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February 4, 2016 e-News


In This Issue...

  1. Urgent Notice RE: State Health Plan Benefit Changes
  2. Winter 2016 Voice
  3. Upcoming PENC Workshops
  4. PENC Scholarships and Grants - Deadlines Approaching
  5. Call for PENC Region 4 & 6 Respresentatives
  6. Young Artists Competition
  7. PROPS!
  8. Exciting Opportunities
  9. PENC Wants to Visit Your School!

Urgent Notice RE: State Health Plan Benefit Changes

The State Health Plans Board of Trustees will be voting on calendar year benefit changes for 2017 at a meeting to be held tomorrow Friday, February 5, 2016 at 3:00 PM. We understand the board will be voting on the following changes:

  • Premium Increases for all Plans (CDHP, 70/30 and Enhanced 80/20) - Click HERE to see the proposal
  • Increases in Cost Sharing for the 70/30 and Enhanced 80/20 Plans Click HERE to see the proposal
  • Click HERE to view a comparison of current benefits and costs vs. benefits and costs proposed for 2017

PENC is very concerned about the deterioration of benefits and increased costs associated with the proposal. A letter was sent to all State Health Plan Board of Trustees members and Staff. You can view that letter HERE

State Health Plan Board of Trustees contact information can be found HERE if you would like to provide them with feedback prior to tomorrow's meeting. 

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!

PENC 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 - accepting applications
  • Professional Development Scholarships (spring deadline) - February 15, 2016
  • New Teacher Grants (spring deadline) - July 29, 2016
  • National Board Scholarships - June 17, 2016
  • Continuing Education Scholarships - CLOSED
  • Scholarships for Children of PENC Members - CLOSED

Call for PENC Region 4 & 6 Representatives

We are currently seeking board members to fill the positions of Region 4 Representative and Region 6 Representative (you can find a regional map here). If you are interested in either position, please email Carol Vandenbergh at [email protected] to let us know why you feel you would be a good fit for the position.

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. 


Mrs. Tracey Lubawski is a Harnett County native. She taught middle grades Language Arts for nine years. In 2003, she was awarded the Principal Fellows Scholarship and completed her Masters in School Administration at Fayetteville State University in 2005.  She has been an Assistant Principal for 11 years, serving Harnett County at Anderson Creek Primary, South Harnett Elementary and currently, Harnett Central Middle School.

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 eNews or The Voice.

Exciting Opportunities

National Board Component 4 Pilot Program

The National Board is actively looking to recruit non-board certified teachers for the Component 4: Effective and Reflective Practioner entry. For this pilot, we are recruiting Board-eligible teachers as well as current National Board Certification candidates. The upcoming pilot test component consists of one portfolio entry. As a token of our thanks, pilot test participants will be eligible to receive:

  • Certificate of Participation with number of hours completed that may be used towards professional development requirements 
  • Letter of commendation from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
  • Honorarium of $500
  • Entry into a drawing for $1000 
  • Potential to resubmit your Component 4 materials for certification purposes

We are seeking Board-eligible teacher candidates and current national Board Certification candidates in the following certificate areas:

  • English Language Arts / Early Adolescence (ELA/EA)
  • Early Childhood Generalist (EC/Gen)
  • English Language Arts/ Adolescence and Young Adulthood ( ELA/AYA)
  • School Counseling
  • English as a New Language/ Early Adolescence and Young Adulthood (ENL/EAYA)

If you know someone who might be interested in this opportunity, we ask that you to email Melissa Villareal ([email protected]) by February 8, 2016.

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.

NFIB Opens 2016 Entrepreneurship Educator Award Application

Washington, D.C. (February 2, 2016) Today, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Young Entrepreneur Foundation (YEF) opened its third annual Entrepreneurship Educator Award application process, a scholarship program designed to reward teachers who are dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship. Any educator for grades 1-12, in the classroom or any other educational setting, who teaches entrepreneurship is eligible to apply for this $5,000 scholarship.

Here at NFIB, we believe that embracing and teaching business minded students is crucial to the future success of small business and Americas economy, Director of NFIBs Young Entrepreneur Foundation, Molly Young said. It is important that we honor hard-working educators who are determined to instill the benefits of entrepreneurship in our education system. These individuals are helping young people discover their full potential.

Applicants are asked to submit a short video describing the best practices he or she uses to teach entrepreneurship and what the outcome has been. The winner of the award will be granted a $5,000 scholarship that can be used for educational resources pertaining to entrepreneurship. The scholarship amount increased substantially this year from $1,000. Applications and videos must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on March 31, 2016. The winner will be invited to attend the NFIB Young Entrepreneur of the Year Luncheon in Washington, D.C. this July where his or her video will be presented.

The winning video from last year, by Maryland teacher Marc Steren, can be viewed here. For more about the Entrepreneurship Educator Award please visit

For more information about NFIBs Young Entrepreneur Foundation please visit

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.

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

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