Coordinator of Teacher Recruitment and Support Mary Gunderson and Carrboro History teacher Christoph Stutts joined Aaron Keck on the WCHL Afternoon News Friday to discuss the ongoing conversation of teacher pay in North Carolina.
***Listen to the Panel’s Discussion***http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/chccs-panel-discusses-teacher-salaries-announcement-raises/
HILLSBOROUGH – The 3A NCHSAA East Regional No. 1-seeded Orange Panthers held off the No. 16-seeded Chapel Hill Tigers to advance to the 3rd round of the playoffs, 72-63.
The Panthers meet their bitter rivals, the No. 9-seeded Eastern Alamance Eagles, Friday at 7:00 p.m. in Hillsborough.
***Listen to the CHHS at OHS Game***
Click here to read the game recap of this and other second-round games of Chapelboro teams.http://chapelboro.com/high-school-basketball/hs-boys-basketball-orange-72-chapel-hill-63/
The investigation into the posting of nude student photos on Instagram has spread to nine counties, including Durham, Chatham, and Wake, nine in total are being examined. Jeff Nash, of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, said Wednesday that school officials have not received reports of similar activity with in the district.
“This Instagram story has spread quite a bit, and we [CHCCS] are very fortunate not to be a part of it. That is not to say that other counties can’t be added to the story later,” Nash said.
The investigation began in Wake County after nude photos of students believed to attend area high schools appeared on the social media site earlier this month, WRAL reported.
The state Bureau of Investigation is currently handling the matter, working with school leaders in Pitt, Johnston, Edgecombe, Craven, Randolph and Surry counties, where reports of nude photos have surfaced as well.
Nash said if CHCCS school resource officers become aware of illegal or dangerous student behavior displayed via social media, they will notify authorities, but that is about all that can be done.
“Social media is a huge animal, and it is beyond our capacity as a school district to monitor every student account and each type of media that they use.”When inclement weather moved into our area recently, Nash said a student created a fake Twitter account masquerading as the district’s handle and used it to tweet out false information.
“We don’t look at social media as a bad thing. It is just sometimes how it is used,” he said. “Unfortunately there are stories about it being misused, but there are a lot of good stories about it, too. We do rely on it to get information out to parents very quickly, in addition to students and community leaders as well.”
Nash said the district decided to use only the networking websites Facebook and Twitter to disseminate its information by way of social media.http://chapelboro.com/news/nude-instragram-student-photos-investigation-grows-across-nc-reports-chccs/
State House 50 Representative Graig Meyer said that teacher morale in our local school districts and across North Carolina is currently the lowest he has experienced during his career in public education. Teachers in the state have gone six years without a real pay raise, in addition to other setbacks.
“While the General Assembly talks about recruiting and retaining teachers, they have to remember there is a third ‘R.’ That is respecting teachers,” said Meyer, who is also the Director of Student Equity and Volunteer Services for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
He was appointed to the House 50 seat in October of last year. However, the General Assembly doesn’t reconvene for the short session until May 14, and the 2014 Primary is May 6, so he is currently on the campaign trail.
Meyer said that education is his most important platform issue.
Tuesday morning, he attended a teacher pay task force meeting at the General Assembly in Raleigh.
The major take-away from the discussion, Meyer explained, was that lawmakers are considering alternative teacher pay models that could be coupled with strong student performance in the classroom. He said that in theory it is a good idea, but state leaders have not devised a clear system to offer incentives state-wide.
Governor Pat McCrory announced a plan earlier this month to increase starting teachers’ salaries nearly 14 percent in the next two years, but no immediate increase was mentioned for teaching professionals already into their careers.
“We have heard the proposal that they would like to raise the pay for starting teachers so that every teacher in the state would make a minimum of $35,000, which is a step in the right direction,” Meyer said. “Unfortunately, we heard again this morning that they are not planning to give teachers an across-the-board raise.”
Meyer explained that the proposal states that new teachers’ pay would be fixed at the starting salary for approximately the first ten years of their career and that instructors with more than nine years of experience would not get a pay raise unless policies are changed.
North Carolina’s teachers are among the lowest-paid in the country, ranking 46th , and make less than instructors in each of the surrounding states. The beginning salary for a teacher in North Carolina with less than six years of experience is $30,800 for the 2013-2014 school year, according to the NC Department of Public Instruction.
Going into their sixth year, teachers currently get $420 added to the base salary. Meyer added that CHCCS and Durham Public Schools add salary supplements separate from the state.
Stagnant salaries are just one of the many issues that educators have said threaten the education system in North Carolina. In 2013, state lawmakers eliminated salary bonuses for teachers with advanced degrees and also nixed teacher tenure.
“I want to start to change the narrative about public education and remind people that North Carolina has always relied on its public education system to create opportunities for the next generation of North Carolinians. We need strong public schools in the state. This means we have to value the people who work in those schools with compensations, and valuing their time and expertise.”
Tuesday morning was only the first meeting of Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force. Legislators authorized the panel to make recommendations by mid-April, according to the Associated Press.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/task-force-considers-nc-teacher-pay-incentives-rep-meyers-attendence/
CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board member Mia Burroughs is hopeful to make a move to the County Commissioners, and she says she’s not going to stop working for schools if she gets there.
“I think that a little bit less than half of the county’s budget goes to our public schools—both the Orange County school district as well as Chapel Hill-Carrboro,” Burroughs says. “I really think it’s important to have someone on the commission who has really close experience with how those are spent.”
She says she also wants to make sure the budget benefits from diversity in the tax base.
***Listen to the Full Interview***http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/burroughs-still-schools-mind-looking-bocc-seat/
CHAPEL HILL - It seems like school violence keeps happening more frequently in the United States. In an effort to help keep our local schools and students safer, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has commissioned an outside security consultant to review its policies and procedures.
Despite the increased security put in place in schools nationwide in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, an article released this week by the Associated Press found that there has not been a significant reduction in the number of U.S. school shootings.
“When something happens somewhere else, we are thinking about how we would prevent it, or how could we prevent it? [School safety] is always on your mind, especially with more school shootings happening. It is not even just school-based, they are in community places,” said Jeff Reilly, Coordinator of Student Services for CHCCS and Chair of the Superintendent Safety Council.
The AP’s analysis found that there have been at least 11 school shootings this academic year. There have been about 500 school-associated violent deaths in the past 20 years, not accounting for recent shootings at colleges and universities.
“One of the things that we have talked about doing is having some assessments done of the schools and of the district. That is one of the priorities we have had for the past year,” Reilly said.
This month, safety consultant Michael Dorn, of Safe Havens International, and his team are working with CHCCS to improve its crisis preparedness and campus safety. Reilly said the cost for these services is just under $37,000. The group will produce a preliminary report of its findings in about a month.
Safe Havens International worked with Orange County Schools in 2013
“We are going to a have some analysts come through over the next couple of weeks and walk through each of our schools, review of practices, our emergency operations plans, talk with staff and do a survey of each school,” Reilly said.
These efforts are part of the continued work of Superintendent’s Safety Council, which was created last spring. It is a collaboration across the school system and also with the Chapel Hill Police Department and the Carrboro Police Department.
The Council meets regularly with Carrboro Police Chief Walter Horton and Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/ch-carrboro-city-schools-work-security-consultant/
CHAPEL HILL- The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board voted 6-1 Thursday to expand the Mandarin dual language program at Glenwood Elementary and keep access to the program open to all students in the district via a lottery system.
Board Vice-Chair Mia Burroughs said the value of dual language education extends beyond the local community.
“I consider it a gift to the country, frankly, to have bilingual and multilingual children, particularly in Mandarin,” said Burroughs.
The vote means 76 families at Glenwood will need to be redistricted to alleviate overcrowding due to growth in the dual language program and increased enrollment in the school’s attendance zone.
More than 100 parents turned out Thursday night to ask the school board to put to rest the recent uncertainty about the future of the Mandarin program, but parents differed widely on what they saw as the best solution.
Those with students in the program touted the merit of dual language education. Pam Caswell told the school board the program has changed the way her son approaches learning.
“There is a rumor that it serves only the 156 most high-achieving students, and I am here to tell you different,” said Caswell. “My son did not enter Glenwood above average. He has become high-achieving because of the daily effort we put into his studies.”
But parents outside the program argued it costs too much and serves too few. Heather Kunmick labeled it an unnecessary expense in a tight budget year.
“When I’m sending in hundreds and hundreds of dollars of supplies because in October teachers are out of copy paper and my daughter’s art class doesn’t have enough pencils or erasers and my child’s kindergarten class doesn’t have glue sticks, how can we continue to pour money into something that serves such a small percentage of the population?” asked Kunmick.
School board members cautioned against singling out any one program for cuts, and reiterated their support for expanding Mandarin dual language instruction, saying expansion of the program will lower per-pupil expenses.
“The reason we expanded it is not only do we think this a really important program, it’s to bring the cost down,” said Burroughs. “We need to make the program load-bearing, to fill those classrooms so there aren’t extra-small classrooms in fourth and fifth grade.”
But the board wrestled with how and where the program should grow. In the long term, the district could open a new dual language magnet that would house the Mandarin program, but for now, any expansion of the program means non-dual language learners will need to be redistricted to make room for new Mandarin students.
Board members also struggled with the purpose of the program, noting that it’s evolved from instruction to help those with limited English to more of an immersion program for English-speaking students. Annetta Streater said it’s not fulfilling its original purpose.
“I am very much disappointed that what was meant to be a support for students who are not native English speakers is no longer that,” said Streater. “So that brings up another concern- are we doing what we’re supposed to be doing to support students who actually do need consistent instruction and intervention to acquire English?”
The board voted 6-1 to redistrict 76 non-dual language families and add a second first grade classroom to the Mandarin program, which will remain at Glenwood for at least the next year.
Though spot-redistricting offers a short-term solution to temporarily ease Glenwood’s overcrowding, there’s no clear consensus on what to do with the Mandarin program in the future. Board members agreed to hire a consultant to examine the long-term options, with an eye toward implementing a solution by 2015.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/chccs-school-board-backs-mandarin-dual-language-expansion/
NORTH CAROLINA - Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools; Orange County Schools (for students and staff); Chatham County Schools; Wake County Schools; and Alamance-Burlington County Schools will operate on a 2-hour delay on Tuesday, January 7, due to the frigid temperatures moving into the area Monday evening.
St. Thomas More Catholic School in Chapel Hill will operate on a two-hour delay Tuesday as well.
Stay with WCHL for area school closing and delay updates.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/tuesday-school-delays-due-cold-temps/
CHAPEL HILL- Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools recruited a record number of minority teachers this year, but administrators worry some are being singled-out unfairly.
The Human Resources department of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School system is celebrating its recent accomplishments this year, including recruiting a record-breaking 260 teachers to staff the new Northside Elementary and the Frank Porter Graham bilingual magnet.
Teacher Recruitment Coordinator Mary Gunderson told the school board last week that total includes 51 minority teachers.
“We have the largest number ever of teachers of color hired for the district at 51,” said Gunderson. “That’s definitely a record-breaking number. We’re very, very happy about that.”
In 2012, African-American, Asian and Latino students made up 47 percent of the student body in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system. School officials have long sought to increase diversity in the classroom by hiring teachers who reflect the make-up of the wider community.
But administrators say they’ve heard of a disturbing trend that’s making some minority teachers in the district feel less welcome.
“The teachers of color felt that they were being treated differently, negatively, than non-teachers-of-color,” said Human Resources Executive Director Arasi Adkins. “This was particularly true of new teachers, who, as we mentioned, we worked so hard to recruit in the first place.”
Adkins said some minority teachers she talked to felt a handful of parents were putting them under a microscope.
“In many cases the overwhelming majority cited a small number of prominent parents- in some cases it was just one or two parents- who were negatively targeting them in subtle ways,” Adkins told the school board. “For example, questioning their credentials or nit-picking teaching strategy, teaching style, et cetera. [There were] complaints filed with the administration without talking to the teacher first.”
Though she noted that many new teachers struggle with similar problems, Adkins said minority teachers in particular seemed to be singled out for criticism. In the past year, Adkins told the board she’s received three requests to document teacher credentials, each time for an African-American educator.
That’s triple the number of credential requests she received in the four years she worked for the Alamance-Burlington school system, a district twice the size of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro system.
“Our teachers of color are subjected to more scrutiny than non-teachers-of-color, and that’s simply not fair, not just and not right,” said Adkins.
To combat this trend, administrators have launched a support group for minority teachers in the district and are collaborating with a variety of professional organizations for educators.
Adkins says it’s also important for the entire community to recognize the problem.
“We’re going to enlist the support of our great parents who recognize the signs of inequity, to work to drown out the small number of voices who are determined to target teachers and administrators of color,”said Adkins. “I want to highlight that, because it really is a small number of people. [For] the overwhelming majority of our parents and community members, this is probably alarming and disturbing to them too.”
This comes to light at a time when the district is already struggling with a rising number of teachers leaving the district. The teacher turnover rate in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system has increased to 14.47 percent this year- the highest it has been in nearly a decade.
Adkins cited North Carolina’s low teacher salaries as a prime reason that many educators leave for jobs in other states or other professions. Currently, the state ranks 46 in the nation for teacher pay.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/chccs-minority-teachers-subject-unfair-scrutiny/
CHAPEL HILL- The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board welcomed new and returning members on Thursday, but school officials are already eyeing tough budget challenges ahead.
Newly-elected school board member Andrew Davidson and returning members Michelle Brownstein and James Barrett took just a brief moment to celebrate after taking their oaths of office before the school board sat down to digest some sobering statistics.
Assistant Superintendent Todd LoFrese told the board the district faces a $3.3 million dollar shortfall next year.
“We’re using fund balance this year to balance our local budget,” said LoFrese. “We have used all of our available fund balance and we’ll need to either receive more funds to offset that or we’re going to need to look at reductions.”
This is the third year in a row the district has used reserve funds to balance the budget, but that money will not be available next year. LoFrese stressed that this shortfall comes after years of cumulative budget reductions.
“We think it is important to remind folks that this is not a single-year event. We have been living in tough times for several years,” said LoFrese. “We’ve made $8 million dollars worth of reductions over the last several years.”
Administrators struggled last budget season to make up for cuts to state funding that would have paid for 37 teachers and 25 teaching assistants. In total, state funding to the district was cut by $4.5 million dollars.
In the past five years, the General Assembly only approved a single 1.2 percent pay raise for educators. As a result, North Carolina now ranks 46 in the nation for teacher salaries.
CHCCS Human Resources Executive Director Arasi Adkins told the board this is affecting the district’s ability to recruit and retain quality teachers.
“The point is we’re going to continue to lose teachers to other states and other fields if North Carolina doesn’t do something to raise teacher pay across the board,” said Adkins.
The turnover rate for teachers in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district is now up to 14.47 percent, the highest it’s been in nine years. While more educators are looking to leave the system, student enrollment continues to grow.
“At the elementary level this year, we have 265 seats remaining with respect to SAPFO, 88 at the middle school level and 100 remaining seats at the high school level,” LoFrese told the board.
School officials anticipate opening new middle school in five year’s time, but some hope large-scale renovations to older facilities can increase capacity and delay the need for a new school.
The school board will revisit these issues next spring as part of the budget negotiation process. You can read the district’s 2013 Opening of School Report here.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/chccs-board-eyes-teacher-turnover-tough-budget-cuts/