August 2016: NC New Teacher Support Program Newsletter

Dear Colleagues:

As our good friend Harry Wong stated, we know the successes that happen during the school year are determined by what happens during the very first days of school.  You have prepared all summer for the first days of the 2016-17 school year and we are honored to have joined you in your efforts to offer beginning teacher orientations and pre-planning support.  We are also thrilled to have collaborated with you throughout the summer and to continue in the coming days to align the supports of the NC New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) with your professional development and instructional coaching needs for the year.  Our Instructional Coaches are committed to working with your beginning teachers to support their growth along the teacher effectiveness continuum and demonstrate that commitment through life-long learning.  All summer, our coaches have engaged in rigorous professional development on instructional coaching cycles, professional growth mindsets, strengths-based coaching, and evidence-based tools to help teachers grow.

The 2016 Fall Institute registration is now open online.  Click here to register.  Fall Institute is designed for participating first year beginning and lateral entry teachers and will be held at UNC-Charlotte September 23-25 and at Crossroads in Cary September 30-October 2.  To learn more, visit http://ncntsp.northcarolina.edu/content/2016-fall-institute.

We are so delighted to have additional district partners who have joined our shared leadership model and who have asked the NC NTSP to work in tandem with them to support beginning teachers in their schools.  We welcome the following as the newest members to our partnership network, representing more than 300 additional teachers served by the NC NTSP in 2016-17:

  • Charlotte Choice Charter School
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
  • Cherokee Central Schools
  • Edgecombe County Public Schools
  • Graham County Schools
  • Guilford Preparatory Academy
  • Harnett County Schools
  • Hope Charter Leadership Academy
  • Lee County Schools
  • Northampton County Schools
  • Stanly County Schools
  • Union County Public Schools
  • Vance County Schools

We are proud of the accomplishments of our program and know that it is only through our collaborative efforts that we support beginning teachers to ultimately benefit the students of North Carolina.

We wish you the best as you approach the start of the new academic year.  We are honored to be a part of your team.

All the Best,

Bryan S. Zugelder

 

NC NTSP Coach Profile – UNC Charlotte Region Coach Carrie Rocha

By Misty Hathcock, NC NTSP Regional Director, UNC Charlotte

 

Carrie Rocha is an Instructional Coach for the UNC Charlotte (UNCC) Region of the NC NTSP.  Carrie serves teachers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and has been with the NC NTSP since 2012. 

Carrie received her B.A. in Middle Grades Education from UNC Chapel Hill where she was a NC Teaching Fellow. She worked in the Chapel Hill–Carrboro City Schools where she taught 6th grade social studies. Carrie went on to receive her Master of Education degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She returned to the classroom at Carrington Middle School in Durham Public Schools where she taught social studies, served as team leader and professional learning community leader, and mentored beginning teachers. At Carrington, she was twice selected as Teacher of the Year. In 2012, she was selected as one of the four finalists for Teacher of the Year in Durham Public Schools. After almost a decade in the classroom, Carrie is committed to supporting teachers as they face challenges, embrace adventures, and enhance the educational experiences of their students.

Principal Toni Perry from Albemarle Road Middle School in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools says about Carrie, “I am so excited about the support UNCC's NC New Teacher Support Program has provided to our newest teachers! Not only do they provide strategic professional development based on trends with new teachers at our school, they also schedule time to visit and support individual teachers. Carrie has been a valued asset to our team and our BTSP teachers rely on her to help expedite their teaching capacity in order to better impact learning for our students. I am very grateful for the partnership we have with the NC New Teacher Support Program.”

When she is not supporting beginning teachers, Carrie enjoys spending time with her husband, her energetic and adorable toddler, and their pug.  She loves to travel, go to the theater, and read.  

 

Spotlight on Roanoke Rapids Graded School District

By Wayne Williams, NC NTSP Instructional Coach, NC State University

Aside from their great athleticism, their ability to win on the world stage, and their media presence, many things unite Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, and Usain Bolt.  But they share one other, less obvious commonality.

Each of them refined his or her skills and abilities through working with a coach.

The newest teachers of Roanoke Rapids Graded School District (RRGSD) met with coaches from the NC NTSP on August 17, 2016, as a part of their induction activities, to reflect on what brought them to teaching, what it will take to bring them success through teaching, and to meet the coaches who are eager to support them on their journey.

Participants were eager to share their thoughts with each other as they considered their questions, their goals, and the gifts they bring that will allow them to inspire success in their students.  The group explored classroom physical setup, the day-to-day procedures they would need to establish, but most importantly, the criticality of relationships to their success.  They also had the opportunity to hear from three NC NTSP veteran teachers, who shared their experiences as new teachers in RRGSD and as participants in the NC NTSP. 

Among those present were several RRGSD veteran teacher assistants and substitute teachers, now moving on to their own classrooms, evidence of the district’s ongoing commitment to promote from within and support growth among its people.  Like so many of our partner districts, RRGSD recognizes that education is a business of helping all stakeholders better themselves, and strives to put that recognition into practice in tangible ways.  That is just one of the many reasons RRGSD and NC NTSP continue to sustain such a productive partnership. 

Unlike Olympic athletes, RRGSD and NC NTSP don’t compete for medals.  The awards we seek are found in the diplomas we make possible for students.  But like Olympic athletes, we strive to be better people and professionals tomorrow than we were today.  And also like Olympic athletes, both organizations recognize that advancement of that kind requires a knowledgeable guide – a coach – who can bring out each person’s best self.

 

NC NTSP Q&A

Getting off to a good start!

Featuring Novice teachers from Eastern North Carolina (Pitt County, Perquimans County, & Lenoir County)

By April Shackleford, NC NTSP Instructional Coach, East Carolina University

 

    

Many teachers feel it is all-important to "set the tone" of the class by getting right into a meaty assignment during the first class period. Although well intentioned, that objective is not aligned with the students' needs. Think of yourself suddenly thrown together with a group of your peers: some you know and some you don't; a few are good friends you haven't seen in months. Some social "settling in" is needed.  (Jones, 2007)

How do you tell students who you are?

Wellcome Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus – “I tell students who I am by showing an “All About Me” using technology that I want them to eventually use in my classroom (Thinglink, Smore, Infographic).”

Perquimans County Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - I have an all about me power point that I show on the first day of school. The first time I go through the powerpoint, I do not say anything I just show them pictures that include my favorite things. As they are looking at the pictures, they have a questionnaire to fill out to try to see how many answers they can get correct without my help. For example, one of the questions is "What is Mrs. Hoffman's favorite sports team?" I have a picture of myself standing in front of the Lambeau Field Stadium, so the students might be able to guess "Green Bay Packers" if they follow the sport. When I show the pictures again, we trade papers and talk about the responses that the students wrote down (some are quite comical) and it gives me a chance to also make a connection for the students about how much more the students can learn when they listen to the teacher going over material rather than just looking at the pictures.

Contentnea Savannah School NC NTSP beginning teacher - I have a class website that I use, and there is a tab where I give a short bio of myself and have a few pictures of my family.

How do you discover who your students are?

Wellcome Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - I use AVID icebreaker activities the first two weeks of school. The first one is the name tent activity in which students write their names in the middle and illustrate four other things about themselves. They stand and share with groups of 2-3 using a sentence frame provided by me. I also use student interest and learning styles to gain a better understanding of each type of learner. This information is used to make sure I include relevant topics/subjects throughout my instruction and help build a positive relationship with my students.

Perquimans County Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - I have a student interest survey that I ask the students to complete about themselves (similar to a fill in the paparazzi magazine article) but then I also have a parent survey so that I can hear from the parents about what strengths their child has as well as areas that their child will likely need more support with during the school year.

Contentnea Savannah School NC NTSP beginning teacher - I have students decorate a paper t-shirt and write words or phrases that describe them.

What icebreaker activity have you found that students really seem to respond to?

Wellcome Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - Mingle Bingo is the icebreaker that students seem to respond to best because it allows them to move around the room and socialize with their peers. 

Perquimans County Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus – I love to do the pen toss! Students hold their hand palm down and parallel to the floor. Then they set a pen across their middle knuckle joints. The goal is for the student to see how many times they can catch the pen in the palm of their hand by tossing the pen up and catching it. They get 3 tries with 30 seconds each try. A partner will time and count the number of consecutive catches and record it in the data table (typically their numbers improve with each try). Then their partner gets to try the same activity and the process is repeated one more time so that each student has 6 trials on their data table. I have found the following assumptions to be true during this activity that I have asked the students to relate to their learning.

1. The task was hard at first but it got easier as I practiced it.

2. The task looked simple when I watched my partner doing it.

3. I thought I could do it better than my partner even though I had never tried it.

It's a memorable way to allow the students to internalize the importance of practice (studying), patience and persistence with their school work without a "boring lecture." Also, we use the data to review graphing, trends and explaining quantitative information.

Contentnea Savannah School NC NTSP beginning teacher - I have a set of icebreaker questions from Kagan that I use to do a Stand Up-Hand Up-Pair Up activity for students to get to know each other a little better or to talk about things that happened over summer.

Why is it important for you to invest time and energy that produces comfort among your students?

Wellcome Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - It is important to invest time and energy making students feel at ease because they will "buy in" to what you are trying to teach. Students want to know that you care about them outside of the classroom. For some students, we are the nurturer or the only positive support they will get throughout the day.

Perquimans County Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - A comfortable student is willing to take academic risks and try things that they once would have pushed aside as too hard. Also, a student who feels comfortable in your room is more likely to reach out and ask for your help when they don't understand rather than just shut down or act out in an effort to be sent out of the room to avoid the work.

Contentnea Savannah School NC NTSP beginning teacher - If my students are not comfortable in my classroom, then they are at a disadvantage to learn anything. If they don't feel respected by me and their peers, they will not feel as though they can relax and really learn.

How do you primarily communicate with parents and guardians?

Wellcome Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - I communicate with parents via Remind, email, conferences, and phone calls.

Perquimans County Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - I send a text message home every night with studying/homework reminders as well as other important dates or announcements. I have found however, that picking up the phone is the most effective way to talk to parents because all questions and concerns can be answered in real time instead of playing e-mail tag, it is important to document what was discussed in the call so that if needed you can reference it later. If there is a notice about grade communication I often send an e-mail requesting parent contact before I make the call, so that I do have that sent message for documentation purposes.

Contentnea Savannah School NC NTSP beginning teacher - I have a classroom website that I use to communicate homework and have a place where parents can email me. I am also implementing Remind101 so parents can send messages if they need to.

How do you maximize prep time with your colleagues?

Wellcome Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - I maximize prep time with my colleagues by sticking to the agenda and making sure that we each bring something to the table when trying to plan or make decisions for students or planning.

Perquimans County Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus – We always e-mail ahead of time what needs to be discussed so that everyone can come prepared with their information.

Contentnea Savannah School NC NTSP beginning teacher -

What technology platforms/tools do you frequently incorporate in your classroom?

Wellcome Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - I use Zaption, Waggle, Quizizz, Flocabulary, Newsela, Google docs, Thinglink, Actively Learn, floridastudents.org, MobyMax.

Perquimans County Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus – I love having a class web page. It is like my digital assignment folder that the students can access at any time, from anywhere, to get extra copies for themselves. I also love quizlet.com for vocabulary practice. There are so many cool things that the web site can do FOR FREE and the students especially love the "Quizlet Live" that allows small group and whole class review. I prefer Nearpod for my slideshows and I pay for the version that allows me to assign a slide show for homework and will track student data for me as well as insert links that the students can only keep open as long as I allow them to and then it will take them back to my slides when I am ready to move on.

Contentnea Savannah School NC NTSP beginning teacher - We have a 1:1 iPad initiative for our county. We use all sorts of apps and online resources to assist with student learning. Students are able to do projects using Keynote or iMovie rather than drawing on a posterboard. It's awesome!

How do you motivate students?

Wellcome Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - I motivate my students by attending their sports events at school or on the weekends. I use PROPS, candy, and utilize our House system to reward points for behavior. I also model positive feedback and student conferences to motivate my students.

Perquimans County Middle School NC NTSP Alumnus - Praise. Giving credit where credit is due helps to build the classroom culture of respect and value as well as setting the expectation for success. Even if the student missed every question I find it beneficial to find something positive to praise them for in the work that they submitted so that the positive correction is better received. On special occasions, tangible rewards are given but very infrequently so that it truly is a special treat when they are passed out.

Contentnea Savannah School NC NTSP beginning teacher - I think students learn best when they are having fun. We use interactive notebooks in my classroom rather than traditional notes. But my biggest thing is having fun activities or labs to get students to forget they are learning. I have even tried to do some whole braining teaching.

Jones, Fred (2007). Tools for Teaching. Frederic H. Jones & Associates, Inc.

 

Research Spotlight 

By Christina O'Connor, NC NTSP Regional Director, UNC Greensboro

A 2015 working paper by the National Center for Research on Rural Education (White, Howell Smith, Kunz & Nugent) uses a literature review and an adapted grounded theory approach to identify key ingredients of instructional coaching. This study groups these ingredients into four categories: coach characteristics, teacher characteristics, relationship components, and stages of the coaching process.

The NC NTSP coaching model is in close alignment with these findings. For example, White et al (2015) found that requisite coach characteristics include expertise in the content area, classroom experience, proficiency with technology, a flexible schedule, viewing coaching as a partnership, and strong interpersonal and communication skills.  NC NTSP coaches are selected specifically for their coaching orientation, expertise, and interpersonal skills.

Likewise, the NC NTSP coaching model is reflected in the ingredients listed under relationship components and stages of the coaching process:

Relationship Components

  • Emphasis on positive feedback
  • Rapport
  • Mutual respect
  • Reciprocal trust

Stages of the Goal-directed Coaching Process

  • Joint planning
  • Action/practice
  • Observation
  • Individual reflection
  • Feedback
  • Reflective Discussion

White et al (2015) emphasize the importance of improved student outcomes as a key ingredient of instructional coaching.  The NC NTSP has demonstrated improved student outcomes, improved teacher retention, and improved teacher effectiveness (ncntsp.northcarolina.edu).

References

What we have accomplished. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2016, from http://ncntsp.northcarolina.edu/content/what-we-have-accomplished

White, A. S., Howell Smith, M., Kunz, G. M., & Nugent, G. C. (2015). Active ingredients of instructional coaching: Developing a conceptual framework (R2Ed Working Paper No. 2015-3). Retrieved from r2ed.unl.edu