President John F. Kennedy said that “children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” When I think about the impact a teacher has on our world’s future, I am comforted knowing that the children of North Carolina are in great hands. I am even more encouraged by the beginning teachers in the NC New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) who have chosen to invest in the lives of their students, while providing them with the essential knowledge and skills today that are necessary for continued success tomorrow. I am proud of the ongoing efforts of beginning teachers who are dedicated to improving their craft by engaging in focused professional development and intensive coaching provided by the NC NTSP, for the sake of protecting and cultivating our world’s most valuable resource.
Since the start of the academic year, the NC NTSP Instructional Coaches have worked with beginning teachers to provide 8,400 instructional visits totaling more than 5,000 hours. Our program outcomes continue to show that the amount of time and number of visits Instructional Coaches spend with beginning teachers make a difference in teacher effectiveness and teacher retention. Throughout October, beginning teachers engaged in coaching activities related to planning for conceptual understanding, supporting various learning needs of their students, establishing and maintaining a respectful learning environment, and how to actively engage students. Our children are in great hands when teachers intentionally and strategically improve their craft with a trusted and experienced Instructional Coach.
With Thanksgiving approaching, I am so grateful to be living and working in a state where we believe that children deserve the best teachers. I am thankful for each beginning teacher who makes her/his practice public so that students benefit from improved teaching and learning. I am thankful for the 41 school districts, 200 schools, 30 Instructional Coaches, 6 UNC system institutions, and 900 beginning teachers who have made the choice to continually invest in our children…our future.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
All the Best,
Bryan S. Zugelder
Instructional Coach Spotlight: Susan Farrow, UNC Region
Susan Farrow is an Instructional Coach for the UNC Region of the NC NTSP. Susan has been with the NC NTSP since 2012 and is currently serving teachers in Warren, Vance, and Person counties.
Susan received her B.A. in English from UNC Wilmington. She taught 9th and 10th grade English in Onslow County schools for over a decade, with the majority of that time spent at White Oak High school. At White Oak, Susan was selected as Teacher of the Year, served as the director of the Freshman Academy and led various professional development leaning communities. While teaching full time, she also completed her Master's Degree in English from East Carolina University and her National Board Certification. Susan is also looking forward to beginning her Ph.D. in Education this upcoming summer. With over a decade in the classroom, Susan is passionate about using her background and knowledge in helping her teachers succeed in changing the lives of their students.
In her spare time, Susan enjoys spending time at the beach, cooking, and reading. She counts her children, Kendrick and Leila, as the greatest joys of her life.
Recent Event Spotlight: Professional Development in the UNCG Region
Instructional Coaches from the UNCG Region have been very busy with professional development (PD) this year. We are offering PD in three districts during workdays, after-school, and some during the school day! Our most recent PD includes a half-day in Rockingham County Schools during an optional teacher workday; as well as a half-day in the Alamance-Burlington School System.
In Rockingham County, the session was designed to have teachers reflect on learning styles and different approaches used during their lessons. During the session, teachers identified their own learning styles and how this impacts their teaching style. Teachers left the session with interactive activities to engage students and learn more about their individual interests. We have already had a teacher use one of the activities during an observation and get excellent feedback from her principal about the high level of engagement!
Alamance-Burlington School System teachers participated in a half-day PD on October 25. The session was designed to support teachers as they work to plan the most effective lessons possible for their students. Participants gained experience with a variety of instructional strategies throughout the PD that they could take back to their classrooms and implement immediately. These included strategies such as: sentence frames, vocabulary cube, "find someone who" (with a classroom community focus), and many others. Additionally, they were able to experience and practice each of the six parts of the gradual release lesson planning process throughout the session.
In the UNCG Region, we are proud of our teachers and confident about the valuable strategies that are being offered in all of our PD sessions. We know that continued coaching and professional development will increase teacher effectiveness and ultimately enhance student growth!
NC NTSP Asks: Q & A with Susan Westall, McDowell County Schools
How does the NC New Teacher Support Program support your teachers and how does that reflect in their practice?
The NC NTSP is very supportive of our Beginning Teachers in McDowell County. Everyone in the program has been so kind, resourceful, and helpful. Mrs. Jennifer Beck works specifically with McDowell County as an Instructional Coach. She is very positive and trustworthy and her guidance is felt as support by our new teachers. She is always happy and smiling and new teachers thrive on her positive energy.
The Institute weekend in Charlotte for new teachers was a great resource and opportunity for networking and learning. I wish more of our teachers could have taken advantage of the opportunity.
What part of the NC NTSP do you see as the most valuable to beginning teachers?
Having someone they can trust with beginning teacher issues is very valuable. The NC NTSP coaches are there to coach and support, without a component of “evaluating” them.
What do you see as the biggest needs of the beginning teacher? How do you see the NC NTSP fitting in to address that need?
Managing the classroom! It takes time and experience to find what works for the individual to manage their classroom and build those needed relationships with students.
Mrs. Beck offers sound, reasonable advice. She goes into the classroom and will observe and provide constructive, usable feedback. She is a great resource for our new teachers dealing with classroom management as well as any need that comes up.
What advice would you give beginning teachers on making the most out of their partnership with their NC NTSP coach?
For McDowell County, Mrs. Beck has developed a relationship with the teachers, so they trust her with non-threatening feedback. I would advise beginning teachers to take advantage of Mrs. Beck’s expertise. She is a valuable resource for McDowell County!
Research Spotlight: NC New Teacher Support Program Instructional Coaches
The focus of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) is to provide support for beginning teachers in their first three years of teaching. The ultimate goal of the NC NTSP is to retain teachers beyond the novice years. According to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, “30% of novice teachers resign within their first three years in high-need, urban public school districts,” associated with the high costs of teacher turnover, estimating the nation’s cost of “approximately seven billion dollars annually” (Gimbert & Fultz, 2010, p. 2). Therefore, the need for a program such as the NC NTSP is monumental in teacher retention across North Carolina.
As a program, the NC NTSP incorporates three core values: an academic boot camp (Fall Institute), ongoing professional development, and weekly instructional coaching. One of the most positive impactful values in the program is the Instructional Coaches. Each week, Instructional Coaches visit their assigned beginning teachers to offer strategies, resources, feedback, model lessons, and serve as a “think partner” for their overall effective success. When asked about the advantages of having an Instructional Coach in her classroom, Ms. Davenport (6th grade science teacher in Lenoir County Public Schools) stated, “The benefit of having an Instructional Coach is knowing that as a beginning teacher, you are never alone.” Likewise, Mrs. Aldridge (8th grade TFA Science teacher in Lenoir County Public Schools) conveyed, “As a new teacher, an Instructional Coach provides a new perspective and recommendations to improve upon the strategies I use in my classroom. The encouragement, reassurance, and advocacy are invaluable.”
Another incentive in the NC NTSP is the partnership among the school districts. Throughout the school year, coaches and school constituents collaborate for the ultimate goal of retaining effective teachers. As indicated in the uniqueness of teacher retention, most teachers sustain their careers with a mindset of serving an all-encompassing community. Bernhardt (2012) noted that “ . . . . teaching is about instilling an ethic of love, compassion, virtue, courage, joy, and humility” (p. 5). According to research (Bernhardt, 2012; Burton & Johnson, 2010; Dagenhart, Petty, & O’Connor, 2010), when experienced teachers are asked why they retain their careers, the overall response was the love for students, specific student populations, total-school community support, and established relationships. Thus, the NC NTSP serves as one of the total-school community partners to effectively retain novice teachers in all capacities.
When asked about the partnership within the Pamlico County School district, Joshua Gaskill (Beginning Teacher Coordinator) said that, “The partnership between Pamlico County Schools and the NC NTSP (ECU Region) is phenomenal. Our Instructional Coach adds expertise and professionalism to our beginning teacher program, building positive relationships and trust with all teachers.” As indicated, this coaching serves well for novice teachers, offering reliable resources and avenues for support in the educational community. Equally important in sustaining novice teachers in high-need environments are having mentor teachers who serve in the same grade level, accessible resources, and professional development (Bridges, 2012; Claeys, 2011). Novice teachers who are assigned an Instructional Coach often benefit from personable and professional relationships with no direct connection to the school system. Instructional Coaches offer ongoing co-teaching opportunities, instructional strategies, resources, planning, and teacher credential licensure support when applicable. Lastly, Instructional Coaches offer behavioral support strategies, classroom management interventions, and curriculum alignment for the ultimate goal of student achievement.
Bernhardt, P. E. (2012). Two teachers in dialogue: Understanding the commitment to teach. The Qualitative Report, 17(52), 1-15.
Bridges, D. (2012). The needs of new teachers: Perceptions of teachers from one North Carolina school district (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (Accession Order No. 1114537473)
Burton, M., & Johnson, A. S. (2010). “Where else would we teach?”: Portraits of two teachers in the rural South. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(4), 376-386. doi: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/10.1177/0022487110372362
Claeys, L. (2011). Teacher motivation to teach and to remain teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (Accession Order No. 868328332)
Dagenhart, D. B., Petty, T. M., & O'Connor, K. A. (2010). The staffing dilemma in high-need elementary schools: National Board Teachers' perspectives. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 76(4), 6-11.
Gimbert, B., & Fultz, D. (2010). Effective principal leadership for beginning teachers’ development. National Council of Professors of Educational Administration, 4(2), 1-15. Retrieved from http://www.ncpeapublications.org/index.php/volume-4-number-2-april-june-...
School Spotlight: Charlotte Choice Charter School
Charlotte Choice Charter (CCC) joined the NC NTSP family in the Fall of 2016. Located on the east side of Charlotte, CCC is housed in a renovated shopping center. The school serves close to 300 scholars in grades K-8. The school has a STEAM focus to achieve its motto of “high expectations equal high achievements for
all”. This school year, the NC NTSP Instructional Coach is supporting 12 beginning teachers who are within their first three years in the classroom.
Each week, their NC NTSP Instructional Coach, Marquis Mason, meets with teachers to provide support with implementation of best practices in the classroom. Weekly visits can consist of observation and feedback, modeling/co-teaching a lesson, or co-planning a lesson among many other things. In addition, the school will receive on-site professional development that focuses on best practices for all teachers, regardless of their years of experience. Beginning teacher Skyy Williams reflected that "I think that Mr. Mason is absolutely amazing. Having someone so knowledgeable and helpful with me during my first year of teaching is truly a huge load off my shoulders".
The NC NTSP is excited about our partnership with Charlotte Choice Charter and the support that we can provide to help them achieve their goal of high achievement for all of their scholars.