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February 22, 2016 e-News


In This Issue...

    1. State Board of Education Updates
    2. Winter 2016 Voice
    3. State Health Plan Delays Action on Premium Increases
    4. Upcoming PENC Workshops
    5. Hope Street Group North Carolina Teacher Voice Network
    6. Call for PENC Region 4 & 6 Respresentatives
    7. Young Artists Competition
    8. PENC Annual Meeting
    9. Exciting Opportunities
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your colleagues!

State Board of Education Updates

Student Perception Surveys

Earlier this month, the State Board of Education discussed the potential of adopting a policy that would implement Student Perception Surveys statewide. Two proposed surveys were presented: Grades 3-5 Survey and Grades 6-12 Survey. Significant concerns were raised during the discussions. Eighty percent (80%) of the Superintendents in our state are not in favor of the forced implementation of this student survey initiative. Teachers have questioned the developmental appropriateness of the questions and have concerns about the reliability and potential negative impact on their career. Furthermore, many teachers use their own surveys to gain meaningful data that will allow them to reflect, change their practices and inform their instruction.

The proposed policy on Student Perception Surveys can be reviewed here. The State Board of Educations written summary states that the intention of these surveys is to inform professional growth as well as school improvement plans and that the data will not have a formal connection with NCEES. Nonetheless, mandating a specific set of questions doesnt seem to be the right approach if we want to acknowledge and respect the diversity of our teachers and our students and truly provide teachers with the support, resources and freedom they deserve to do what they know works.  

On March 3, the State Board of Education may be voting on this policy. Hopefully the board has reconsidered placing this on the agenda as an action item, but we dont have confirmation yet. Therefore, we encourage you to contact the State Board of Education members to professionally deliver the message that this need not be a mandate from the state and should be thought out with stakeholder involvement prior to making any final decision about the use of student surveys in classrooms across the state.

NCEES Standard 6 Update

On March 3, we expect the State Board of Education to vote on a proposed policy change that would impact how Standard 6 is used for purposes of NCEES. The Department of Public Instruction has recommended that Standard 6 no longer be used as a component in determining Status ratings for teachers. You may recall that teachers are supposed to be assigned a Status which would be based upon a combination of Standards 1-5 and Standard 6 (Student Growth a rolling 3-year average). The Status options are: Effective, Highly Effective and Needs Improvement. Note: No Status ratings have been assigned thus far. It is our understanding, based upon the limited information presented, that student growth (Standard 6) will no longer be a component in determining a teacher's Status. This item does not remove student growth from the teacher effectiveness model. Rather, this policy recommendation would merely remove Standard 6 from the teacher evaluation and would require student growth to be an artifact that principals use in evaluating teacher performance.  

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!

State Health Plan Delays Action on Premium Increases

After copious amounts of feedback from State Health Plan members, the Board of Trustees was advised by the State Health Plan staff that elimination of the 80/20 option and the proposal to remove Spousal Coverage would not be considered for the benefit design strategy for 2018.

The action taken at the February 5, 2016 meeting for benefit changes were for 2017 only.  The Board of Trustees approved health activities and premium credits along with change to the pharmacy tiers in all plan options (70/30 and Enhanced 80/20).

The Board of Trustees voted to table any base premium changes for 2017 and changes to member cost-sharing in both the enhanced 80/20 and traditional 70/30 plan options until May 1, 2016.

Cilck here to view the full story from WRAL.

Upcoming PENC Workshops

National Board Workshops

PENC offers National Board initial certification and renewal workshops 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 www.helpsprogram.orgThis is a great opportunity to earn .5 Literacy CEUs!

We are working to schedule one more HELPS Literacy Workshop this spring, please continue to check the Workshops page on our website for updates.

Hope Street Group North Carolina Teacher Voice Network


Please take 10 minutes to complete the Hope Street Group North Carolina Teacher Voice Network survey between now and February 28th: Topics include professional development, methods of communication, and educator compensation. Your perspective will be used to create policy recommendations. Results will be shared later this Spring, along with helpful solutions based on your input. To see the Fall report, click here.

Fellowship Opportunity

The Hope Street Group North Carolina Teacher Voice Network is looking for 7 new leaders for the 2016-2017 school year. The Teacher Voice Network positively informs decisions made by education policymakers by providing feedback from colleagues that represents the collective and diverse opinions of educators throughout the state. Youll be joining 23 existing Leaders in this important work. Applications can be submitted 2/15-3/11.  Included with the Fellowship is a $3,500 stipend. Learn more and apply here:

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

PENC Annual Meeting

The PENC Board invites members to join us for our Annual Meeting in Raleigh on Saturday, April 16, 2016 from 12-2pm at Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh/Crabtree Valley. Meet and greet fellow members, celebrate scholarship and grant recipients, vote on bylaw amendments and elect new board members! This year, the positions of Treasurer, Secretary, Regions 2, 4, 6, 8 and At-Large 2 Representative are up for election. If you plan to attend the meeting, please RSVP by Friday, April 8, 2016 to Annette Thomas at [email protected] or 800-542-8844.

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.

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. *Note: Early registration ends February 24, 2016.

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