March 2015: NC New Teacher Support Program Newsletter

The NC NTSP Welcomes NC State University

The NC NTSP is pleased to welcome NC State University (NCSU) as our sixth regional partner as we expand to serve students, teachers, and schools throughout North Carolina. NC State was founded with a purpose: to create economic, societal and intellectual prosperity for the people of North Carolina and the country. They began as a land-grant institution teaching the agricultural and mechanical arts. Today, they’re a pre-eminent research enterprise that excels in science, technology, engineering, math, design, the humanities and social sciences, textiles and veterinary medicine.

NC State's College of Education offers the best of two worlds: an intimate program in a large, sophisticated university. With more than 33,000 students, NC State is the largest institution in the University of North Carolina system. Yet the College of Education student-faculty ratio is around 15-to-1, which allows students to enjoy extensive interaction with their professors and develop their skills and abilities to their highest potential.

Dr. Jayne Fleener serves as the Dean of NC State’s College of Education. Dean Fleener has over 20 years of professional experience in K-12 and higher education, including teaching high school mathematics and computer science in North Carolina. Dr. Michael Maher is the Assistant Dean for Professional Education and Accreditation and will serve as NC State’s Regional Director for the NC NTSP. Dr. Maher has 17 years of experience in K-12 and higher education and was a high school science teacher in North Carolina. Jaye Taylor will serve as NC State’s first Instructional Coach, serving teachers in the NC INSPIRE program in Harnett, Johnston, Lee, and Wayne Counties.


District Highlights: McDowell County Schools

Western Carolina University is excited to support beginning teachers through NC NTSP in several western North Carolina school systems including McDowell County, Yancey County, Asheville City Middle School, and several other county schools.

McDowell County Schools are located in the foothills of Western North Carolina, about 30 miles east of Asheville.  McDowell County Schools is a rural school district serving approximately 6,500 students and 1000 employees.  The system is comprised of one high school, one early college, one alternative education center, two middle schools, and eight elementary schools.

The Instructional Coaches working with the McDowell school system will support almost 37 beginning teachers at all levels. Mark Garrett, Superintendent of the school district, said, “McDowell County Schools is excited to partner with Western Carolina University and the NC NTSP to provide this direct resource to our newest teachers.  We know that solid mentoring enhances a beginning teacher’s experiences in the classrooms.  We also know that the best support comes from someone who has a trusted relationship with the teacher.  The sole purpose of this position is to support the teacher in the classroom where the real work is getting done each and every day.”



Lenoir County Public Schools Partner with the NC NTSP for Successful Team Building Professional Development

On January 13, 2015, the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP), in partnership with Lenoir County Public Schools (LCPS), held a professional development session entitled, Engaging and Creating Differentiated Instructional Approaches. This session highlight differentiated instruction, resources, strategies, and non-negotiables required to prepare novice teachers to incorporate differentiated instructional strategies in their classroom.

The professional development sessions are quarterly collaborations among the school district, the NC NTSP, and novice teachers to advocate exemplary educators for the 21st Century K-12 curriculum.  Michelle Casey (ECU Instructional Coach) and Kim Hazelgrove (LCPS Beginning Teacher Coordinator) collaborate each quarter to incorporate meaningful professional development for beginning teachers in their first three years of teaching. More than 50 teachers attend quarterly sessions, which offer opportunities to collaborate, establish rapport with colleagues, and partner with novice teachers from all disciplines and grade levels. 

Feedback from novice teachers who share their experience attending professional development:

  • Enjoy discussing ideas with fellow teachers             
  • Interactive, fun, engaging             
  • Good collaboration amongst teachers
  • Lots of different methods-videos, games      
  • Instruction was good!                              
  • Good use of technology in lessons   
  • Awesome enthusiasm!                                                     
  • Appreciate the hands-on group activities    
  • Like being able to share group activities and not just listen to the presenter lecture                    


Research Spotlight: Navigating the Phases of New Teacher Growth

From learning how to remember over 100 new names, to how one keeps up with mountains of student work, one thing is certain: the first years of teaching are particularly challenging. As a beginning teacher, the feelings and attitudes that accompany such experiences often range through a number of phases (Moir, 1990), including: anticipation, survival, disillusionment, rejuvenation, reflection, and back to anticipation. Based on work done with over 1500 new teachers, founder and Executive Chief Officer of the New Teacher Center, Ellen Moir, suggests that recognizing and reflecting on such phases may aid new teachers as they navigate the ups and downs of a challenge first year. As you read through the phase descriptions below, consider the following questions:

- What phases have I experienced? How did these phases influence my teaching?

- What phase am I currently experiencing?

- Based on my answers, what kinds of support might I need from my mentor/Beginning Teacher Coach?


- begins with the pre-service teacher experience

- usually lasts a few weeks.

- includes feelings of:

            - excitement and anxiety about the unknown

            - a sense of commitment to making a difference

            - idealistic views of how to accomplish goals


- may last from one to several months

- time management often becomes a priority

- includes feelings of:

            - being overwhelmed

            - uncertainty about how to go about getting things done

            - exhaustion and surprise about the amount of work


- intensity and length of this phase can vary

- new challenges often add to existing stresses (e.g., parent conferences, first formal evaluations)

- includes feelings of:

            - disenchantment

            - self-doubt, low self-esteem

            - low morale


- often begins early in second semester.

- a winter break provides time for organizing materials and lesson planning.

- includes feelings of:

            - renewed hope

            - acceptance about the realities of teaching

            - accomplishment and determination


- may begin as early as February or March, but often does not occur until May

- during this time, teachers begin to think about changes they wish to make for the following year

- includes feelings of:

            - accomplishment

            - relief

            - anticipation (for the following year)

Moir, E. (1990). Phases of first-year teaching. California New Teacher Project. (CDE) [Online]. Retreived from:


Amy Fitchett, UNCC Region Instructional Coach

Amy Fitchett is an Instructional Coach in the UNC Charlotte region of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP). Amy serves at three different schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) district, and loves working with her 60+ first-, second-, and third-year teachers. Amy is excited to spend time with such quality teachers, who work hard every day to brighten children’s lives. She especially appreciates working closely with her colleagues in the program, whom she describes as “amazing, awesome, and incredible.”  She attributes their team work and collaboration to helping her grow and learn as an educator, and friend, daily.

In addition to her work with the NC NTSP, Amy is currently working on her doctorate at UNC Charlotte, with a focus on assessment and early elementary students.  She enjoys working with teachers in all areas of the curriculum, but has a special fondness for reading and language arts. She continues to collaborate with University faculty to help in areas of literacy within CMS. Prior to becoming an Instructional Coach, Amy taught in a variety of schools and grade levels (Pre-K through 4th grade), spanning over 13 years.  She has also worked as adjunct faculty at the University, teaching language arts and reading methods.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, lovingly referred to as the honey badger, and her husband, Paul.



NC NTSP Asks: Q & A with Dr. Christina O’Connor, NC NTSP Regional Director at UNCG

What prompted you to present the work of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education conference in Atlanta?

There is a lot of interest among teacher educators in supporting beginning teachers. In fact, standards for teacher education programs emphasize induction support for program graduates, but often institutions of higher education struggle to set up such a program.  It seemed to me that the work that we are doing with the NC NTSP could serve as a model for other institutions of higher education that are trying to get more involved in beginning teacher support.

What inferences can be made from the evaluation results about this program’s impact at a state level? At a national level?

It is clear from the evaluation results that our program is having a positive impact on teacher retention, teacher job satisfaction and on student achievement. It seems reasonable to infer that similar programs could have the same type of positive impact in other contexts.

How has the position of the program at the University level impacted the success of NC NTSP with schools and districts?

There are two important ways in which being a university-based program contributes to our success. The first way is that we have access to great resources in our teacher education faculty. At the university we have experts in research and practice in a variety of teaching fields who can provide professional development and resources to support the ongoing growth and development of new teachers. The second way is that since the coaches are employed by the university and not the districts or schools, there is a definite separation of the support function from the employment and supervisory functions. I think this helps our coaches to build string relationships with the teachers they support.

Specifically, what structures does the NC NTSP provide to improve the success of beginning teachers statewide?

Most importantly, we provide regular, consistent, classroom-based coaching support. In addition, we provide professional development that is aligned to the specific, emerging needs of beginning teachers, and then we follow up on the professional development with classroom-based coaching. Finally, we provide a professional network of support through the statewide institutes and the coaching team. We become stronger by working together. Our NC NTSP team does a great job of capitalizing on one another’s strengths and making our collective expertise available to all of the teachers we serve.