Spring is a great time of year for new beginnings, rejuvenation, renewal, and reflection. As many school districts are either beginning spring break or starting fresh after the completion of a spring break, it is time to reflect on the journey of the 2016-17 year and to thoughtfully continue the instructional momentum to maximize learning through the rest of the spring semester.
Many school districts have planned for the NC New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) to provide our “Ending on a High Note” professional development session during the months of April, May, and June. During this opportunity for reflection, our Instructional Coaches will facilitate the self-reflective celebration of successes attained this year among beginning teachers and how beginning teachers can begin thinking about lessons learned from 2016-17 as they thoughtfully plan for 2017-18.
Speaking of 2017-18, the NC NTSP continues to expand its work. With the addition of UNC Pembroke and Appalachian State University, we have begun to plan with schools and districts in the Sandhills region and the Northwest region of the state to enhance beginning teacher support. We are committed to address the teacher shortage in every corner of the state by retaining high-quality teachers with proven effectiveness to make a difference in student achievement. Schools and districts who partner with the NC NTSP have nearly 91% teacher retention, an important effort to keep the best teachers in the state’s highest needs schools.
Teachers who participate in the NC NTSP choose to stay in the profession because they experience success in their jobs. With the support they receive from their NC NTSP Instructional Coach, they are given opportunities to deepen their understanding and practice of planning, instruction, and assessment. With more than 800,000 minutes of feedback provided to beginning teachers to date this academic year, our NC NTSP Instructional Coaches have used their experiences as teachers and their skillful, research-based abilities as coaches of adult learners to guide the teachers they support with co-teaching, co-planning, data analysis, modeling lessons, providing resources, and creating a safe space for teachers to rapidly grow along the continuum of effectiveness. Collectively, our Instructional Coaches have more than 434 total years as educators, with 303 years as classroom teachers and 131 years as a coach. More than 14 of our coaches have been teachers of the year.
When I reflect on the amount of experience and dedication of our team, I feel renewed, rejuvenated, and in the spirit of spring. Each day is a new beginning for teachers to experience success and that experience transfers to student success. Happy Spring to all!
All the Best,
Bryan S. Zugelder
Instructional Coach Spotlight: Marquis Mason, UNCC Region
by Misty Cowan-Hathcock, Regional Director, UNCC Region
Marquis Mason is an Instructional Coach for the UNC Charlotte Region of the NC NTSP. Marquis supports teachers in Scotland County Public Schools, Langtree Charter Upper and Lower School in Mooresville, and Charlotte Choice Charter School in Charlotte.
Marquis began his career in education as a high school science teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. He has also taught in Union County Public Schools and at a Charlotte area charter school as a Project Based Learning Instructor. Prior to his role with the NC NTSP, Marquis was an instructional coach with the North Carolina New Schools Project. In addition to his work as an Instructional Coach, Marquis currently teaches STEM courses at Central Piedmont Community College. Marquis received his B.S. in Biology from Winthrop University (Rock Hill, SC). He received his M.A.T. in Science Education from UNC-Charlotte. Marquis is currently pursuing his School Administration add-on certification at UNC-Greensboro.
Principal LaTonya McLean shares these words regarding Marquis, “I would like to commend Mr. Marquis Mason for the exceptional work he has done since serving in Scotland County and specifically at The Shaw Academy where I am Principal. Mr. Mason is very conscientious and passionate about his work. He regularly meets with, plans with, and observes teachers to determine their needs. He provides resources, ideas, and strategies not just while he is on campus but throughout the week. His feedback is very authentic and as a result I have seen teacher growth and a positive impact on student achievement. He has played a major part in our success so far this year. Please help me congratulate him for performing beyond expectations.”
Marquis lives in Charlotte and enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, concerts, and outdoor physical activities.
Recent Event Spotlight: Educational Community
by Tiffani Ramos, Instructional Coach, UNCG Region
The Instructional Coaches from the UNCG Region recently facilitated two professional development (PD) sessions in Rockingham County. Teachers from the six schools served by the NC NTSP came together with the UNCG coaches to add to their repertoire of research-based instructional approaches and continue their mission to achieve the RCS vision of “empowering all students to compete globally.” Both PDs offered teachers the opportunity to choose two sessions of their interest from a variety of sessions on the topic.
During the February 13th professional development at the Booker T. Washington Learning Center in Reidsville, teachers had the opportunity to choose from sessions that would allow them to more effectively match their teaching to their learners. In the cultural competence session, teachers explored a variety of scenarios in which they had the opportunity to experiment with ways they could adapt their instructional approach based on students’ individual cultural needs. Strategies for interpreting language assessment results and adapting instruction based on those results were addressed in the ESL session. Teachers who selected the session on vocabulary were able to gain experience with and practice using strategies that would allow them to select vocabulary most appropriate for each (and all) of their students.
On March 23rd, Wentworth Elementary graciously hosted the professional development focused on ending the year on a high note. Session choices included an opportunity for first-year teachers to reflect upon their individual practice thus far and explore a variety of strategies for guiding students through effective and engaging review strategies. In an exciting BreakoutEDU session, teachers participated in (and began to explore how they could use) “games where players use teamwork and critical thinking to solve challenging puzzles in order to open a locked box” (www.breakoutedu.com). Finally, a third session focused on student mindset and motivation, allowing teachers to experiment with strategies to facilitate their students’ development of a growth mindset and thereby improve their motivation.
The feedback from the professional development sessions indicated that RCS teachers (similar to our students) enjoyed the opportunity to choose sessions that were most interesting/relevant to them and their context(s). The UNCG Instructional Coaches have offered ongoing coaching to RCS teachers on the strategies and instructional approaches from the professional development sessions. NC NTSP’s UNCG Region is honored to serve RCS teachers and firmly believes the mantra that “Rockingham County Schools ROCK!”
NC NTSP Asks: Q & A with Patricia Coldren, BT Coordinator for Lee County Schools
by Melanie Smith, Regional Director, N.C. State Region
This year, the NC NTSP welcomed Lee County Schools to our statewide family. Lindsay Lewis, Instructional Coach for the N.C. State Region, has had the pleasure of serving sixteen of Lee County’s beginning teachers during the 2016-2017 school year. We talked with Patricia Coldren, the Beginning Teacher Coordinator for the district, about their experience with the NC NTSP thus far and the impact it has had on the beginning teachers that participated in the program.
As you think about your partnership this year with the NC New Teacher Support Program, what stands out as most significant with regard to the support your beginning teachers have received?
The time spent building relationships while coaching these new teachers is so important. Our Instructional Coach was so great at making connections with our new teachers. We all know that relationships are important between teacher and student but they are also important between teacher and coach. Also, the ability to truly partner with the district. We really are a team and present a united front of support for our teachers. I was always able to reach out to Lindsay and she was able to reach out to me. Teachers can be supported on multiple levels. I have always said I want to provide teachers with the right support in the right way at the right time. Partnering with the NC NTSP allowed us an extra level of support for the teachers involved in the program.
What would you consider the greatest need of the beginning teachers in Lee County and how has the NC NTSP helped address that need?
As with most beginning teachers ours tend to struggle more in the area of classroom management. Not only was Lindsay able to address those needs with specific strategies and modeling, she was able to help teachers see the connection between instruction and management. She could help them bridge the gap of providing intentional and engaging instruction, which in turn limits their behavior and management issues.
To colleagues in other districts who might be considering a partnership with the NC NTSP, what advice might you share?
Be intentional in who you select to receive service. Consider location, area, level, and need. We focused on our Lateral Entry teachers and some of our second year teachers who were still having management challenges. We focused on secondary to limit the amount of travel because less travel equals more time coaching. And take advantage of professional development for your teachers. But most importantly make sure you build a relationship with your Instructional Coach. Providing a unified system of support for your teachers is so important. We have a great relationship with Lindsay and our teachers benefit from the discussions we have and the levels of support we are able to provide together.
Thank you, Patricia, for sharing your thoughts with us and for the opportunity to partner with you in supporting the beginning teachers in Lee County!
Research Spotlight: Beginning Teachers Face Recurring Challenges
by Jennifer Beck, Instructional Coach, WCU Region
Since the 1980s, numerous case studies, research projects, and teacher surveys have revealed common struggles for the majority of beginning teachers. Today’s beginning teachers express their greatest professional challenges as classroom management, student motivation, dealing with the individual differences among students, assessing student work, and relations with parents. These are the very same concerns beginning teachers were identifying some 30 years ago.
Cindi Rigsbee, a Regional Education Facilitator with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, recently surveyed 100 teachers in their first three years of teaching. Her survey consisted of one question: “What information did you need prior to teaching that you weren’t given?” Although the responses varied, most answers fell into two distinct categories. 1) Beginning teachers did not feel they were prepared to handle the paperwork involved in the profession, and 2) Beginning teachers were not prepared to teach students with special needs.
Regrettably, approximately one-third of teachers exit the profession within their first three years of teaching and almost half leave the profession within five years. Research now indicates that novice teachers’ participation in beginning teacher support programs is linked to increased retention, higher job satisfaction, greater commitment, and demonstration of more effective instructional practice. North Carolina and Kentucky have developed state standards for the support of beginning teachers that local school districts must adhere to. In North Carolina, the Beginning Teacher Support Standards are:
Standard 1: Systematic Support for High Quality Induction Programs
Standard 2: Mentor Selection, Development, and Support
Standard 3: Mentoring of Instructional Excellence
Standard 4: Beginning Teacher Professional Development
Standard 5: Formative Assessment of Candidates and Programs
Fortunately, here in North Carolina, the NC New Teacher Support Program is available in partnering school districts to layer additional, specialized, support for beginning teachers during the critical first three years of teaching. The goal of the NC NTSP is to improve the effectiveness of beginning teachers through intensive induction support aligned to each teacher’s individual needs, teaching assignment, and school environment. This comprehensive induction program offers multiple individualized services designed to increase teacher effectiveness, enhance skills, and reduce attrition among beginning teachers.
Stansbury, K., & Zimmerman, J. (2000). Lifelines to the Classroom: DESIGNING SUPPORT for BEGINNING TEACHERS[Pamphlet]. San Francisco, CA: WestEd.
Rigsbee, C. (2016, June 7). What Do Beginning Teachers Really Need? Education Week Teacher. Retrieved from edweek.org
Goodwin, B. (2012, May). Research Says / New Teachers Face Three Common Challenges. Educational Leadership, 69(8), 84-85. Retrieved from ASCD.org
Goldrick, L. (2016, March). Support From The Start A 50-State Review of Policies on New Educator Induction and Mentoring(Publication). Retrieved newteachercenter.org