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The Friday Report

October 6, 2017

Leading News

No Fix on Class Size, Minor Correction to Principal Pay from General Assembly

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Members of the General Assembly, back in town this week for a special legislative session, did not pass a fix to the legislature’s K-3 class size mandate that’s already relegating arts and music education to mobile carts that move from room to room and ballooning class sizes in upper grades across the state. And lawmakers made only minor tweaks to the state’s new principal pay plan, choosing not to extend a provision that would save some principals from losing tens of thousands of dollars in pay beginning in 2018-19.

House members had planned to take up on Wednesday a technical corrections bill that included a substantive fix for reducing K-3 class sizes—but pushback from the Senate resulted in House members dropping the measure. The failure to act means that the smaller K-3 class sizes required for 2018-19 could force more drastic measures by local districts to meet the mandate, including eliminating art, music, and physical education teaching positions and/or classes, further increasing class sizes in grades 4-12, and reassigning students to different schools due to space constraints that the legislation did not provide funding to address. Wake County Schools has already released plans that include reassignment and transferring students out of their current school in 2018-19 to meet the class size mandate handed down by the General Assembly.

The tweak to the state’s new principal pay plan allows principals paid last year on the teacher salary schedule to keep that level of pay for the 2017-18 year. In some instances, those principals would lose pay this year since the new principal pay plan eliminates longevity and pays principals based on the number of students in the school and on “student growth” instead of years of service.

But that legislative tweak doesn’t address a much larger issue—the fact that beginning with 2018-19, many principals, especially those with decades of service, stand to lose as much as $20,000 with the new performance-based salary plan. This year, a “hold harmless” provision protected those veteran principals from earning less—and the hope was that lawmakers would extend that provision an additional year while the principal pay plan was further refined by stakeholders and the General Assembly. Many fear that these drastic pay cuts could drive many veteran principals to leave early to protect their pensions that would be hurt by big reductions in salary as they approach retirement age. That didn’t happen this week, despite a plea from State Board of Education Chair Bill Cobey made directly to lawmakers Thursday.

The General Assembly may return for another special session in January.

Sources:
General Assembly, State Board of Education tackle principal pay
Class size change sputters, limit on AG’s Office rolls as legislature goes late
Chaotic day for education at General Assembly ends with principal fix in committee

Forum News

This Week on Education Matters: School Takeover Plan Meets Resistance

The NC Innovative School District, created by the General Assembly in 2016, is set to begin taking over some low-performing schools across the state and turn them over to charter school operators. However, the plan is getting serious push back from some local communities, including Durham, which had two schools on the short list.

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Guests Include:

  • Mike Lee, Chair, Durham Board of Education (pictured above)
  • Wendy Jacobs, Chair, Durham County Board of Commissioners (pictured above)
  • Lindsey Kennedy, Friends of Lakewood Elementary PTA (pictured below)

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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/

State News

General Assembly, State Board of Education Tackle Principal Pay

Both the House and the Senate voted in favor of a budget technical corrections bill Thursday that includes a principal pay fix that will prevent some principals from losing pay this year.

The House voted 70-46 and the Senate 29-17, sending it on to Gov. Roy Cooper. Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said the fix is a good start to clearing up issues with principal pay. 

“This is not an absolute fix, but it is certainly a fix to deal with the issue in the short term,” he said.

The principal pay correction in the bill allows principals paid on the teacher salary schedule last year to continue to get that pay without a loss in longevity this year. Some principals would have received less this year under the new principal pay schedule because it no longer factors in longevity.

The current principal pay schedule has a hold-harmless provision for this year only that is supposed to prevent any principals from losing pay, but that didn’t apply to principals paid on the teacher salary schedule last year. They may still be paid on the teacher salary schedule this year, but without the hold-harmless, they lost the longevity pay, leading to a cut in salary.

Some had hoped the General Assembly would extend the hold-harmless provision beyond this year.

“With us not coming back to deal with these issues until the short session, we’re likely going to deal with a situation where we’re going to lose some principals,” said Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Orange.

He said that principals uncertain of what their pay will be next year may consider retirement, switching jobs or leaving the state.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. (WRAL) and Granados, A. (EducationNC) “General Assembly, State Board of Education tackle principal pay.” WRAL. 10/5/17.

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.

Despite Many Pleas to Delay ‘Class Size Chaos,’

NC Lawmakers are Unmoved

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From left, Cooper Hough, 8, of Holly Springs, Catherine Bloomfield, 11, of Cary and her sister Miriam, cheer on the speakers during a rally at Halifax Mall in Raleigh, N.C. urging the North Carolina Senate to pass House Bill 13 on April 19, 2017. Photo Credit: Ethan Hyman, The News & Observer.

An effort to delay new smaller elementary school class sizes that school districts have warned could lead to actions such as losing art and music classes and students changing schools died in the state legislature this week.

State House members dropped Wednesday a plan to delay the new class sizes set to begin in 2018 after the Senate objected to the change. Lawmakers are now talking about potentially revisiting the issue in the spring, a time when schools are busy planning for next school year.

“I’m clearly frustrated and at this point the Senate’s position and the Senate’s action is literally indefensible,” said Renee Sekel, a Cary parent who helped organize a rally Tuesday outside the Legislative Building calling for lawmakers to “fix” the class-size issue. “There’s no logical or truthful argument that can be made against changing the class-size law.”

In addition to the rally, several groups held a “tweet storm” on Wednesday afternoon urging people to go on Twitter to ask state lawmakers to address the “class size chaos.”

Elementary schools around North Carolina are preparing to implement a new requirement that starts next school year that drops average class sizes in kindergarten through third grade to roughly 17 students. It was at 21 students last year.

Senate Republican leaders say the smaller class sizes are needed to help younger students learn. They’ve accused school districts of not properly using the money that’s been given to them over the years to reduce class sizes.

“I don’t imagine we’re going to do much to change the class size,” said Sen. Harry Brown of Jacksonville, who is the Republican majority leader. “I think we’ve made it pretty clear what we feel on the class size.”

School districts have warned that they might have to cut art, music and physical education teachers to come up with the money to hire more K-3 teachers. School leaders have also raised concerns about their ability to find space for the thousands of new classrooms needed.

Amid the concerns, the General Assembly agreed this year to delay the new class sizes until 2018 and to study providing state funding to separately fund arts and physical education teachers.

State Board Member Asks NC Superintendent to Address ‘the Elephant in the Room’

State Superintendent Mark Johnson smiled Thursday as he showed a picture of himself sitting on an old North Carolina school bus. “For some reason, they let me get behind the driver wheel. Luckily, the bus was not turned on,” he joked.

For Johnson, it was a lighthearted moment at the end of his monthly superintendent’s report to the State Board of Education – a way to showcase the state’s 100th anniversary of school buses and other good news happening in North Carolina’s public schools.

But after 11 minutes of good news stories from the superintendent, state board member Greg Alcorn wanted more. 

“I appreciate the good news, but the elephant in the room is the budget cuts,” Alcorn said.

“I’d like to request, Superintendent Johnson, that if possible next month you put a couple things on your presentation that will help us with our clarity and consistency of message,” Alcorn said. “One is the budget cuts and how we’re handling that from your perspective, being able to hear as much as we can on that.”

Alcorn explained that the board also wanted to hear the superintendent’s thoughts on principal pay and how state lawmakers are handling that topic.

“You’re the face and the voice for the state … and I would encourage you to take this precious time to be able to support those two things so I can be in unison with you,” Alcorn added. “Please help us with that.”

Johnson listened quietly, then pulled his microphone in close.

“Yeah. Thank you for that feedback. I’m sure you’ll make the same request of Chairman Cobey for his (monthly) report,” Johnson said, and pushed the microphone away, ending the conversation.

That exchange at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting showcased some of the ongoing tension between the board and superintendent, who have been embroiled in a lawsuit over control of the state’s public school system.

Since becoming superintendent in January, Johnson has remained quiet at times about major issues facing the state Department of Public Instruction. He often prefers to work behind the scenes, speaking with lawmakers privately rather than sharing his thoughts on policy in public settings.

In a statement to WRAL News on Thursday, Johnson defended his decision to highlight good news each month instead of talking about principal pay, budget cuts or other topics board members may want to hear him discuss.

“At the start of my term, I decided to use the Superintendent’s Report as a chance to highlight the best in public education from around the state,” Johnson said in an emailed statement. “While my reports may not grab headlines, month after month I champion the great things going on in our schools.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hinchcliffe, K. “State board member asks NC superintendent to address ‘the elephant in the room.'” WRAL. 10/6/17.

List of Eligible Schools for ISD Cut to Four

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Eric Hall, Superintendent of the Innovative School District, presenting to the State Board of Education Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Alex Granados, EducationNC.

Eric Hall, Superintendent of the Innovative School District, reduced a list of schools under consideration for inclusion in the program from six to four on Wednesday at the State Board of Education meeting.

Hall removed Durham’s Lakewood Elementary and Robeson County’s R.B. Dean Elementary, so that no districts with schools on the list had more than one. On the list of six, the two districts previously had two schools each.

The list of four is:

  • Durham Public Schools: Glenn Elementary
  • Nash-Rocky Mount Schools: Williford Elementary
  • Northampton County Schools: Willis Hare Elementary
  • Robeson County Schools: Southside Ashpole Elementary

The Achievement School District (ASD) bill was passed during the 2016 General Assembly short session. At the heart of the legislation is the creation of a district which will eventually include five low-performing schools from around the state. The schools, which are yet to be named, could be turned over to for-profit charter operators.

The legislation establishing ASDs also gave districts that participate the opportunity to pick up to three other low-performing schools in their districts to join an innovation zone. Schools in this zone would have charter-like flexibility but would continue to be managed by the school district.

The recently passed budget tweaked the ASD program slightly, changing its name to the North Carolina Innovative School District (ISD). It also added a provision that if a district participating in the ISD has more than 35 percent of its schools identified as low-performing, then all of those schools could become part of an Innovation Zone should the district elect that option.

Hall is expected to whittle down the list further to two schools before next month’s Board meeting. Those two schools were intended to start next year. But discussions between Hall and the State Board indicate he may be willing to start with just one school.

​To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Granados, A. and Bell, L. “List of schools eligible for ISD cut to four.” EducationNC. 10/5/17.

Durham Avoids 2-Front War But ‘Will Fight’ Possible State Takeover of 1 Local School

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Mike Lee, chair of Durham’s Board of Education speaks during a press conference preceding a community meeting organized by Defend Durham Schools in response to the possible selection of Lakewood and Glenn elementary school as part of the state’s new “Innovative School District”. Photo Credit: Casey Toth, The Herald Sun.

One Durham elementary school has been taken off the state’s list for potential takeover by the NC Innovative School District (NC ISD) but another remains in jeopardy.

Lakewood Elementary School was removed from the list of six schools on NC ISD’s list. The list has been reduced to four and still includes Glenn Elementary School of Durham.

Durham school board Chairman Mike Lee said he received an email message from NC ISD Superintendent Eric Hall on Wednesday alerting him that Lakewood would be removed from the list. “I’m extremely excited about Lakewood being removed from the list and also excited that Hall and the committee selecting the schools are listening to the community,” Lee said.

He said Hall cited new leadership at Lakewood and a belief that the school has the tools in place to improve academic outcomes as part of the reason Lakewood was removed from the list.

Lakewood is led by James Hopkins, an experienced administrator who most recently served as an assistant principal at Carrboro High School. Before that, Hopkins was an assistant principal at Jordan High School and a teacher at Riverside High School, both in Durham.

Lee said the Durham Public Schools and the DPS Board of Education will now turn their full attention to staving off a takeover of Glenn. “Now, we will focus all of our attention on saving Glenn from this experiment,” Lee said. “I look forward that challenge.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Childress, G. “Durham avoids 2-front war but ‘will fight’ possible state takeover of 1 local school.” The Herald Sun. 10/4/17.

Southern Meck Draws Surge of Charter School Plans, Including a New Ballantyne High

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Movement School under construction in west Charlotte before opening in August 2017. The applications for 2019 include a spinoff to open in east Charlotte.  Photo Credit: Jenna Eason, The Charlotte Observer.

As a county commissioner Matthew Ridenhour oversees spending for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

As of this week, he’s also one of three applicants seeking state approval to open a charter school in the booming Steele Creek area of southwest Charlotte where his family has lived for generations. Ridenhour said Thursday there’s no conflict between the two roles, and no condemnation of CMS implicit in his bid to get a slice of the state and local money for education.

“It’s just that it offers a choice to parents who for whatever reason don’t want to put their kids in CMS,” said Ridenhour, a product of Christian schools whose two children are preschool age. “Having an interest in charter schools and choice doesn’t mean I don’t want to see CMS succeed.”

Ridenhour’s Steele Creek Prep Academy, which would be run by the Charter Schools USA chain, is one of 29 applications to open new North Carolina charter schools in 2019. Seven are in Mecklenburg County, as many as in Wake and Guilford counties combined.

The Charlotte-area applications span the range from schools targeting Spanish-speaking and disadvantaged students to Ballantyne Charter High School, which would compete with some of the district’s most successful schools in one of the most affluent areas.

If all seven Mecklenburg applications are approved, they’d offer seats to almost 2,600 students the first year, growing to 4,500 by the fifth year. They’d require more than $23 million in public money for startup, according to the budgets submitted.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.


Reprinted from:
Helms, A. “Southern Meck draws surge of charter school plans, including a new Ballantyne high.” The Charlotte Observer. 9/28/17.

New Report Outlines State of Chronic Absence in North Carolina

AttendaNCe Counts, a report by the NC Early Childhood Foundation, examines the state of the state around chronic absenteeism policies and practices in North Carolina. The report includes:

  • Why chronic absence matters for third grade reading and why addressing it is an actionable strategy for improving literacy outcomes
  • Why it is an effective measure of school quality and student success
  • Chronic absence rates in North Carolina, including data for each school district, disaggregated by race/ethnicity and gender
  • The current state-level landscape in North Carolina around nine key “readiness” factors that can set the stage for an active campaign to reduce chronic absence
  • Recommendations for next steps.

To read the full report, click here.

Excerpt from:

NC Early Childhood Foundation. “AttendaNCe Counts! New Report Outlines State of Chronic Absence in North Carolina.” 9/26/17.

NC Highlight

To Fail and Still Succeed

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Whiteriver Middle School, 1999. Photo Credit: Justin Parmenter.

By Justin Parmenter

Recently I had the honor of sitting on a teacher panel at a meeting of the Public School Forum of North Carolina’s Beginning Teacher Leadership Network–a group which aspires to “retain, support, and accelerate the development of beginning teachers.” I was asked to consider what advice I would give myself if I was beginning my first year all over again. The resulting walk down memory lane brought back intense memories of my first years as a public school teacher and important lessons I learned during that time. It also led me to think about how we define success in education and the implications of those definitions for both students and teachers.

My first job in an American public school was teaching 6th grade Language Arts at Whiteriver Middle School. This school is located on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in the poorest county in Arizona. It was a very difficult place to be a teacher but an even harder place to be a child. Many of my students were chronically absent and exhibited serious behavior problems when they were at school. Some suffered from the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. Some of them struggled to read at a first grade level. Parent support was spotty, as some of my students’ families maintained deep misgivings about public education–understandably so given the appalling recent history of American Indian boarding schools that used inhumane methods to forcibly assimilate Native children into European-American culture.

I began my job in Whiteriver believing that I was going to transform every child. My fresh graduate school perspective, cutting edge pedagogy, and research-based literacy practices were going to bring all of my students up to reading on grade level in a hurry and change the way they felt about education forever. I was in for a rude awakening.

Despite my best efforts at applying what I’d learned in grad school, my students’ reading proficiency levels remained relatively unchanged. School and district-level formative assessments yielded disastrous results. Our pass rates on Arizona’s standardized reading test hovered around 20-25%, where they remain today(the school has since been renamed Canyon Day Junior High). Every day, the outcomes I was getting reminded me that my students were failing and, by extension, I was failing them. I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and lie in bed wondering whether I was cut out for this work at all.

Research shows that it’s quite common for beginning teachers to question their career choice. In fact, data from the most recent State of the Teaching Profession in North Carolina report by the NC Department of Public Instruction shows a spike in teachers leaving North Carolina public schools for career changes at about the 2-3 year mark.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Parmenter, J. “To fail and still succeed.” EducationNC. 10/4/17.

National News

For-Profit Schools Get State Dollars for Dropouts Who Rarely Drop In

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Capital High is part of for-profit EdisonLearning’s Bridgescape chain, which seeks out students who have already dropped out or are about to. The charter school is publicly funded, but privately run. A third of students were absent the entire week when ProPublica visited. Photo Credit: Andrew Spear, ProPublica.
Last school year, Ohio’s cash-strapped education department paid Capital High $1.4 million in taxpayer dollars to teach students on the verge of dropping out. But on a Thursday in May, students’ workstations in the storefront charter school run by for-profit EdisonLearning resembled place settings for a dinner party where most guests never arrived.

In one room, empty chairs faced 25 blank computer monitors. Just three students sat in a science lab down the hall, and nine more in an unlit classroom, including one youth who sprawled out, head down, sleeping.

Only three of the more than 170 students on Capital’s rolls attended class the required five hours that day, records obtained by ProPublica show. Almost two-thirds of the school’s students never showed up; others left early. Nearly a third of the roster failed to attend class all week.

Some stay away even longer. ProPublica reviewed 38 days of Capital High’s records from late March to late May and found six students skipped 22 or more days straight with no excused absences. Two were gone the entire 38-day period. Under state rules, Capital should have unenrolled them after 21 consecutive unexcused absences.

Though the school is largely funded on a per-student basis, the no-shows didn’t hurt the school’s revenue stream. Capital billed and received payment from the state for teaching the equivalent of 171 students full time in May.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has championed charters and for-profit education, contending in congressional testimony that school choice can lower absenteeism and dropout rates. But at schools like Capital, a ProPublica-USA Today investigation found, the drop-outs rarely drop in — and if they do, they don’t stay long.

Such schools aggressively recruit as many students as possible, and sometimes count them even after they stop showing up, a practice that can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer-paid revenue for empty desks. Auditors have accused for-profit dropout recovery schools in Ohio, Illinois and Florida of improperly collecting public money for vanished students. State officials in Ohio have twice chided Capital over indications of inflated enrollment numbers.

Told of ProPublica’s findings, both Ohio’s state auditor and its Department of Education said they would investigate Capital. EdisonLearning conceded extended absences are a “persistent challenge,” but said it shares all student attendance records in “real time” with state education officials. If issues arise, the company said, it addresses and corrects them.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from: 

Vogell, H. “For-Profit Schools Get State Dollars For Dropouts Who Rarely Drop In.” ProPublica. 10/5/17.

If Your Teacher Looks Like You, You May Do Better in School

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Photo Credit: Zai Wei Zhang, NPR.

Think back to grade school for a moment and envision that one teacher who could captivate you more than any other. Did that teacher look a bit like you? One recent study says: probably.

There’s mounting evidence that when black students have black teachers, those students are more likely to graduate high school. That new study takes this idea even further, providing insight into the way students actually think and feel about the teachers who look like them and those who don’t.

Here’s how it worked:

  • Researchers surveyed more than 80,000 public school students, grades four through eight, across six different states.
  • These students were asked to evaluate how well their teachers led their classrooms.
  • The researchers paid special attention to the way students — black, white and Hispanic — in the same classes rated the same teachers.

The study found that when students had teachers of the same race as them, they reported feeling more cared for, more interested in their schoolwork and more confident in their teachers’ abilities to communicate with them. These students also reported putting forth more effort in school and having higher college aspirations.

When students had teachers who didn’t look like them, the study found, they reported lower levels of these feelings and attitudes. These trends were most visible in black students, especially black girls.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Boisrond, C. “If Your Teacher Looks Like You, You May Do Better In School.” NPR. 9/29/17.

Preschool’s Hidden Value May Be in Combating Poverty

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In this 2012 photo, a child plays at a Head Start program in Mississippi. Researchers see long-term benefits

to Head Start, even among the offspring of children who were exposed to Head Start in the 1960s. 

Photo Credit: Sarah Garland, The Hechinger Report

It’s been hard to prove that attending preschool makes a difference for kids, academically. Many research studies have found that children who didn’t go to preschool catch up to those who did in just a few years. By third grade, there’s often no difference in math and reading scores between the preschooled and the non-preschooled child. Experts call it “fadeout.”

That hasn’t sat well with advocates of early childhood education. They point to other studies that have looked beyond elementary schools’ test scores, and have found that preschooled children are more likely to graduate from high school, be employed and raise families in stable marriages.

Now a pair of researchers has taken this line of research one generation further, and found that the offspring of preschooled children are living significantly better young-adult lives than the offspring of non-preschooled children. In that second generation, whose parents lived in a community that offered a free, federally funded Head Start preschool program in the 1960s, people were graduating from high school and attending college in much higher numbers, and were far less likely to be involved in crime or become a teen parent themselves.

“We wanted to ask the question of whether programs can disrupt the transmission of poverty from one generation to the other,” said Chloe Gibbs, an economist at the University of Notre Dame who presented the as-yet-unpublished paper “Breaking the Cycle? Intergenerational Effects of an Anti-Poverty Program in Early Childhood” to economists over the summer. “We think we have some strong proxies.”

The researchers said it’s too soon to conclude whether the second generation is no longer living in poverty and earning a good income. In the data examined, many of these young adults are in their twenties, still figuring out their future vocations. However, the difference in education and other outcomes associated with poverty is striking. For example, among children born to mothers without a high school diploma who lived in a Head Start community in the 1960s, 90 percent of their offspring graduated from high school and 69 percent went on to attend at least some college. By contrast, for children born to mothers without a high school diploma, but who didn’t live in a town that offered Head Start, 77 percent of their offspring graduated from high school and 52 percent went on to attend some college. That’s a 13 percentage-point difference in high school graduation and a 17 percentage-point difference in the college-going rate.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from: 

Barshay, J. “Preschool’s hidden value may be in combating poverty.” The Hechinger Report. 10/2/17.

Opportunities

Networking Opportunity for Local Businesses-Education Partnerships & Local Education Foundations

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The Public School Forum’s NC Education Partners program is an ongoing initiative to connect local business-education partnerships and local education foundations across the state. NC Education Partners provides a platform for sharing information and best practices, while creating opportunities for collaboration and joint capacity-building initiatives.

As participants, partnerships and foundations are given the opportunity to discuss what is happening in their communities, their efforts to support local school systems, and ways they could work together to advance public education in North Carolina. The Public School Forum serves as the convener of this group and provides expertise in state level education legislation and education research. All local business-education partnerships and education foundations in North Carolina are invited to join the NC Education Partners.

To learn more about this opportunity please contact the Public School Forum’s Program Coordinator, Irene Mone at imone@ncforum.org or 919-781-9833 x 102. 

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?

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Science’s RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit continues at the museum 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.

Call for Summer 2018 NCSSM Accelerator Course Proposals

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) is looking for course proposals for their 2018 Summer Accelerator programs. NCSSM’s Accelerator programs, for rising 7th-12th graders, offer talented students innovative courses and opportunities to explore complex subjects, collaborate with peers from around the globe, and gain hands-on experience to kickstart college readiness and career interests. 

Course proposals will be due by 5pm on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017Additional information regarding course structure, locations, qualifications, schedules, and more can be found online here.

The submission form for proposals can be found online 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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