INNOVATION: Reinvent schools to meet 21st century challenges
Innovative schools are able to quickly and effectively respond to rapidly changing local economies and labor markets. To begin with, innovative schools are able to use and adapt to technological innovation by providing students with access to new course offerings and advanced curricula. Second, we need to recognize that innovative schools are a product of innovative training and hiring practices. In particular, North Carolina’s schools can benefit from new initiatives to recruit and train outstanding principals to lead and manage schools. Likewise, innovative teacher recruitment strategies will insure that North Carolina’s students are being taught by our state’s best and brightest professionals. Finally, we need to make better use of our education dollars by streamlining the way we pay for educational programs and school construction costs.
– Encourage school districts to more effectively utilize online, or Internet-based, course offerings. Schools looking to add rigor to high school curricula in the areas of science, technology and engineering can use online schooling options. Small schools can use such options to maintain a broad array of course options at lower cost. Online or virtual schooling may also offer rapid remediation to students in danger of failing.
INNOVATIVE Principal Training:
What Voters Like:
|• Developing alternative certification programs to help alleviate teacher shortage (83%)
• Revising state school construction formula to target more funds to high growth areas and less to districts losing population (43% agree, 23% unsure)
– Expand training and mentoring opportunities for principals. Collaborate with local colleges and universities to ensure that leadership development programs teach management skills and provide ongoing structured training and mentoring opportunities that are linked to improving student outcomes and continue throughout a principal’s entire career. North Carolina’s Principal Fellows program helps to recruit and train new principals, but more can be done for principals once they are on the job.
– Require performance assessments for principal licensure. Currently, principals must hold a valid teaching license, complete a two-year master’s in school administration program, and pass a standardized test. Scenario-based interviews or portfolios would help insure that candidates are prepared to lead.
– Divide the traditional principal duties – create one position for administrative management and another for instructional leadership.
INNOVATIVE Teacher Recruitment:
– Develop alternative certification programs for young people and mid-career professionals wanting to teach; expand reciprocity agreements for teachers trained in other states.
– Create financial and professional incentives for teachers to serve low-performing students and underserved schools.
– Offer tax incentives to encourage private sector companies to develop in-house programs that enable workers and retirees to transition into teaching.
– Implement weighted student funding (WSF) for financing public education. Such funding is weighted according to each student’s risk factors and follows the child from school to school.
– Revise the distribution formula for Public School Building Capital Funds to increase revenue for high growth districts and reduce revenue going to districts projected to lose population.
– Where current resources permit, use pay-as-you-go funding to save interest paid on debt and increase the amount of funds available for facility construction and other projects.
– In high growth areas, allow counties to secure school construction bonds with anticipated future property tax revenue generated from planned housing developments. Provide developers with incentives to set aside parcels in large developments for new schools.
– Secure school construction bonds using existing revenue streams – as Buncombe County has done.
– Effectively use existing space, public-private construction partnerships, year-round schools, public school choice, and virtual schools to ease overcrowding and the demand for new facilities. Learn from other states that have used these tools successfully to improve our own programs.
Innovative Teacher Training
|UTeach Teacher Preparation Program – University of Texas at Austin. UTeach is a highly successful teacher preparation program developed at the University of Texas-Austin to attract more mathematics, science and computer science undergraduates into teaching. The program is credited with doubling the number of mathematics and science majors certified to teach by the university. Following the initial success of the Austin program, the UTeach Institute was formed to partner with other colleges and universities to replicate the UTeach program at schools across the country. UTeach allows students to graduate in four years with a teaching certificate and a B.S. degree in mathematics or science. Unlike most teacher training programs that focus on generic education courses, UTeach includes a teaching and mentorship component guided by master teachers with extensive experience in the public schools. In addition, the program includes strong professional development courses that focus specifically on teaching mathematics and science. Currently, more than 70 teachers graduate per year from Austin, with 92 percent going on to teach. Four years later, 82 percent of UTeach graduates are still teaching. By comparison, only 60 percent of education graduates nationally are still teaching four years later. In December, the UTeach Institute awarded $2.4 million to 10 institutions of higher education in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Texas to replicate the program.|