million to a pot to pay principal salaries, the equivalent of 7 percent raises. Lump sums would be handed to the districts, with the superintendents deciding how much to give each principal.

All principals would receive $2,600 bonuses. In addition, principals in low-wealth counties would be eligible for up to $5,000 in bonus money, earned in $1,000 increments and based on five criteria such as exhibiting strong leadership and leading a school where student academic growth exceeded expectations.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bonner, L. “Superintendents would decide principal raises, poorer counties would get construction money under NC Senate bill.” The News & Observer. 3/9/17.

Cooper Introduces Teacher Salary Schedule at Middle School Educator Conference

Governor Roy Cooper released his teacher salary schedule Tuesday, outlining the details of his plan to raise teacher pay by five percent over each of the next two years.

Cooper briefly mentioned the schedule during a speech he gave to attendees of the North Carolina Middle School Conference in Greensboro (video below). He emphasized that teachers with every level of experience would see raises under his proposal which he said is unlike the legislature’s teacher pay plans in recent years.

“One thing I know is that there have been some efforts to increase pay of starting teachers over the last few years, but veteran teachers often have been excluded,” Cooper said. “And it is important that we value all of our teachers and that we work to attract and retain the best.”

The raises range from three to almost eight percent — averaging out at five percent for the next two years. The highest pay increases would go to teachers who are not just starting but have between about nine to 19 years of experience; the combined raise for those teachers would be more than 10 percent. The highest raise would go to teachers with 14 years of experience, with a 5.2 percent increase in 2017-18 and a 7.7 percent increase in 2018-19.

The scale stops at a 38th salary step for teachers who have taught for 37 or more years. Those teachers would receive a 5.3 percent increase in 2017-18 and a 3.4 percent increase in 2018-19.

The most experienced teachers would still be paid the most, with teachers with 37 or more years of experience making $53,700 in 2017-18 and $55,550 in 2018-19 — compared to their current salary of $51,000.

The governor’s budget proposal is a guide to his priorities and will likely differ from what ultimately takes effect at the end of the session. The legislature will determine the final version. The Senate will be next to release its budget proposal, then the House.

Cooper said he expects to find common ground with the Republican-dominated General Assembly on some aspects of his proposal. For one, Cooper said he knows raising teacher pay is important to legislative leaders.

“I think the Republican leadership in the legislature has clearly staked out that they want to raise teacher salaries,” he said. “I think that that is important, and I’m glad of that. I’m hoping that we can find a way to reach agreement.”

First Review of NC’s School Voucher Program: Accountability Measures “Among Weakest in Country”

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A researcher from Duke University’s Children’s Law Clinic reviewed the first three years of North Carolina’s new school voucher program and found that the program’s accountability measures are among the weakest in the country.

“The schools need not be accredited, adhere to state curricular or graduation standards, employ licensed teachers, or administer state End-of-Grade tests,” according to the report “School Vouchers in North Carolina: The First Three Years.”

Other key findings, as stated in the report’s executive summary:

  • Based on limited and early data, more than half the students using vouchers are performing below average on nationally-standardized reading, language, and math tests. In contrast, similar public school students in NC are scoring above the national average.
  • Approximately 93% of the vouchers have been used to pay tuition at religious schools.
  • The North Carolina voucher program is well designed to promote parental choice, especially for parents who prefer religious education for their children. It is poorly designed, however, to promote better academic outcomes for children and is unlikely to do so.

The report provides a comprehensive look at the mechanics and history of the young school voucher program, which lawmakers enacted in 2013 to ostensibly provide families greater access to more educational choices outside of the traditional public school arena.

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The school voucher program has been assailed for failing to implement guardrails against waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars as well as failing to adopt basic curricular standards that ensure students are accessing high quality educational opportunities.

The Duke research, authored by the Children’s Law Clinic director and education researcher Jane Wettach, comes on the heels of a spate of national reports that conclude that school vouchers don’t boost students’ academic outcomes—and may even harm students. [For more on that, click here and here.]

Download Wettach’s report on North Carolina’s school voucher program here

‘How Do We Create 400 Classrooms?’ NC Schools Say Class Size Cap Will Cause Scramble For Space

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School systems across North Carolina say they will have to scramble to create hundreds of extra classrooms if a state requirement to reduce class sizes in grades K-3 takes effect next school year.

Where space is limited, some classes could be forced to meet in cafeterias or gyms, on school stages with the curtains pulled, or in teachers’ lounges. Schools could also add on to their buildings or truck in mobile classrooms, but with a tight timeframe and limited state funds to help with school construction costs, school leaders say those may not be viable options before next school year.

In Wake County, school leaders estimate they would have to hire another 460 teachers and create 400 new classrooms, totaling $320 million in personnel, capital, and operating expenses.

“How do we create 400 classrooms between now and Aug. 20? I don’t know how we do that,” said Bill Fletcher, a member of the Wake County Board of Education and chair of the facilities committee. “It takes a year to do mobile classrooms. It’s not an easy thing to do to add a mobile classroom.”

The Wake County Public School System has the greatest need in the state for school construction, according to the 2015-16 Statewide Facility Needs Survey. The report also found that public elementary schools in North Carolina are the grades most in need of classroom additions.

Seventy miles east in Greene County, school leaders say they are facing a similar dilemma. Two of their schools will be affected if class sizes are reduced. Superintendent Patrick Miller said he does not know how much it would cost to add more classrooms, but he estimates it would be somewhere between $800,000 and $1 million.

“We are one of the poorest counties in the state, according to any metric you look at,” Miller said.

Greene County is one of the least affluent districts in the state when it comes to local finances, according to a 2016 local school finance study by the Public School Forum of North Carolina. The study shows Greene County is in the bottom quartile of all districts — third from last for adjusted property values per student.

While the space issues faced by rural districts like Greene County might not be as great as those in metropolitan areas like Wake County, rural schools often have fewer resources to create facilities.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Granados, A. and Hinchcliffe, K. “‘How do we create 400 classrooms?’ NC schools say class size cap will cause scramble for space.” EducationNC. 3/7/17.

Senators Move to Close Teacher Bonus Loophole

A Senate committee on Tuesday began to close a loophole that could keep many teachers from receiving bonuses.

The state’s 2016 budget included a two-year pilot program that gives third-grade, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate teachers bonuses if they meet certain student achievement targets and continue teaching at the same school and grade at which they previously taught.

In several cases, some teachers met those achievement targets but were reassigned to different grades or out of AP/IB classes, technically disqualifying them from the bonus.

“In the legislation that was [originally] passed, we found that teachers that were able to qualify for a bonus really, on no part of their own, were transferred or reassigned … then they wouldn’t receive their bonus,” Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford, said.

Kim Leake, principal of Peck Elementary School in Greensboro, said she moved a teacher from a third- to a fourth-grade class and then later found out that move cost the teacher her bonus. “This year, she’s doing an outstanding job again, but she deserves that bonus. It was not that she asked to move. It was that I had to move her,” Leake told lawmakers.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Nunn, S. “Senators move to close teacher bonus loophole.” WRAL. 3/7/17.

National News

U.S. Senate Votes to Block Obama Teacher Preparation Rules

The U.S. Senate voted 59 to 40 on Wednesday to overturn regulations governing teacher-preparation programs that were approved by the Obama administration late last year.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., introduced the measure blocking the rules late last week. Senate Joint Resolution 26 had nine other Republican co-sponsors, including Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate education committee. The House also voted last month to block the rules, approving a resolution introduced by Kentucky Republican Rep. Brett Guthrie, and President Donald Trump is widely expected to back the move.

“This regulation actually makes the assumption that bureaucrats in Washington are competent to micromanage teacher-training programs in America. That’s what this regulation ultimately does, and it’s absurd,” Sasse said on the Senate floor before the vote.

However, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the education committee, said the rules would ensure that prospective teachers have more and better information about teacher-training programs. She also said the rules would protect teacher preparation from the as-yet unknown approach that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would take. (Murray led the opposition to DeVos in the Senate before DeVos was confirmed.)

“It helps to improve teacher-preparation program accountability,” Murray said on the floor about the rules.

The Education Department finalized the rules after a lengthy process, and changed how colleges and universities must judge the effectiveness of their programs that prepare teachers for classrooms. Among other things, these rules would require programs to include data on how many of their graduates get jobs in high-needs schools, how long their graduates stay in the teaching profession, and their impact on student-learning outcomes.

Federal Budget Knife Could Slash Into K-12 Programs

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President Donald Trump walks on stage upon his arrival aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford on March 2 in Newport, Va. Trump’s plan to boost defense spending by $54 billion and make corresponding domestic cuts may put a new squeeze on U.S. Department of Education funding. Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press.

President Donald Trump’s push to drastically reduce domestic spending as a way to boost defense spending could have a significant impact on programs at the U.S. Department of Education, where the biggest streams of funding go toward low-income students and those with special needs. But its precise effect on overall federal K-12 aid remains unclear, as do the prospects for Trump’s budget plan in Congress.

Early last week, Trump announced a proposal to increase defense-related spending by $54 billion in fiscal 2018, which begins in October, and to cut non-defense discretionary spending by a corresponding figure. That amounts to a 10 percent across-the-board cut for domestic agencies like the Education Department. The Trump administration is expected to release more details about its spending priorities later this month, but it’s not certain how the cuts in discretionary spending would affect each agency.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the chairman of the House subcommittee that appropriates money for the Education Department, last week referenced the possibility of $18 billion to $20 billion in cuts to the portion of the budget that funds the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. “There’s no part of this budget that can escape unscathed” if the cuts are on that scale, Cole said in a subcommittee hearing.

But Congress may be unwilling to go along with Trump’s budget plan and make that deep a cut to domestic spending to fund defense-related activities. Among other things, passing Trump’s budget would require lawmakers to alter or toss out the Budget Control Act of 2011, which sets caps on federal discretionary spending.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Ujifusa, A. “Federal Budget Knife Could Slash Into K-12 Programs.” Education Week. 3/7/17.

U.S. Supreme Court Returns Transgender Student’s Case to Appeals Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday returned the major case on transgender rights in schools to a lower court for fresh consideration of the Trump administration’s withdrawal of Obama-era guidance that federal anti-discrimination law protected gender identity.

In a one-sentence order without recorded dissent in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. (Case No. 16-273), the justices vacated the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in Richmond, Va., that had deferred to the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX.

The action is a defeat in the short term for Gavin Grimm, the female-born student who now identifies as male, who was barred by a Gloucester County, Va., school district policy from using the restroom that aligns with his gender identity. “It’s disappointing,” Grimm said in a conference call with reporters. “It’s going to keep trans kids in school, and those just coming into school, in limbo for an extended period of time.”

The court’s action also means the justices won’t be resolving in the near term a debate over transgender rights that has roiled the nation’s schools. But the issue could return to the high court within a year or two as other cases address whether Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars gender discrimination in federally funded schools, may be interpreted today to cover gender identity.

After the Trump administration last month withdrew the Obama-era guidance on transgender rights, both parties urged the court to proceed with the case and decide the underlying question of whether Title IX covers gender identity, although the school board urged a delay to allow the Trump administration to fully formulate its position and express its views in the case.

The court opted instead to send the case back to the 4th Circuit.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Walsh, M. “U.S. Supreme Court Returns Transgender Student’s Case to Appeals Court.” Education Week. 3/6/17.

Public School Forum Job Opportunities

Trauma & Learning Fellow

The Forum recently began an intensive effort to support educators as they help students traumatized by exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) succeed in school.

To achieve its goals in this area, and to help launch the North Carolina Safe & Supportive Schools Initiative (NCSSSI), the Forum is seeking to hire a Trauma & Learning Fellow to work with Forum staff, consultants, and partners. The Fellow will help develop awareness among educators of the potential impact of childhood trauma on learning. He or she will also assist schools in partner LEAs as they join a growing movement of educators piloting efforts to create trauma-sensitive schools.

This full-time, one-year fellowship provides an incredible opportunity to become immersed in the interplay of trauma and learning and to actively contribute to the growth of a new and significant program. Fellowship dates are negotiable but will ideally start no later than June 2017. Interested candidates should submit cover letters and resumes to Rhonda van Dijk at rvandijk@ncforum.org. Please include the job posting title in the subject line. The Forum is accepting applications through March 15, 2017. The full job description can be found on our website here.

Manager, NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP)

The Public School Forum is currently seeking a manager to lead its North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP). Established in 2002, NC CAP works with key partners, including afterschool providers, state agencies, state and local policymakers, universities and community colleges, business, and the philanthropic community, to increase access to high-quality afterschool and expanded learning opportunities for children and youth, particularly low-income children and those at risk of educational failure. NC CAP is part of a 50-state Afterschool Network focused on improving education and out-of-school time opportunities for children and youth.

The NC CAP Manager will work with key partners to develop, lead, coordinate and drive the network’s initiatives. He or she will guide the design and delivery of professional development opportunities, advocacy, and shaping of policy that advances afterschool learning and brings together state and national afterschool stakeholders. The NC CAP Manager will also lead our annual conference, SYNERGY, the only statewide conference that brings together providers of out of school time programs, along with education and community stakeholders.

Interested candidates should submit cover letters and resumes to Rhonda van Dijk at rvandijk@ncforum.org. Please include the job posting title in the subject line. The Forum is accepting applications through March 17, 2017. The full job description can be found on our website here.

Opportunities

NC CAP Annual SYNERGY Conference

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Registration is open for the NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) SYNERGY Conference. The 2017 SYNERGY Conference will be held April 3-5, 2017 at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. We invite you to join NC CAP to Spring into STEM!

This year’s conference will focus on STEM and healthy living in afterschool and expanded learning. We will continue the SYNERGY trend of engaging keynotes, a plethora of workshop opportunities, and networking with providers across the state!

Registration is online here

Step Up to STEM

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) seeks to inspire diverse populations in North Carolina to engage in STEM by offering a free one-week summer residential program for African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students.
July 16 – July 21, 2017 on the campus of NCSSM. 
For rising 9th graders, the Step Up to STEM program exists to:
  • Improve underrepresented students’ competence in science and mathematics
  • Nurture underrepresented students’ enthusiasm for science and mathematics
  • Interest students in pursuing careers in research or other science-related areas
Step Up to STEM offers a specialized and innovative interdisciplinary curriculum in science and mathematics designed to improve the student’s competence in those fields. The curriculum consists of exciting real-world science in the medical applications of cellular biology, anatomy and physiology, and applied science. Math concepts will be reinforced and used to analyze and interpret the data obtained from science experiences.
For more information and to apply to the the program, go to: www.ncssm.edu/stepup.  The application deadline is March 13, 2017.

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Student Science Enrichment Program

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has opened its application for the 2017 Student Science Enrichment Program (SSEP) grant awards. SSEP supports diverse programs with a common goal: to enable primary and secondary students to participate in creative, hands-on scientific activities for K-12 students and pursue inquiry-based exploration in BWF’s home state of North Carolina. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three years. The application deadline is April 18, 2017.

For more information or to access the application, visit http://www.bwfund.org/grant-programs/science-education/student-science-enrichment-program.

Position Opening for Program Director of the Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (MEITE) at UNC-CH

The UNC Chapel Hill School of Education (SOE) seeks an experienced professional to serve as the first Program Director of the Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (MEITE; www.meite.info), at the rank of Clinical Assistant or Associate Professor. The position begins July 1, 2017. The appointment is for a one-year term, with potential to renew for additional terms.

Additional details can be found online at https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/115437. Applications are due by March 24, 2017.

Journal for Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership Submissions

The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is accepting articles and literary reviews to be featured in the third issue of the Journal for Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership (JoITL).

The peer-reviewed publication features original work on K–12 educational topics from research to pedagogy to policy, and more.

Special consideration will be given to works that address:

  • STEM education and science literacy
  • Project and inquiry based learning
  • Teacher leadership and research experiences for educators
  • Data literacy and digital learning

Submissions will be accepted through Friday, March 31, 2017. For submission guidelines, visit kenanfellows.org/journals. Please send questions to the managing editor, Amneris Solano, at asolano@ncsu.edu.

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.

©2017 Public School Forum of North Carolina. All Rights Reserved.

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