December 2014: NC New Teacher Support Program Newsletter


Introduction to the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program

Today, one-quarter of the teacher workforce—both nationally and in North Carolina—has less than five years of teaching experience. This trend raises three significant concerns. First, on average, beginning teachers are significantly less effective at raising student achievement than their more experienced peers. Second, beginning teachers are significantly more likely to exit the profession, with one-third leaving teaching during their first three years. This turnover costs school districts approximately $12,000 per departing teacher and often results in the hiring of additional beginning teachers to fill the open positions. Finally, since beginning teachers are more likely to work in high-need schools, the adverse effects are disproportionately experienced by students most in need of high-quality teachers.

As a result, North Carolina created the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) to improve the performance and retention of beginning teachers. The NC NTSP is implemented by the University of North Carolina General Administration (UNC GA) through regional sites at East Carolina University, the UNC Center for School Leadership Development, UNC Charlotte, and UNC Greensboro. The program currently serves 825 teachers in 101 schools in 25 school districts.

The NC NTSP offers each beginning teacher a research-based curriculum and multiple induction services designed to increase effectiveness, enhance instructional skills, and reduce attrition. The NC NTSP provides: (1) an intensive Institute “boot camp”; (2) direct, individualized classroom coaching; & (3) four professional development sessions each year.

For additional information on the work of the NC NTSP, visit


NC NTSP: Improving Student Outcomes and Teacher Retention

The Education Policy Initiative at Carolina (EPIC), Carolina Public Policy provides an independent assessment of the impact and implementation of the NC NTSP. In the first full year of NC NTSP implementation, EPIC researchers found that:

NC NTSP teachers (1) were significantly more effective in elementary and middle grades mathematics and reading; (2) were more likely to return to the state’s public schools—overall, to the same district, and to the same school—in the 2013-14 academic year; and (3) rated the program’s instructional coaching and professional development as more beneficial than their school-provided mentoring and professional development and as more beneficial than comparison sample teachers rated their school-provided mentoring and professional development.

While the research team notes that these results are not causal and are from one year of implementation, the NC NTSP provides novice teachers in low-performing schools with the skills and tools to better promote student achievement and persist in the teaching profession.

For additional information on the work of EPIC, visit


The Essential Introduction: NC NTSP’s First-Year Teacher Institute

In October, beginning teachers from across the state came together in Raleigh and Charlotte for the 2014 North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) Institutes. Ninety-seven first-year teachers from the ECU and UNC-CSLD Regions, 63 first-year teachers from the UNCC and UNCG Regions, and 25 lateral entry teachers representing NC INSPIRE, participated in this year’s Institutes. Each of them shared the NC NTSP’s commitment to connecting beginning teachers with one another, our Instructional Coaches, and powerful learning opportunities.

Instructional Coaches and beginning teachers provided inspiration to one another as they discussed what it means to teach in North Carolina, to serve students well, and to grow as professionals. Teachers engaged in rich conversations around teacher identity, content standards, and ways to meet the needs of students through sessions such as Connecting Your Lessons to the Real World, Centers and Stations, and Standards in the Classroom. Guest speakers, Representative Craig Horn and Special Assistant James Gorham, offered  powerful accounts of the support for educators in the broader community. Regional dinners provided a less formal opportunity for teachers and Instructional Coaches to build their relationships while exploring professional topics of interest.

The NC NTSP Institutes serve as the essential introduction to series of professional development sessions provided by the NC NTSP. The Institutes are one of the hallmarks of our strategy for preparing and retaining North Carolina’s newest teaching professionals.


Felita Gilliam, ECU Region Instructional Coach

Felita Gilliam serves as an Instructional Coach for the East Carolina University (ECU) Region of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP). Felita serves teachers in Duplin and Robeson Counties.

Prior to her time with the NC NTSP, Felita served as a Career and Technical Education teacher, focusing on business education for seven years and a Curriculum Facilitator for five years. As a classroom teacher, she also served as department chair, mentor, and school leadership team member.

When Felita assumed the role of Curriculum Facilitator, she had the opportunity to learn more about leadership amid the various challenges of a high-need school. Felita worked hard to facilitate with other school leaders and the NC Department of Public Instruction Instructional Facilitators. Felita was also charged with creating and deploying professional development. To ensure strong offerings, Felita collaborated with a team to identify the needs of the school and ensure that selections were research-based.

Felita also served as the Induction Coordinator, working closely with first- through third-year teachers. While in this role, Felita gained valuable skills participating in the Wachovia Mentoring Network.

In May 2011, Felita earned her Masters of School Administration.


NC NTSP Asks: What is the most innovative and effective practice you have seen in a beginner teacher’s classroom that impacts student achievement?

"Rick Harabin at Forest Hills High, Union County Public Schools took his students on a trip to the beach to teach a lesson. He taught the lesson and allowed the students to conduct labs on the beach. Also, he partnered with Coastal Carolina University to have a marine biologist come and show the students how to catch fish with a hand-made net. Students were engaged and learned using real-life labs." – Levon Edwards, Instructional Coach, UNCC

"As educators, we do our best to engage our students and give them the best instruction possible.  However, it does not need to be the teacher providing the instruction at all times.  I have one incredible teacher who allows one of her top students to teach other students who are struggling with mathematical concepts.  The student goes to the front of the room, explains the lesson again, and does practice problems with the students.  The other students seem to learn from his lessons, and his understanding becomes deeper as he explains the concepts.  This also allows the teacher to work with different groups of students.  What an awesome way to reach the many levels of her students and build a strong classroom community!" – Carrie Rocha, Instructional Coach, UNCC

"Christie Wolf of Albemarle Road Middle, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools took vocabulary associated with her new unit on poetry (tone, rhythm, stanza, etc.) and had students sit in pairs and rotate the cards around the classroom.  Each pair had one minute to write on the back what they thought the word meant.  Once time was called they passed the card to the next group and continued until they got their original card back.  Then the original group decided on the definition that they thought was the best and shared it with the class.  A great way to review vocabulary that students might have seen before but still might not be sure about.  It gets everyone involved and is more engaging than just writing definitions and hopefully will help students retain the information." – Sequoya Mungo, Instructional Coach, UNCC

"Ian Armstrong at South Providence School, Union County Public Schools is encouraging independent reading and literacy growth via reading logs. After assessing students on their reading levels and learning styles, Mr. Armstrong posted a chart that uses “learning style animals" to represent students' growth by grade level and dominant learning styles. The kinesthetic cheetah is by far the most favored style in the classroom!" – Melissa Sykes, Instructional Coach, UNCC


District Highlights: Thomasville City Schools, UNCG Region

The School District of Thomasville City is nestled in the small community of Thomasville, located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The district is educating 2,446 students at five schools: Thomasville Primary, Liberty Drive Elementary, Thomasville Middle, Thomasville High, and Bulldog Academy. Thomasville City Schools’ Superintendent, Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin passionately promises that "Excellence is the Standard" and collaborates with her team to provide a network of support for students and staff to ensure that promise holds true.

The North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) UNCG Region currently works in collaboration with the Thomasville City Schools and Director of Beginning License and Lateral Entry Teachers, Paula Gaylord, to provide support to all first and second year teachers in each of the five schools. All of the twenty-seven first- or second-year teachers have the opportunity to attend professional development sessions provided monthly on a variety of topics, selected based on the unique needs of beginning teachers in TCS. The beginning teachers each receive direct, individualized classroom coaching from NC NTSP Instructional Coach Tiffani Ramos. More than half of the districts’ first-year beginning teachers elected to spend an entire weekend devoted to professional growth at the NC NTSP Fall Institute in Charlotte, NC on October 18th and 19th. The NC NTSP is proud to partner with the Thomasville City Schools to provide intensive induction support aligned to the needs of this district and the phenomenal beginning teachers it employs.