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The Friday Report

October 20, 2017

Forum News

Public School Forum Urges Congress to Protect Young Immigrants Affected by Decision to End DACA

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Photo Credit: Juan Ramos, Unsplash.

This week the Board of Directors of the Public School Forum of North Carolina said the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was wrong and urged Congress to pursue a path toward permanent legal status for the more than 800,000 young immigrants brought to the United States as infants.

The full statement was adopted last week at a meeting of the Board of Directors and focuses on the organization’s commitment to educational opportunity for all North Carolina children. The full statement is below.

Keith Poston, the president and executive director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, said, “The Public School Forum of North Carolina believes in educational opportunity for ALL children—we don’t caveat it based on immigration status.”

“We’re encouraged that North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis is providing leadership in finding a legislative solution to protect these young people,” Poston added.

Statement on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Policy

The Public School Forum of North Carolina’s Vision Statement espouses the belief that all of our state’s children shall have the opportunity to reach their full potential through equal and meaningful public education that nourishes our state’s civic and economic vitality. A child’s immigration status should not be a factor that impedes their educational opportunity. In fact, this has been the law of the land in the United States since 1982, as the Supreme Court unequivocally declared in Plyler v. Doe.

North Carolina’s public schools are expected to be safe, welcoming and inclusive, with doors open to all children, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, or other protected status. We believe the recent decision by the President to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will lessen opportunities for some immigrant children to reach their full potential and contribute to our state’s vitality. This action will damage our schools, communities and economy, limiting the ability of these children to pursue education and training necessary to prepare them to contribute to our state’s workforce and prosperity. Rescinding DACA thrusts innocent children and young adults into an abyss of trepidation and uncertainty, fearing deportation as they walk our streets or pass through our schoolhouse doors.

We believe it was wrong to rescind DACA protections and we urge Congress to pursue a solution such as the DREAM Act or similar federal legislation for all “DREAMers,” providing a step-by-step path toward permanent legal status. This path should include efforts to fully incorporate all “DREAMers” into our communities, affording them robust opportunities to become meaningful contributors to our workforce, our economy and our democracy.

###

Adopted by the Public School Forum’s Board of Directors on October 10, 2017.

Michael D. Priddy, Ed.D., Chairman, Board of Directors
H. Keith Poston, President & Executive Director

Childhood Trauma Initiative: An Invitation for District and School Leaders

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The Public School Forum is hosting a convening around its new NC Resilience & Learning Project, an initiative focused on improving understanding among educators of the impact of childhood trauma on the ability to learn, and helping school teams respond using strategies that help students develop resilience in the face of adversity. Many of you may have read about the project in the Friday Report and other news outlets. The Resilience & Learning Project was created after a two-year long study group focused on the impact of childhood trauma on student learning and behavior in school and the project is currently being implemented on the ground in two districts during this 2017-2018 school year.

As an extension of that work, and with an eye toward future district partnerships, in a few weeks the Forum is hosting two gatherings focused on childhood trauma, one in Edgecombe on Tuesday, 10/31, and another (with the same agenda) in Rowan-Salisbury on Wednesday, 11/1.

The agenda will include an introduction of the Forum’s Initiative; a “Trauma 101” session on the impact of childhood trauma on learning; a deeper look at trauma-informed schools and the whole school/whole child model we advocate developing in response; and a set of activities to help attendees identify areas of urgency within their schools and brainstorm strategies for further exploring this work with their school and district teams. We’ll have two of the nation’s foremost experts on trauma & learning leading the day’s activities along with members of the Forum team and our partners from the Duke Center for Child & Family Policy. At the end of the day, we’ll provide a window into opportunities for schools and districts with strong interest in this work to go beyond the one-day gathering and engage with the Forum in a longer-term grant-supported partnership to develop trauma-informed schools that build resilient learners.

We would like to include district level staff AND school principals and administrators from schools within interested districts who may be a good fit for the program. If you are district staff or school staff interested in this work, we encourage you to attend one of these events.

For any further questions or to register for these events, please contact our Resilience & Learning Project Fellow, Elizabeth DeKonty at edekonty@ncforum.org or 919-781-6833 ext. 133Lunch will be provided and you will receive further details after registering.

We hope you will consider joining us as we work together to create trauma-sensitive schools to ensure academic success and improve the social and emotional well-being of children impacted by trauma in our schools across the state.

Education Matters

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Education Matters will be pre-empted this weekend on WRAL. FOX50 and The NC Channel will air encore episodes of the show. New episodes will return on November 11th.

When and Where to Watch Education Matters

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

Sundays at 8:00 AM, FOX 50

(Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

Sundays at 6:30 AM and Wednesdays 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 local listing and other providers here.

Online at https://www.ncforum.org/

In This Issue

Public School Forum Programs

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Nominate a Leader for Children in Your Community

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Do you know a leader in your community supporting our schools and making a difference in the lives of children both in and out of school? The Public School Forum is seeking nominations for individuals to be highlighted on our weekly statewide TV show, Education Matters. Click here for an example of a recent spotlight.

Nominees could be principals, superintendents, teachers, teacher assistants, guidance counselors, parents, students, business leaders, community volunteers, afterschool providers, and the list goes on!

To nominate someone, please fill out the form here.

State News

Facing Charter Takeover, Robeson County Leaders Tell State to Stay Out

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Innovative School District Superintendent Eric Hall addresses more than 100 parents and community members at Southside Ashpole Elementary. Photo Credit: Public Schools of Robeson County.

Just days after a North Carolina official tapped a Robeson County elementary for a controversial charter takeover district, local leaders say the state isn’t welcome in Southside-Ashpole Elementary.

“The governor of North Carolina and the legislators cannot justify that, as far as I’m concerned,” Jerry Stephens, a Robeson County commissioner, told Policy Watch Tuesday. “It’ll be such a great fall-out.”

Members of the county’s Board of Commissioners and Board of Education unanimously approved a joint resolution Monday night opposing Southside-Ashpole’s selection for the state’s Innovative School District (ISD), which could allow charter or education management organizations—including, possibly, for-profit groups—to seize control of operations and staffing in hopes of turning around lagging test scores.

Southside-Ashpole was the last school standing Friday after ISD Superintendent Eric Hall trimmed an initial list of 48 eligible schools, chosen because they reported performance scores in the bottom five percent statewide and did not meet growth goals in at least one of the prior three years.

The proposal spurred intense opposition in many North Carolina districts once mulled for the takeover. Resistance in Robeson grew in the days and hours before Hall’s recommendation, which is scheduled to be officially heard by the State Board of Education in November.

Members of the state board aren’t expected to hold a vote on the selection until December.

“This is not the right time, this is not for us,” Peggy Wilkins-Chavis, chair of the Robeson Board of Education, said Tuesday morning.

Tuesday’s comments mark a turnaround for Wilkins-Chavis, who told Policy Watch last month that she supported a takeover for the struggling school, which is located in a high-poverty community besieged by storm damage.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

To read more about school turnarounds, see the national news article below on Tennessee’s Achievement School District.

Excerpt from:
Ball, B. “Facing charter takeover, Robeson County leaders tell state to stay out.” NC Policy Watch. 10/17/17.

New Spokesman for NC School-Takeover Program Had Sued Gov. Roy Cooper

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Deborah Prickett, second from right, reacts to hearing that she has won a seat on the Wake County school board in this 2009 file photo. Pictured on the left are Prickett’s son Grayson, her husband, David Prickett, and Mike Swanson, back center. Photo Credit: The News & Observer.

A former McCrory administration spokesman who sued Gov. Roy Cooper after he was fired has been hired as a spokesman for a new state program in which low-performing schools will be turned over to charter school operators.

David Prickett will handle communications for the Innovative School District, a controversial program created by Republican state lawmakers who said it was a way to raise performance in struggling schools. Prickett, who was communications director for the Office of State Human Resources until Jan. 19, claimed he was fired by Cooper’s Democratic administration because he is a Republican.

Eric Hall, superintendent of the Innovative School District, said Monday that Prickett had expressed interest in the communications job and his name was forwarded by a temporary staffing agency. Hall said Prickett’s communications experience both in and out of state government would be needed as the new district moves forward.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “New spokesman for NC school-takeover program had sued Gov. Roy Cooper.” The News & Observer. 10/16/17.

How Can NC Residents Become Better Educated? This New Group Wants to Find Out

A new commission of education, business, nonprofit, government and faith leaders launched Tuesday in an effort to create a statewide goal to get more North Carolinians better educated.

The commission, called My Future NC, was announced Tuesday at Davie County Early College High School in Mocksville. The effort is led by UNC President Margaret Spellings, who will co-chair a group of 30 leaders along with Dale Jenkins, chief executive officer of Medical Mutual Holdings, and Andrea Smith, chief administrative officer of Bank of America.

Spellings said it became clear to her that North Carolina needed a “shared vision” for getting more people better education, from pre-K to high school and beyond. National education players, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation, had told the UNC Board of Governors that North Carolina was among a few states that had no common agreement on educational attainment, which is generally defined as the highest degree an individual has completed.

In 2015, 29.4 percent of North Carolinians 25 and older held a four-year college degree, and 86.6 percent had a high school diploma. Both measures have risen steadily in the past two decades, though North Carolina is behind the U.S. average.

Economic mobility – the chance that a poor child will rise to the middle class – is lower in North Carolina than in many other states, and the state’s per capita income is 34th in the country, according to U.S. data from 2010-14.

NC Supreme Court Grants Temporary Stay in State Board, Superintendent Lawsuit

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Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson and State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey
Photo Credit: Kelly Hinchcliffe, WRAL.

The North Carolina Supreme Court on Monday granted the State Board of Education’s motion for a temporary stay in its lawsuit against State Superintendent Mark Johnson. 

The stay, which is in effect until further notice from the NC Supreme Court, prevents Johnson from taking control of the state’s public school system and acquiring powers granted to him by House Bill 17, passed during a special session of the General Assembly last year.

In a statement Monday, State Board Chairman Bill Cobey said he was grateful to the court “and strongly believe they have made the right decision.”

Johnson also released a statement, saying he was “disappointed by the ruling and by the State Board’s continued defense of the status quo for our public schools.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “NC Supreme Court grants temporary stay in state board, superintendent lawsuit.” WRAL. 10/16/17.

Debate Over Charter and Private School Accountability Continues Hometown Series

In a Burlington event Monday, participants debated who should provide accountability for charter and private schools: parents, the public, or government?

Four panelists discussed charter and private school oversight and effectiveness on Monday night. The debate was the second in a three-part series in smaller towns and cities in North Carolina hosted by the NC Institute of Political Leadership.

Participants included Rep. Jeffrey Elmore, R-Alleghany, Wilkes, Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Durham, Orange, John Locke Foundation’s Vice President of Research and Director of Education Studies Terry Stoops, and NC Justice Center’s Director of Education and Law Project Matt Ellinwood.

The evening focused around one question: “Should North Carolina tighten oversight of tax-funded charter schools and private schools?” Spectrum News political reporter Loretta Boniti moderated the debate.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bell, L. “Debate over charter and private school accountability continues hometown series.'” EducationNC. 10/17/17.

Durham Schools Announce New Superintendent

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Photo Credit: WRAL.

The Durham County Board of Education announced its next superintendent at a meeting Monday evening.

Dr. Pascal Mubenga, who currently serves as the superintendent of Franklin County Schools, was unanimously voted as the superintendent shortly after the start of Monday’s school board meeting.

“I’m excited for the years ahead of us and the challenge to make this school system one of the best in the state,” he said.

Mubenga has worked in public education for more than 20 years and has previously worked as a district transformation coach, school transformation team lead and school transformation coach with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Prior to that, he served as the principal of Jones Senior High School in Jones County, an assistant principal in Franklin County and math teacher in Johnston County.

Early in his career, he served as a math teacher at Chewning Middle School in Durham for three years.

“I know the challenges of Durham Public Schools as well as the opportunity we have here,” Mubenga said.

When Mubenga arrived in Franklin County, he said there were seven low-performing schools, which he cut down to just one in three years. 

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

“Durham schools announce new superintendent.” WRAL. 10/16/17.

Super Substitutes: How Cumberland County Uses its “Options” Program to Recruit Teachers

Three years ago, as North Carolina struggled to attract and retain enough teachers to fill all the vacancies in public school classrooms across the state, the Cumberland County school system decided to get creative.

District administrators realized they were often encountering prospective teachers who—for various reasons—were not licensed to teach in North Carolina. Perhaps they taught in another state, or they were missing courses required for lateral entry, or they were new graduates waiting on their paperwork to clear the Department of Public Instruction.

So CCS created a new classification: “Options” teachers.

“They’re kind of like super substitutes,” says Reuben Reyes, the district’s associate superintendent of human resources. “It was a mechanism to get those individuals into our buildings as quickly as possible.”

The options teachers are paid more than teacher assistants or short-term subs but not as much as fully-licensed teachers, although they do receive benefits. When Cumberland County hires them, the expectation is that they will work toward licensure during the school year.

“They’re kind of in a no man’s land. They can’t qualify to be paid as a teacher because they don’t have the licenses, but they’re the kind of people we want to get into our buildings and in front of our kids,” Reyes says.

Currently, the district has 52 options teachers. That number will dwindle as the school year goes on, as the options teachers become fully licensed teachers, at which point CCS classifies (and pays) them as such.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Rhew, A. “Super substitutes: How Cumberland County uses its “options” program to recruit teachers.” EducationNC. 10/19/17.

National News

What Do Parents Want from Schools?

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Photo Credit: ©Hero Images.

Several recent polls have asked adult members of families their thoughts about education. Media coverage of such polls focuses mostly on findings around school choice. But when we dig deeper, we see an array of information that can be helpful to all school leaders and educators.

I reviewed the following four recent polls and outline some of the takeaways below:

Students Prepared for Life After High School

The polls make one thing clear: Families want their children prepared for life after high school. To that end, parents and guardians reported seeking five things:

1. Increased and equitable funding.

2. Rigorous academics.

3. Career and technical education. 

4. Technology. 

5. Postsecondary education for their children.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from: 

OBrien, A. “What Do Parents Want From Schools?.” Edutopia. 10/13/17.

In Tennessee’s Turnaround District, 9 in 10 Young Students Fall Short on Their First TNReady Exams

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Photo Credit: Scott Elliott, Chalkbeat.

Nine out of 10 of elementary- and middle-school students in Tennessee’s turnaround district aren’t scoring on grade level in English and math, according to test score data released Thursday.

The news is unsurprising: The Achievement School District oversees 32 of the state’s lowest-performing schools. But it offers yet another piece of evidence that the turnaround initiative has fallen far short of its ambitious original goal of vaulting struggling schools to success.

Around 5,300 students in grades 3-8 in ASD schools took the new, harder state exam, TNReady, last spring. Here’s how many scored “below” or “approaching,” meaning they did not meet the state’s standards:

  • 91.8 percent of students in English language arts;
  • 91.5 percent in math;
  • 77.9 percent in science.

In all cases, ASD schools’ scores fell short of state averages, which were all lower than in the past because of the new exam’s higher standards. About 66 percent of students statewide weren’t on grade level in English language arts, 62 percent weren’t on grade level in math, and 41 percent fell short in science.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Bauman, C. “In Tennessee’s turnaround district, 9 in 10 young students fall short on their first TNReady exams.” Chalkbeat Tennessee. 10/19/17.

All ESSA Plans Are In, Complete, and Ready for Review

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 Photo Credit: Education Week.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have now submitted their plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act, and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her team are ready to examine the dozens of plans submitted by the second deadline last month.

Thirty-four states and Puerto Rico turned in their ESSA plans in September and October. (The official deadline for submitting plans was September 18, but hurricane-ravaged Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Texas got extensions). And all of those plans have now been deemed “complete” by the feds. That means the plans aren’t missing key details, at least according to the department’s initial review.

Schools Without Rules: An Orlando Sentinel Investigation

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Harvest Baptist Christian Academy is a K-8 private school in Parramore. Photo Credit: Jacob Langston, Orlando Sentinel.

Florida private schools rake in nearly $1 billion in state scholarships with little oversight.
Part 1 of 3 Parts

Private schools in Florida will collect nearly $1 billion in state-backed scholarships this year through a system so weakly regulated that some schools hire teachers without college degrees, hold classes in aging strip malls and falsify fire-safety and health records.

The limited oversight of Florida’s scholarship programs allowed a principal under investigation for molesting a student at his Brevard County school to open another school under a new name and still receive the money, an Orlando Sentinel investigation found.

Another Central Florida school received millions of dollars in scholarships, sometimes called school vouchers, for nearly a decade even though it repeatedly violated program rules, including hiring staff with criminal convictions.

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Despite the problems, the number of children using Florida’s scholarship programs has more than tripled in the past decade to 140,000 students thiyear at nearly 2,000 private schools. If students using Florida Tax Credit, McKay and Gardiner scholarships made up their own school district, they would be Florida’s sixth-largest in student population, just ahead of the Jacksonville area.

“The scholarships are good. The problem is the school,” said Edda Melendez, an Osceola County mother. “They need to start regulating the private schools.”

Melendez complained to the state last year about a private school in Kissimmee. The school promised specialized help for her 5-year-old twin sons, who have autism, but one of their teachers was 21 years old and didn’t have a bachelor’s degree or experience with autistic children.

“I feel bad for all the parents who didn’t know what’s going on there,” she told the state.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

To continue reading the Orlando Sentinel’s complete series on Florida’s school voucher and scholarship programs, click here

Excerpt from: 

Postal, L., Kassab, B. and Martin A. “Schools Without Rules: An Orlando Sentinel Investigation.” Orlando Sentinel. 10/17/17.

Opportunities

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Application Open for Promoting Innovation in Science and Mathematics (PRISM) Award

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The Promoting Innovation in Science and Mathematics or PRISM Award provides NC public school teachers the opportunity to receive up to $3000 in funding towards the purchase of STEM-related materials and up to $1500 for any necessary training for those materials.

The award was created in 2012 by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to support teachers in their efforts to provide quality hands-on, inquiry-based activities for their students.

“The PRISM Award enables teachers to provide new and inventive ways of teaching STEM in their classrooms,” said Dr. John Burris, president of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. “For a relatively modest investment students all over North Carolina can benefit from the wealth of material that may not otherwise be available to them.”

The Fund has provided 238 awards to 77 of North Carolina’s 115 school districts for a total of $750,000. One teacher, Matthew Kinnaird in Buncombe County, used the PRISM Award to build a radio telescope with his class to gather information for NASA.

Teachers may apply at https://www.bwfund.org/grant-programs/science-education/promoting-innovation-science-and-mathematicsThe deadline to apply is December 5, 2017.

Call for Papers: Teacher Leadership Journal

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The Journal of Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership, an online scholarly publication of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership, announces a call for papers for its next issue to be published in early 2018.

The program is most interested in manuscripts that address educational leadership, specifically how teachers can grow their influence without leaving the classroom, the interdisciplinary nature of STEM, project- and inquiry-based learning, agricultural education, science literacy, and education policy and advocacy.

They welcome articles on research, case studies, analysis and literary reviews. They will also accept evidence-based essays and editorials that are not simply personal accounts or strictly opinions. Full manuscripts must be submitted through kenanfellows.org/journals by December 1, 2017.

Submissions will undergo a blind peer review. Please direct questions to Amneris Solano, managing editor, at asolano@ncsu.edu.

RACE: Are We So Different?

This is the last weekend to view the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science’s RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit at the museum from April 22 through October 22, 2017.

This exhibition looks at race through the lens of science, history, and personal experiences to promote a better understanding of human variation. Interactive exhibit components, historical artifacts, iconic objects, compelling photographs, multimedia presentations, and attractive graphic displays offer visitors to RACE an eye-opening look at its important subject matter. RACE tells the stories of race from the biological, cultural, and historical points of view offering an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States.

Admission is free but tickets are required. For tickets, as well as additional details on the exhibit, visit http://naturalsciences.org/exhibits/featured-exhibitions/race.

In addition to the exhibit, a series of Speaker Events which includes Diversity in STEM topics were jointly planned in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science and sponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. All of the exhibit events were free of charge and the Speaker and Conversation series were streamed live and recorded for continued access and playback. You may access the series of recordings 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.

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

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