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January 22, 2016 e-News


In This Issue...

  1. Winter 2016 Voice
  2. Upcoming PENC Workshops
  3. Scholarships and Grants - Deadlines Approaching
  4. Dr. June Atkinson's 2016 Predictions for Education in NC
  5. Young Artists Competition
  6. PENC Wants to Visit Your School!
  7. PROPS!
  8. Exciting Opportunities

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your colleagues!  

Winter 2016 Voice

The winter 2016 edition of The Voice is here! Click below to read about blended classroom models, ESSA updates, traveling abroad and much more!

Upcoming PENC Workshops

National Board Workshops

PENC offers National Board initial certification and renewal workshop FREE to all educators. Click on the dates below for more information and to register.

HELPS Program Literacy Workshops

The Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies (HELPS) Program is an easy-to-use reading program that has been demonstrated in numerous, published research studies to improve students fluency and comprehension. HELPS can be implemented one-on-one or in small groups, and is shown to be effective when used for only 10 minutes per day, three times per week. To learn more about HELPS please visit Click on the dates below for more information and to register. This is a great opportunity to earn .5 Literacy CEUs!

Scholarships and Grants - Deadlines Approaching

We are still accepting applications for most of our scholarships and grants. For more details and to apply visit

  • NCCAT Subs on Us Grants
  • Scholarships for Children of PENC Members - January 29, 2016 deadline
  • Professional Development Scholarships (spring deadline) - February 15, 2016
  • New Teacher Grants (spring deadline) - July 29, 2016
  • National Board Scholarships - TBD
  • Continuing Education Scholarships - CLOSED

Dr. June Atkinson's 2016 Predictions for Education in NC

The New Year transition brings with it predictions for the year ahead, and this year, WRAL news asked me for my thoughts on the year ahead. In case you are not a viewer of WRAL here in Raleigh or a regular visitor to the stations website, here is what I see ahead in 2016.

1. The General Assembly will give teachers the largest salary increase in a decade. Rationale: this is an election year plus teachers deserve a raise in order for education to be competitive with other professions.
2. A new state testing pilot will be expanded so that teachers, students and parents will receive immediate feedback after assessments with a reduction in test taking time. Rationale: preliminary findings reported by teachers in the pilot show very positive results.
3. Enrollment in university teacher preparation programs will decrease for the sixth year in a row. Rationale: young people and second career adults must be attracted to the teaching field by better salaries and necessary resources.
4. The high school graduation rate will reach another all time high surpassing 86 percent while the State Board of Education continues to have higher standards for meeting graduation requirements.
5. Investments in early reading will begin to pay off with more students able to read well by third grade. Rationale: investments in summer camps for 1st and 2nd graders will have a positive impact.
6. Quality preschool programs will continue to be an issue even though research clearly shows that quality early learning programs have financial benefit to society and to individuals.

I also predict that your colleagues and you will continue to provide strong educational services to students in North Carolina, but that prediction is not unique to 2016! I hope your new year is off to a good start, and I look forward to our continued work together.

Young Artists Competition

PENC (Professional Educators of North Carolina), a professional association that serves as THE Voice for educators in policy-making, the forum for developing professional relationships and the advocate for improving the learning environment for every educator and student, is currently accepting electronic entries for its 9th annual Young Artists Competition. The goal of this project is to highlight the hard work of North Carolinas teachers and their students.

Six works of art will be selected as the winning entries by a PENC panel of judges. The pieces will be duplicated for display in our Raleigh office, on the PENC website and may be used in future publications. The six winning entrants will receive an award of $50.00 and a certificate of achievement from PENC. The teachers will be presented with a certificate and gift bag at the fall 2016 Executive Board Meeting. PENC is looking forward to the wonderful work from all around our great state.

The Young Artists Competition is open to all North Carolina Educators and from all disciplines.

Click here for submission guidelines and additional information. Deadline to submit artwork is April 29, 2016. 

PENC Wants to Visit Your School!

Would you and your fellow staff members be interested in having a PENC representative visit your school? We would love to bring breakfast along with information about PENC to share with your colleagues, answer any questions and get to know you better. Please check with your principal regarding a visit from PENC, then fill out this form


Congratulations to PENC member Margaret McNeill for being named North Central regional Teacher of the Year!. Ms. McNeill teaches English at Dunn Middle School in Harnett County. 

We want to celebrate the accomplishments of our members! If you or a colleague has been recognized for an award, involved in a project, etc. please let us know so that we can feature the news in an upcoming edition of The Voice.

Exciting Opportunities

STEM Design Challenge for Students Grades 8-12

Design proposals are now being accepted through a joint educational program of NASA - the International Space Station and Portland State University (PSU). Students are invited to participate in microgravity research on capillary action similar to that which was conducted on the space station. Sound interesting? Teams will create their own experiment using Computer-Aided Design CAD software and NASA and/or PSU staff will aid teams in their interpretation of their results. Teams may be comprised of an entire class or informal science clubs of any size. Selection of at least one qualifying entry from each state and listed territory is guaranteed. Submission deadlines are February 1, March 1 and April 1. Contact the Capillary Effects on Liquids Exploratory Research Experiments Team for more information.

NC Space Grant Public Outreach Grant

The NC Space Grant Informal Education and Public Outreach Program is now open for proposals. The overall goal of the NC Space Grant Informal Education and Public Outreach Program is to increase interest in and understanding of STEM disciplines by inspiring and engaging individuals of all ages throughout North Carolina. Visit the Public Outreach Grant web page for more information. Proposals will be accepted through February 27.

NC Reading Conference

The NC Reading Conference will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center on March 13-15. This year's conference offers sessions by NCDPI staff, nationally recognized professional speakers and authors, college professors, classroom teachers and specialists. Sessions include:

* best practices for implementing the current ELA NC Standard Course of Study standards;
* integration of the ELA standards (Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language) as well as across content areas;
* using the best digital tools in the classroom;
* supporting students in text complexity and close reading; and
* strategies for teaching academic vocabulary.

Teachers may earn up to 1.5 reading CEUs. Discounted registration is available before February 15. Online registration and detailed program information are available on the NC Reading Association website.

Scaling STEM Conference

The Scaling STEM conference will be held April 4-6, 2016 and is an opportunity to learn from experts from across the nation and with peers to advance STEM strategies for all. This years conference will have a focus on equity. Ensuring all students have access to a quality STEM education prepares students to graduate with flexible and adaptable competence in mathematics, science and technology, and the ability to design and communicate solutions to real problems with confidence, ingenuity and thoughtfulness. Conference highlights include student and school presentations, concurrent sessions, opportunities to hear nationally-known education leaders and networking among educators.

Fore more information and to register click here.

STEM-related Summer Workshop

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta invites you to register for its 2016 Science Ambassador Workshop to be held July 18-22.

Middle and high school teachers will hear presentations and collaborate with CDC scientists, work in teams to develop lessons plans that will be published on CDC's website, and tour CDC's state-of-the-art headquarters. In addition, teachers can earn four continuing education units.

There is no registration fee; however, participants will need to cover their transportation, lodging and meals. The deadline to register is April 15.

NCFA Sustainable Forestry Teachers Experience

The NCFA Sustainable Forestry Teachers Experience is a fully sponsored, multi-day program studying
the social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainable forestry in North Carolina.
The Experience is STEM-focused and provides educators with the most current planning materials,
tools, data, and tangible applications for professional development and student learning techniques.

See the flyer for more details.

Connect with us on:
Professional Educators of North Carolina (PENC)
P.O. Box 17129 Raleigh, NC 27619