NC NTSP Connect: February 2015 Newsletter

UNC Board of Governors Recommendations Include Funding and Expanding the NC NTSP

On Tuesday, January 27, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors held an Education Summit to focus on strengthening and improving the preparation of teachers and school leaders for North Carolina's public schools. The special meeting, held at SAS in Cary, also included members of the State Board of Education, legislators and other state officials and educators from across the UNC system.

More than 200 attendees heard key recommendations from a special Board of Governors Subcommittee on Teacher and School Leader Quality, which over the past year has met with deans of UNC's 15 Schools of Education, faculty, public school personnel administrators, school superintendents, legislators, policymakers and others to better understand improvements that are needed, as well as the complexities and challenges involved. The summit also featured a panel discussion on educator quality and quantity.

The UNC Board of Governors places a premium on teacher and school leader preparation and seeks to advance this priority in the UNC System through the Office of University-School Programs at UNC General Administration, which oversees PK-16 initiatives throughout the University. The Board seeks to further elevate this priority and fulfill its commitment through the following key recommendations:

1. Ensure greater public accountability through development of a UNC teacher quality dashboard

2. Accelerate collaboration among UNC Colleges of Education and Arts & Sciences in a more formalized process that emphasizes alignment of academic expectations, embraces data and evidence of effective practice, and promotes innovation in teaching and learning.

3. Strengthen and align partnerships between colleges of education and PK-12 schools to achieve meaningful and mutually beneficial collaboration.

4. Improve teacher preparation by taking the following actions:

     • Expand high-quality, clinical practice

     • Use research-based evidence to guide measurable improvement in teacher preparation programs

     • Link candidate performance with valid and reliable performance assessments that are data- and evidence-based.    

5. Improve the selection process and criteria for entry into principal preparation programs, redesign programs where necessary, and scale best practices in evidence-based models for school leadership
preparation and development.

6. Strengthen recruitment and selection criteria (both academic and non-cognitive) for prospective teacher candidates.

7. Improve support for early-career teachers by adopting and expanding statewide the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program.

The full  copy of the UNC Board of Governors’ Teacher Quality Recommendations can be found at the following link:

The NC NTSP Welcomes Western Carolina University

The NC NTSP is pleased to welcome Western Carolina University (WCU) as our fifth regional partner as we expand to serve students, teachers, and schools in western North Carolina. WCU was founded in 1889 to bring higher education and career opportunities to the western region of North Carolina. A member of the University of North Carolina system, WCU now provides an education to more than 10,000 students from 48 states and 35 countries. The university’s mission is focused on quality education and preparation for responsible citizenship in a changing world. The primary role of the College of Education and Allied Professions is to prepare educators, counselors, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, recreation personnel and other human service specialists at both entry and advanced levels. The School of Teaching and Learning offers programs in elementary education (K-6), middle grades education (6-9), secondary education (9-12), special education (K-12), health and physical education (K-12), and special subject areas (K-12). The College has newly approved, fully online MAEd programs in Elementary and Middle Grades Education. Dr. Dale Carpenter is the Dean of WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions. Dr. Carpenter has been at Western since 1979 as a professor of special education and was associate dean for ten years. Dr. Pam Buskey, a full-time visiting instructor at WCU, will serve as the Regional Director for the NC NTSP. This spring, WCU’s two Instructional Coaches will serve schools in Asheville City, Yancey County, and McDowell County and NC INSPIRE teachers in schools in Haywood, Buncombe, and Jackson counties.


Integrating Neuroscience into Mathematics Instruction (INMI) Pilot Program

East Carolina University’s (ECU) College of Education, in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP), and two high-need Local Education Agencies have been funded by the Quality Educators through Staff Development and Training across North Carolina (NC QUEST) program for implementation of the Integrating Neuroscience into Mathematics Instruction (INMI) Pilot Program. The INMI pilot project consists of an intensive, scientifically-based professional development program designed to assist beginning teachers in becoming highly knowledgeable and pedagogically skilled in leading students to mastery of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.

The INMI pilot project is targeting elementary schools in Edgecombe County (Princeville Elementary and Coker Wimberly Elementary School) and in Hertford County (Ahoskie Elementary, Riverview Elementary, and Bearfield Primary).  The project consists of twenty-six beginning teachers who are participating in a year-long professional development program designed to increase their knowledge of the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, brain-compatible elements of mathematics instruction, brain-compatible instructional strategies, and whole-brain teaching techniques.

During the initial stages of the INMI project, the curriculum development team traveled to San Antonio, Texas for extensive training in brain-compatible instructional strategies. Eric Jensen, a leader in brain-based education, provided instruction through a four-day hands-on experiential training that explored the application of neuroscience in the classroom. The curriculum development team applied this knowledge in its work with content to develop research-based professional development sessions that began in August, 2014 and are ongoing throughout the 2014-15 academic year.

            Through participants’ evaluations, the INMI project has received feedback such as:

  • I enjoy incorporating the whole brain techniques such as, CLASS/YES and TEACH!OK.
  • The professional development is relevant to what we are teaching.
  • Learning to put movement and music to math is engaging.
  • The time to converse with other teachers is excellent!

INMI Curriculum Team attended Teaching With the Brain In Mind.  San Antonio Texas, June 2014

Beginning teachers from Hertford County attended Summer Institute. Bearfield Primary, August 2014

Beginning teachers from Edgecombe County use fun recess equipment (hula hoops, bean bags, and balls) to remediate and differentiate math content.  Coker Wimberly Elementary, November 2014.



Mentoring Partnership: Union County Public Schools & Monroe Police Department

Not only does the NC NTSP program promote teacher success but it also encourages student achievement and community engagement. One such program that has been created by NC NTSP Instructional Coach Melissa Sykes is the mentoring partnership set up between officers from Monroe Police Department and middle school students at South Providence School, the alternative school for Union County Public Schools in the UNC-Charlotte of the NC NTSP.

Every other week, Monroe Police Officers Timothy Sykes and Cris Carrion meet with their mentees to discuss highs, lows, and their plans for the future. The officers not only connect with students on the realities of their choices, but also encourage positive behaviors and discuss long- and short-term goals, including promotion back to their home school. In addition, the mentors reflect with students on classroom behaviors, potential career paths, and the necessary steps the students must take to achieve their dreams. The conversations are candid and the students are pushed to discuss peer pressure, gang involvement, and some of the life choices they have confronted. The officers offer a level of support that provides students with positive alternatives.

These community connections have encouraged students to see their school as a community. Special thanks to the Monroe Police Department for this meaningful partnership with South Providence High School and the Union County Public Schools.


Valencia Carmichael, UNCG Region Instructional Coach

Valencia Carmichael is an Instructional Coach in the UNCG region of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) currently serving elementary and middle schools in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County.

Prior to joining the NC NTSP. Valencia served as an educator in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools for more than ten years, most recently as a K-5 math coach.  While serving as a math coach she was able to provide teachers with professional development, co-teaching, model lessons, and planning sessions. Before being a math coach Valencia was a classroom teacher.  She is proud that her students made high growth in both math and reading and that she utilized technology and made connections with each of her students. Valencia has served the students in high need schools and has a true passion for what she does. Her passion and commitment led to her being recognized twice as teacher of the year by her colleagues.

Valencia received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Winston-Salem State University and a Master’s degree in reading and curriculum and instruction from Grand Canyon University. She lives with her husband and two children in Winston-Salem.


District Highlights:  Halifax County Schools, UNC-CSLD Region

The Center for School Leadership Development region of the NC NTSP currently serves 50 beginning teachers in the seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools of Halifax County Schools.  Ms. Sharon Arrington, Coordinator of Teacher Support Programs for Halifax County Schools, said of the partnership, “With a wide range of instructional expertise, the coaches from the Center for School Leadership Development (CSLD) have offered rich professional development opportunities, along with unparalleled implementation support through weekly coaching visits during the school year.” 

The UNC-CSLD Region’s support goes beyond the technical aspects of the profession as well.  Many of the new teachers in Halifax County come from other parts of the country.  Adapting to a new home and coming to understand the unique experiences students there bring to the classroom is an important part of the new teacher experience.  NC NTSP coaches help to facilitate this transition.  Christopher Ferranti, one such teacher, described the role of his coach, Bradley Sasser, last year in the following way:  “He was also very helpful with giving me ideas with how to connect with students from an area such as Halifax County. I am sure his advice not only helped me improve as a first year educator, but also helped make my lessons more valuable for my students.”

Rich in historical, cultural, and scientific resources, the Halifax County affords many diverse opportunities for learning for its students.  Tours of Historic Halifax (home of the Halifax Resolves of April 12, 1775), opportunities to interact with the members of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, and the nearly nine-year-old Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park which attracts ornithologists from as far away as the San Diego Zoo, all available within the county, offer enriching learning experiences to the students of Halifax County Schools.  Pointing our new teachers to these valuable local resources is another of the many ways that the coaches of the NC NTSP seek to integrate community, school, and human resources to form a strong web of support for the new teachers and the students of Halifax County Schools.

Pictured above: Courtney Battle, BT1, Enfield Middle, 6th grade English Language Arts

Dawson Elementary School: Suzanne Keller, BT1, 4th grade & Amy Richardson, Principal

Enfield Middle: Ryan Brocious, SP II, NC NTSP Alumnus, 6th grade Social Studies &

Kenneth Ramsey, BT I, 6th grade Mathematics work together on a Grade Level PLC Collaboration



NC NTSP Asks: Q & A with Dr. Alisa Chapman, UNC General Administration Vice President for Academic and University Programs

  • What statewide issues or concerns led to the call for an Education Summit?

At the January 2014, UNC Board of Governors’ meeting, Chairman Peter Hans formed the Teacher and School Leader Quality Subcommittee to be chaired by Ms. Ann Goodnight.  Over the last year, the Subcommittee was charged to reviewed teacher and principal preparation and teacher / school leader quality issues that impact North Carolina’s public schools and to identify how the University could be more responsive to these important issues.  The UNC Board of Governors held an Education Summit on January 27, 2015 to present the recommendation of the Subcommittee to the full Board, UNC campus leadership, State Board of Education members, legislators, and other education leaders in North Carolina.

  • How will the recommendations from the Education Summit impact the priorities and ongoing work of the UNC Board of Governors and state?

Recommendations from the UNC Board of Governors Subcommittee on Teacher and School Leader Quality target strengthening, focusing and, if needed, even redesigning components of our educator preparation programs, including teacher preparation and principal preparation.  The recommendations call for greater accountability for teacher / principal preparation with each of our institutions, as well as greater collaboration and communication within the University and across the PK16 spectrum.   

  • What's next? How will the UNC Board of Governors continue the work and statewide conversation that began at the Education Summit?

The focused work, attention and dedication of the UNC Board of Governors Subcommittee on Teacher and School Leader Quality, including the recommendations  released at the January 2015 Education Summit, acknowledges the University’s priority of strengthening North Carolina’s public schools and teacher and principal preparation programs.  Preparing more, higher quality teachers and school leaders continues to be one of the University’s highest priorities.