Public School Forum Expanding Beginning Teacher Network Statewide, Grant from Golden Corral Supports Expansion Beyond Wake County

RALEIGH, NC (October 15, 2015) – The Public School Forum of North Carolina announced today it is expanding its Beginning Teacher Network (BTN) to Mecklenburg and Union Counties in the spring of 2016, with more counties on the way. The BTN began as a pilot program in Wake County earlier this year, growing rapidly from 24 early-career teachers in the first group to more than 80 this fall. The Public School Forum began recruiting teachers in Mecklenburg and Union counties this month. The Public School Forum is in active discussions to bring the program to two additional counties by the spring. Golden Corral, which supported the Wake County pilot, is investing $150,000 over three years to support the expansion of this new effort.

“This unique program offers early-career teachers the chance to continue their development as classroom instructors, while learning how to advocate for the education profession,” said Forum President and Executive Director Keith Poston. “We believe supporting teachers early in their careers will pay big dividends down the road, both in retaining our teaching talent, but also accelerating their growth toward becoming great teachers.”

The BTN takes a three-pronged approach to teacher leadership by focusing on the areas of education policy, cross-curricular collaboration, and professional development.

  • Education Policy: Teachers participating in the network gain a baseline understanding of key education policy issues and strategies for engaging in policy discussions.
  • Cross-Curricular Collaboration: Through collaboration, teachers enhance their understanding of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and their specific disciplines.
  • Professional Development: Teachers strengthen knowledge, develop skills, and learn strategies to improve classroom instruction and student learning

The focus on policy is unique among programs for beginning teachers. “We weave policy into the program because we believe better education policy happens when classroom teachers are involved and engaged, sharing their real-world perspectives on how policy decisions made at all levels impact student learning,” Poston said. By bringing together educational practice and policy, the Public School Forum hopes to produce teachers that are “empowered to lead and informed to change” in a new era of teaching.

BTN work sessions are held monthly during the traditional academic year, after school hours, at central locations in participating counties. Each work session covers topics chosen by teachers and provides strategies, policy discussions, or guest speakers to address a wide range of interest areas. Additionally, the BTN offers teachers opportunities outside monthly work sessions to form networks using digital tools and social media for greater growth.

The BTN is a teacher-led network, with all activities and topics selected by teachers, for teachers. The Public School Forum of North Carolina administers the BTN, in line with its long, rich history of developing and leading programs that enable and empower teachers and education leaders, including the NC Teaching Fellows Program, the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP), the Institute for Educational Policymakers, and the NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP).

The Mecklenburg and Union BTN will continue accepting applications throughout the fall and identifying teacher leaders to plan sessions beginning in January. As the program expands, in future years, the Forum plans to bring BTN participants from across the state together for a Legislative Day in Raleigh and graduation event. Teachers interested in the program in Wake, Mecklenburg or Union counties can apply online at http://www.ncforum.org/beginning-teacher-network/. School Administrators interested in bringing this program to their counties should contact James Ford, Program Director, at jford@ncforum.org.

About the Public School Forum of North Carolina

Since 1986, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has been an indispensable and nonpartisan champion of better schools and the most trusted source in the state for research and analysis on vital education issues. We bring together leaders from business, education and government to study education issues, develop ideas, seek consensus, and ultimately inform and shape education policy. We do that through research, policy work, innovative programs, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Follow us on Twitter @theNCForum and visit our website at http://www.ncforum.org/.

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