The 2016-17 school year has been so fulfilling and rewarding. I am delighted that we will expand our support to additional schools and districts in 2017-18 with our new anchor institutions: Appalachian State University, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As I reflect upon our efforts this school year through the UNC system’s anchor institutions and NC public and charter schools, I am not surprised at the commitment we have had together to improve beginning teacher effectiveness for the ultimate goal of improving student achievement. Beginning with the summer of 2016, our NC NTSP Instructional Coaches worked with district personnel to plan professional development sessions based on beginning teacher research, trends in coaching data, trends in professional development evaluations, and district feedback. Our planning together resulted in 103 professional development sessions offered throughout the state during the 2016-17 school year. More than 300 first-year teachers attended our Fall Institutes in Raleigh and Charlotte, where they benefited from participating in professional learning opportunities focused on the NC Professional Teaching Standards.
Most impressive are the interactions that 900 beginning teachers had with their respective NC NTSP Instructional Coaches. Collectively, coaches visited teachers 25,848 times in 2016-17, accounting for more than one million minutes of instructional coaching. With our intentional focus on planning, instruction, and assessment, we saw beginning teachers drastically make gains in their teaching effectiveness throughout the year. Teacher success leads to student success. Teacher success also contributes to high levels of teacher retention.
We look forward to planning with our schools and districts throughout the summer as we look ahead to 2017-18. Our 2017 Fall Institutes are already planned for September 22-24 in Charlotte and October 13-15 in Raleigh. Further details are coming soon! While we are enthusiastically planning for next year, I hope everyone finds time this summer to rest, rejuvenate, and renew. Thanks to all for making our collaborative work an ongoing success story, where beginning teacher support is a shared commitment.
All the Best,
Bryan S. Zugelder
Instructional Coach Spotlight: Tiffani Ramos, UNCG Region
by Christina O'Connor, Regional Director, UNCG Region
Tiffani Ramos is an Instructional Coach for the UNCG Region of the NC NTSP. Tiffani currently supports teachers in Rockingham County Schools and Alamance Burlington Schools. Tiffani grew up in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia, where she also obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Concord University. After college, Tiffani moved to North Carolina and began teaching. She was a classroom teacher and reading specialist in elementary and middle schools in Guilford County prior to joining the NC NTSP. Tiffani is passionate about children, teachers, and literacy and recently completed a Master’s degree in Reading Education at UNCG.
Dr. Barbara Armstrong of Thomasville City Schools said, “We, especially, appreciate Tiffani in her efforts to spread her knowledge and expertise to our beginning teachers. She definitely is an asset to your program!”
Tiffani is married to fellow UNCG alumnus, Joe, and has four amazing children. When not working with teachers or spending time with her family, Tiffani is a fitness enthusiast, but she is currently spending all her free time rehabbing a newly purchased home!
Recent Event Spotlight: Differentiated Professional Development with Charter Schools USA
by Marquis Mason, Instructional Coach, UNCC Region
Union Preparatory Academy
Instructional Coach Kim Ramadan began working at Union Preparatory Academy in January 2017 and has provided two professional development sessions: “Effective Classroom Management” and “Feedback and Assessment.” In January, “Effective Classroom Management” was presented to the beginning teachers, as well as other teachers in the school, during a conference-style professional development day. Most recently, “Feedback and Assessment” was presented to the entire Union Preparatory Academy staff of about 45 teachers. Melissa Sykes co-presented the session. Kim and Melissa differentiated the professional development for Union Prep by allowing teachers time to analyze their own formative assessments to prepare for end of year assessments.
Langtree Lower School
Tierney Fairchild began working at Langtree Lower School in January 2017. Tierney and fellow coach Carrie Rocha provided professional development sessions to beginning teachers and their mentors on the following sessions: “Designing Engaging Instruction” and “Matching Your Teaching to Your Learners.” Weekly coaching visits with beginning teachers reinforced the strategies shared in these sessions. The final professional development session of the year was “Ending on a High Note: Summarization, Rejuvenation, and Reflection.” In this session, teachers created a timeline of positives and negatives of their first year of teaching. They filled their toolbox with end-of-year test review and survival strategies and also shared successful lesson ideas with each other.
Langtree Upper School
NC NTSP Instructional Coaches Marquis Mason, Carrie Rocha, and Tierney Fairchild began working at Langtree Upper School in January 2017. Since January, they have provided three professional development sessions: “Designing Engaging Instruction,” “Feedback/Assessment,” and “Ending on a High Note.” These sessions were chosen after collaboration with school administration to identify the professional development needs of the teacher. During the first two sessions, teachers were introduced and shared ideas to actively engage their students. They also explored ways to organize and reflect upon their data. In the final session, “Ending on a High Note,” teachers reflected on their school year and teacher identity. Teachers were introduced to some end-of-year activities to use as reflections with their students. One reflection activity asked teachers to create a simile of the teaching profession. One teacher reflected “teaching is like a marathon; sometimes you want to give up but then you realize how far you have come and continue running to the end”.
The UNCC Instructional Coaches reflect that it is a pleasure to watch the exploration, reflection, and growth of the beginning teachers within Charter Schools USA. Their commitment and creativity have impacted student achievement in a positive way. We look forward to continued teacher and student growth as our partnership develops!
Teacher Spotlight: Shannarra Barrow, ECU Region
by April Shackleford, Lead Instructional Coach, ECU Region
Ms. Shannarra Barrow currently serves as the STEM Teacher at Rochelle Middle School in Kinston. Prior to becoming a beginning teacher, Ms. Barrow served as a substitute teacher and an In-School Suspension Coordinator for Lenoir County Schools. In addition to providing classroom instruction to the students in the Kinston area, she is owner of Stage LYFE, LLC., a youth-based dance and performing arts company in Kinston.
Prior to going to college, she was a student at Kinston High School. As a student at Kinston High School, Ms. Barrow participated in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). Ms. Barrow adds, “FBLA taught me a lot about business and had a huge focus on business finance and accounting,” said Ms. Barrow. This pushed me into going into the Accountancy major at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University, where I proudly graduated in 2006.” Ms. Barrow knows that attending, and graduating, from college is very important—so she encourages her STEM and dance students to do just that.
The most rewarding of all her endeavors, is that she is the proud mother of her eight-year-old daughter, who is a 3rd grade honor student at Northwest Elementary in Lenoir County.
Professional Development Spotlight: Jackson County Schools, WCU Region
by Jerad Crave, Instructional Coach, WCU Region
Recently, I had the pleasure of leading a professional development session with Jackson County new teachers on the topic of “Ending on a High Note.” The concept of ending the school year on a high note is a bit like ‘seeing the forest through the trees’ and especially before testing happens, teachers are often times teaching day by day, trying to get to the end of the year. The premise of the PD is on being reflective and focusing on the positive developments happening in teachers’ classrooms, schools and lives, but also thinking about how to improve upon areas of need.
One of the first activities you begin with in this session is to complete the phrase, “teaching is like……” and as expected, there were some creative and representative statements that truly captured the dynamic and challenging elements of what it is to be a teacher. Some of my favorites were “teaching is like conducting an orchestra, with each student representing a different instrument with different needs, sounds, talents, etc.” and “teaching is like like being a chef where you’ve got 25 different things going on in the kitchen and they are all integral to the goal of the final entrees,” but perhaps the best one was, “teaching is like planting a tree and you have to wait years to see the fruits of your love, care, and support.”
During the PD, teachers participated in tasks meant to focus their thinking on what went well and what they could improve upon in upcoming years and through sharing, it was apparent that although there were some tough days for everyone, the overall take away was that their first year of teaching was a success (albeit, an exhausting one…..). With tools, strategies, and a positive outlook for the future, I am certain that Jackson County’s new teachers are going to surpass this year to have an even better year in 2017-18!
School Spotlight: Hope Charter Leadership Academy
by Melanie Smith, Regional Director, NC State Region
In 2016-2017, the NC State Region has welcomed the Hope Charter Leadership Academy to our NC NTSP family. Hope Charter Leadership Academy is nestled in downtown Raleigh in the Historic Oakwood area and operates in the Barbee School Building which was built in 1924. Hope, a “Leader in Me” school, is a caring community of teachers and learners committed to academic and social growth, as well as leadership development. Drawing on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Kids, the school offers daily opportunities for the students to learn and practice the now eight effective habits which include: Be Proactive; Begin with The End in Mind; Put First Things First; Think Win-Win; Seek First to Understand and Then to Be Understood; Synergize; Sharpen the Saw and Find Your Voice. With these habits, the teachers and staff at Hope Charter seek to empower their students to be successful in the school community and beyond.
Hope is also a school with a strong commitment to beginning teacher (BT) support and teacher retention, therefore their Principal, Clarissa Fleming, and BT Coordinator, Cher Perry, have joined with the NC NTSP to add another layer of service to their existing BT program. NC NTSP Instructional Coach Lindsay Lewis proudly serves the four dedicated beginning teachers at Hope with coaching visits tailored to each teacher’s individual needs. Lindsay also provides professional development sessions that are grounded in research and offer instructional strategies that are specifically geared to the needs of the beginning teachers at Hope. They have all worked tirelessly to hone their craft in order to best serve the needs of their students in grades K through 3 and, as you can see from the photo, they remain enthusiastic and energetic in their efforts!
When asked about her experience working with the NC NTSP, BT Hannah Turner said, “I cannot express the gratitude I have for Lindsay. She is the biggest blessing to all of us at Hope. She is truly more than our mentor. I look up to her as an educator and a friend. Whether it is helping us put together a special activity, offering advice on any situation, helping a student with a tricky concept, or bringing us snacks on a long day, Lindsay is there for support. She constantly goes above and beyond to help all of us, and her support is indispensable and so appreciated. I cannot imagine being a beginning teacher without such a solid mentor.”
BrittanyCarter, another Hope BT says, "Working with Lindsay this school year has made me feel valued and strengthened. Lindsay was there through some tough times this school year and in every moment she brought me out feeling empowered. Lindsay you are simply the best, better than all the rest! I've gained a lifelong mentor through this process, but most of all I've gained a friend!"
We are honored and delighted to be working with Hope Charter Leadership Academy in our shared mission to support and retain our beginning teachers in North Carolina. We look forward to our continued colleagueship and ongoing collaboration. Thanks to Brittany, Josie, Hannah and Monica for all that you have done and continue to do for the students at Hope Charter Leadership Academy!