Education

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Teachers and students say the new case (similar to an OtterBox) is part of the reason fewer tablets are breaking.
Jeff Tiberii

Students in Guilford County have tablet computers...again. The federally funded initiative first began in August of 2013, but school officials suspended the program weeks later after more than 10-percent of the devices broke. Now, middle school students have tablets from a different manufacturer.

At Jamestown Middle School several students surround a table in the media center. Their necks careen downward and their fingers move comfortably across glass screens. These tablets have games in math, social studies and science.

Carol Folt
Leoneda Inge

A UNC Chapel Hill alum has committed the largest individual gift ever to the university.  The $100 million dollars is for the pharmacy school.

UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt made the announcement Wednesday outside the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

"I am almost speechless," said Folt.

The Children from Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School
https://www.flickr.com/photos/marshillcollege

  

In 1912, famed educator Booker T. Washington approached philanthropist and Sears Roebuck Company CEO Julius Rosenwald with a plan to build schools for African-American children in the South. 

Together they created a program that eventually led to the creation of 5,300 Rosenwald schools. North Carolina was home to 800 schools- more than any other state. Former students and community supporters are working to rehabilitate one of the schools in Madison County and turn it into a historical venue. A Mars Hill University's Rural Heritage museum exhibit examines the history of African-American education in Madison County from Reconstruction to Civil Rights. 

House Under Construction
Dave DeWitt

 Members of the Cary Town Council are calling on county officials to help address the issue of overcrowding in Wake County public schools.

Earlier this month, the council tabled a request to rezone about 58 acres in west Cary that would have created 130 new homes.

Some members say they don’t feel comfortable moving forward with the plan just yet – at least not while many of the nearby schools are at or above capacity.

iPad with a notebook next to it
Sean MacEntee / Flickr/Creative Commons

Thirteen public schools in Wake County will soon be asking students to bring their tablets, smartphones, iPads and laptops to class.

The elementary, middle and high schools are participating in a pilot program called BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, that will be rolled out over the next couple of months.

Tamaulipas, Mexico, 1996 – Marisol daydreams at dusk while anticipating the arrival of more garbage trucks at the municipal dump
Janet Jarman

Immigration has taken center stage this week with President Obama's announcement of protection for some  children and families who entered the country illegally. In North Carolina, some area teachers have recently been trained to better understand the experience of such undocumented immigrants. The training is based on an extraordinary set of photos, taken over two decades, on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border.

WUNC's Carol Jackson tells the story:

Fayetteville teacher assistant Grace King works with first graders on sight words.
Reema Khrais

Public school districts throughout the state have fewer teacher assistants in the classrooms this academic year than the previous year, despite assurances from lawmakers that the state budget would not lead to TA reductions.  

Since the 2008-09 recession, state funding for TAs has been reduced by more than 20 percent, leading to thousands of cuts.

In Cumberland County Schools, teacher assistant Grace King begins her day driving a school bus.

The Academic Standards Review Commission met for their third meeting on Monday.
Reema Khrais

  A commission charged with making changes to the state's Common Core academic standards is facing a very elemental question: how will it get the money it needs to complete its work?

Legislators passed a bill this summer to create a commission to review and recommend changes to the Math and English academic standards for public school students.

In the legislation, lawmakers outlined that the commission should have money to hire staff and conduct research, but did not make clear how much money the commission will receive and where it will come from.

A pedestrian bridge under construction collapsed on Wake Tech campus.
WRAL via Twitter

Officials say one worker has been killed and four others were hurt when a pedestrian bridge under construction on Wake Tech Community College's northern campus collapsed. Wake County EMS officials say the four men suffered injuries Thursday that were serious enough to send them to a hospital trauma unit.

Jeff Hammerstein with Wake EMS says he thinks the highest point on the bridge was 40 feet above the ground. 

This is the story of how Jovian, a Coquerel’s sifaka, became the the "leaping, prancing otherworldly star" of the PBS KIDS show Zoboomafoo. Jovian died Monday at the Duke Lemur Center. He was 20 years old.

A group of faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are pursuing the idea of a new ethics policy.

At a Faculty Executive Committee meeting Monday, epidemiology professor Jim Thomas proposed developing a comprehensive ethics policy for the university as a whole. Thomas says he first suggested the idea a decade ago, but the recent scandal involving sham classes has allowed the proposal to gain traction.

Megan Malkowski with hands raised, 2011
Will Folsom / Flickr/Creative Commons

All this week, many area colleges and universities are waiving their application fees. Costs usually run between $40 and $100 per application, so for those students who are applying to several schools, the savings can be substantial. Don't wait till the weekend, though. The special program ends on Friday, Nov. 14.

Here is a complete list of participating colleges and universities:

When we began our 50 Great Teachers series, we set out to find great teachers and tell their stories. But we'll also be exploring over the coming year questions about what it means for a teacher to be great, and how he or she gets that way.

To get us started, we gathered an expert round table of educators who've also done a lot of thinking about teaching. Combined, these teachers are drawing on over 150 years of classroom experience:

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

  The State Board of Education on Thursday placed Charter Day School Inc. on “financial probationary status” for not turning over salary information of school employees to the Department of Public Instruction.

The state gave all 148 charter school operators until the end of September to provide salaries of school employees who are hired by for-profit companies.

Charter Day, which oversees four charter schools in the Wilmington area, was the only operator to not comply.

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

A regional accrediting agency is launching another probe into UNC-Chapel Hill's academic fraud scandal.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is reviewing the findings of the independent Wainstein Report. That document showed that more than 3,000 students were enrolled in no-show classes and bogus independent studies.

Kindergarten teacher Daly Romero Espinal teaches her students basic Spanish commands on the first day of school at Martin Millennium Academy.
Reema Khrais

Slightly fewer teachers left North Carolina last year than the year before, but more left because they were dissatisfied with teaching or wanted to teach in another state, according to a state Department of Public Instruction draft report.

Of the 96,010 public school teachers employed last year, 1,011 said they left because they were dissatisfied with teaching or had a career change. The year before, nearly nine hundred teachers left for those reasons.

Terry Stoops is the Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation
Twitter

Contributions to the superb #TeachingInNC project are, to quote baseball great Yogi Berra, déjà vu all over again.

The names of classroom activities are different, but children today are engaged in tasks that have cycled in and out of public school classrooms for decades. 

Whether it is group work, hands-on activities, student-led discussions, or focus on "real world" skills, it is a good bet that previous generations of experts have promoted it, teachers have employed it, and children have suffered through it.

WUNC ran a month-long project where we asked teachers to give us a snapshot of their lives.

Many teachers shared photos of exciting things happening inside their classrooms. But many also shared frustrations. Teacher pay and workload topped the list:

We asked a variety of educational leaders in the state to review all of the responses to #TeachingInNC. We asked a simple question: what do you see? 

'The pictures really speak a thousand words'

Oct 31, 2014
State Superintendent June Atkinson listens to a second grade student from Perquimans Central School read from his favorite book.
NC Public Schools

In looking at and reviewing the snapshots of teachers' lives submitted by some of the state's 95,000 public school teachers, I am proud to see such wonderful illustrations of creative, engaging and quality learning occurring in our public school classrooms.  

The pictures really speak a thousand words as to why our students are making such strong academic growth and why they are graduating in record-breaking numbers. The pictures depict what I see all the time across the state in the many classes I am so fortunate to visit. 

Mark Jewell
NCAE

When I look at these tweets from our amazing educators and students, a big smile comes across my face. It makes me reflect back to my own career as a NC public school teacher.

I have worked in education for 27 years.  I started in 1987, teaching in my home state of West Virginia. But by 1997 I was in the classroom in Guilford County, lured to North Carolina because of her reputation as a leader in innovation and classroom practices.

Being a teacher is tough anywhere. On a national scale, being a teacher in North Carolina is arguably among the most challenging environments in public education. 

Recent "rankings" have painted a picture of North Carolina's public schools that have raised alarm in communities across the state, bringing public education to the forefront of policy and politics. 

Most would agree that where we are is not where we need to be to compete economically in modern regional, national, and global markets. 

Bill McDiarmid
UNC School of Education

One of the things that struck me was how rewarding teachers continue to find their careers despite the environment they are in. Many teachers don't feel valued or respected. While there are good aspects to the [recent] pay raise for early career teachers, more veteran teachers feel like the service that they put in isn't valued.

And yet if you look at the comments (in #TeachingInNC) you see how committed, enthusiastic and creative these folks remain.

Howard Lee
UNC-TV

I found that a lot of the responses were inspirational, and I am big on inspiring students. I thought the attempt was being made to get students really excited about learning, and I really like that.

There was one post that was about success. The teacher talked about helping students find their dreams. I am in the midst of writing a paper about dreams, hope and faith, and this is what I am writing:

Dreams inspire, hope motivates and faith sustains.

(Note: Lee points out several posts that are by teachers talking about inspiring students.)

At the beginning of this school year, WUNC ran an experiment. We asked teachers a simple question: "Give us a snapshot of your life, in words or pictures."

By the end of the month we had 1,400 responses, mostly on Twitter.

Teachers talked about their pay, their frustrations, their surprising moments, their working weekends, their plugged up classroom toilets. They took photos of t-shirts kids wore and notes students left. We saw a remarkable number of ways teachers are using technology. In short, we received just what we asked for, a window into the teaching profession in North Carolina today.

>> Look at the archive of responses here. Look at how educational leaders across the state responded to the project here.

Nancy Gardner is one of the teachers who contributed to the project. Gardner is National Board Certified Teacher with over 26 years of experience in grades 7-12. She currently teaches senior English at Mooresville High School in Mooresville, N.C. where she chairs the English Department. We asked Nancy to review the tweets and Instagram contributions and tell us what she saw:

"I am inspired, and yes, a little weepy, when I read and view all of these at one time," writes Gardner. "Although some of these mention the salaries and frustrations with all of the issues facing NC teachers, the 'narrative' continues to reinforce the dedication our teachers have to helping all students become successful, in spite of the challenges."

Gardner then provided this list, something she calls "broad takeaways":

"No longer do we have rows of traditional teaching with the teacher in the front of the room," writes Gardner.  "All levels, K-12 are in small groups-and the lessons are teacher facilitated or coached."

teacher in a blur with classroom
Bart Everson / Flickr/Creative Commons

With Election Day almost here, it’s become clear that one issue has headlined almost all of the races: education.

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger Thom Tillis have traded barbs over issues of teacher pay and education funding, while similar conversations are playing out in legislative races throughout the state.

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