Overview of Wilkes County Schools Beginning Teacher Support Program
Wilkes County Schools strives to have a comprehensive support program for beginning teachers. Our plan is jointly supported by the Instructional Services Department (Chief Academic Officer) and the Human Resources Department (Assistant Superintendent). The district plan includes the identification of beginning teachers, beginning teacher orientation, mentor identification, buddy teacher assignments, beginning teacher professional development, and beginning teacher support services.
- A documented process for identifying and verifying all beginning teachers (BTs)
The process must include beginning teachers who meet requirements for NCDPl's assignment of initial licensure, identifying which teachers will/will not be included in the program (based on appropriate experience and position held), assignment in the area of licensure, plan for documentation of required licensure tests requirement and the process for license conversion (coursework, exams passed, three years of teaching), and the process for collecting BT data for the State of the Teaching Profession in NC Report.
Wilkes County Schools strives to help beginning teachers improve their skills and build confidence to become successful educators. This begins with proper identification and verification of all beginning teachers. Upon employment, the employment history of each newly hired certified staff member is reviewed through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Licensure and Salary information. This resource allows the district to review all new hires to determine beginning teacher support eligibility and status. Once identified as a beginning teacher, data is collected and summarized annually by the human resources department for required state reports. Such data includes beginning teacher status of new hires, number of beginning teachers, and beginning teacher turnover by reason. Beginning teacher licensure data is reviewed for each beginning teacher support candidate to ensure teaching assignments match licensure eligibility. Verification of the licensure area for beginning teachers that do not hold an initial professional license is collected through college transcripts and licensure exam results to determine eligibility for licensure application. The Wilkes County Schools human resources department reviews North Carolina State Board licensure policies, attends local/state professional development, and maintains dialogue with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction regarding teacher license procedures and related policy changes. The Wilkes County Schools human resources department maintains testing data for each new hire. This allows the district to document testing requirements for beginning teachers. Such data includes beginning teachers who have passed licensure exams and attempted licensure exams by status year. Beginning teachers in student services, administration, and curriculum instructional specialists are not required to participate. Wilkes County Schools will require the completion of a graduate survey by beginning teachers and the employer survey by the principal of the school during the beginning teacher's first year of teaching as part of the requirements to measure the performance of Educator Preparation Programs stated in GS llSC-269.35. The survey must be completed at the end of the first year of teaching.
- Plan for implementing a sound BT Induction process
Plans must include three year induction process (120 workdays each year) that includes a formal orientation, required working conditions, the process for mentor selection, training, and assignment, the process for development and monitoring of the BTs' professional development plan, and required or prescribed professional development.
Three year induction process overview
Wilkes County Schools has a three-year induction process for each beginning teacher. The district ensures qualified staff are identified to work with the district program and mentor assignments. This is a dual collaboration between the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and the Chief Academic Officer. Human resources provide support in the process of obtaining licensure based on North Carolina State Board policy with a desired outcome of obtaining a clear continuing professional license. The induction process begins with formal orientation training conducted prior to the start of each school year. Over the three-year period, beginning teachers are provided support through an assigned mentor and buddy teacher. School-assigned instructional specialists serve an additional role as the mentor of beginning teachers assigned to that location. Principals assign in addition to the mentor, buddy teachers for additional support when needed. Mentors provide various levels of continued support throughout the school year to beginning teachers that consists of:
- Monthly discussion of educational topics (Ex. Upcoming action items, school happenings, assessments, instructional focus areas.
- Mentor classroom visits (minimum of 20 minutes per month).
- Documentation of professional interactions between mentor/beginning teacher.
- Mentor weekly scheduled check-in meetings with beginning teachers in year one.
- Mentor bi-monthly check-in meetings with beginning teachers in year two/three.
- Observations of master teachers with the accompaniment of the assigned mentor.
Orientation must be provided, attended, and documented within two weeks of the beginning teacher's first day of work. At a minimum the orientation must include: an overview of the school's/system's goals, policies, and procedures; a description of available services and training opportunities; a copy of the BTSP and the process for achieving a continuing license; develop and distribute optional working conditions guidelines*; the North Carolina Teacher Evaluation Process (NOTE: A local board shall use the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards and North Carolina Teacher Evaluation Process unless it develops an alternative evaluation that is properly validated and that includes standards and criteria similar to those in the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards and North Carolina Teacher Evaluation Process); the NC Standard Course of Study; local curriculum guides; the safe and appropriate use of seclusion and restraint of students; and the State Board of Education's Mission and Goals.
Wilkes County Schools provides formal orientation opportunities for beginning teachers prior to the beginning of the school year. The first component of orientation includes weekly new hire meetings with district human resources staff. This orientation fosters positive relationships and support opportunities as new hires begin their employment opportunity with Wilkes County Schools. The second component consists of a two-day formal orientation prior to the first teacher workdays, called Academy for New Teacher Success. Beginning teachers spend the first day of the academy at their assigned school location. Mentors and principals spend this time touring the school campus, setting up technology resources, and reviewing the beginning teacher orientation module. This module educates beginning teachers on the beginning teacher support program, the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, student seclusion/restraint, beginning teacher working conditions, professional development, teacher evaluation, licensure conversion, and the North Carolina Code of Ethics. Day two of the academy is held at Central Services. Beginning teachers on day two receive instruction on the Wilkes County Schools instructional vision, superintendent expectations, employee benefits, district calendar, employment contracts, teacher licensure, Board policies, teacher evaluation, and are introduced to Central Services leadership. Beginning teachers hired after the formal orientation will complete a module in Canvas that covers the components of day two of the academy.
* Working Conditions
Explain the process for ensuring that beginning teachers have: mentor assigned early, and in close proximity; limited preparations; limited non-instructional duties; limited number of exceptional or difficult students; and no extracurricular assignments unless requested in writing by the beginning teacher.
Beginning teachers are assigned a mentor prior to the first teacher workday. School Instructional Specialists serve the role of a mentor to beginning teachers. As an additional support for exceptional children beginning teachers, exceptional children program specialists assist mentors with the requirements and compliance issues within this program area. Wilkes County Schools also utilizes a pre-k instructional specialist that serves as mentor to all pre-k teachers in the district. Principals assign in addition to the mentor, buddy teachers for additional support when needed. Wilkes County Schools reminds administrators annually of the North Carolina State Board policy that limits preparations, non-instructional duties, and the assignment of exceptional or difficult students. Working conditions are also reviewed on day one of beginning teacher orientation. All beginning teachers are provided information on the board policy that requires districts to provide optimal working conditions for beginning teachers and they are given the Extra Curricular Duties Agreement if they have volunteered to do so. These forms are filed in employee personnel files in Human Resources.
- Mentor Selection, Training, and Assignment
Describe the mentor program including the process for selecting appropriate mentors (based on SBE policy and GS 115C-296(e) requirements concerning mentors' NCEES evaluation and student growth expectations), mentor assignment and guidelines, and training and support provided for mentors.
Instructional Specialists serve the mentor role in Wilkes County Schools. These positions are posted on the district vacancy advertising platform. The job description for this role requires at least 5 years of successful teaching experience. Instructional Specialists are evaluated on the teacher leadership standards and all have received "proficient" or higher in their evaluations on Standards 1-4. Mentors are asked to complete the 21st Century Mentoring module in the North Carolina Educator Evaluation System. Instructional Specialists are supported by school administrators, the Chief Academic Officer, the Director of Elementary Education, and the Director of Secondary education in relation to job duties, support, and professional development.
- Professional Development Plans
Describe the process through which the beginning teacher collaborates with his/her principal and mentor to develop a PDP. Include how the PDP requirements are met and monitored in the LEA/Charter School.
The process of Professional Development Plan (PDP) development for beginning teachers begins with component three of the North Carolina education evaluation process, the teacher self-assessment. Using the rubric for teacher evaluation, beginning teachers rate their performance or anticipated performance on all five standards of evaluation. This includes all elements and indicators of each standard. Assigned mentors, along with school administrators, are available to assist beginning teachers with understanding the evaluation standards, examples of related artifacts, and other general process guidance. Assigned mentors and school administrators assist beginning teachers with annual goal development for those teachers on an individual or monitored professional development plan. School administrators are provided with an annual evaluation timeline that outlines targeted dates to complete the professional development plan process. This timeline includes dates for the initial PDP review, mid-year review, and final review. Mentors are given annual access to the North Carolina Educator Evaluation System for assigned beginning teachers. Each mentor reviews beginning teacher goals, administrator meeting dates, and goal progress for assigned beginning teachers. Mentor and administrator acknowledgment is recorded in the evaluation system. Professional Development Plans can be modified, as needed, based on administrator observation feedback.
Describe the process for determining required and/or prescribed professional development for beginning teachers.
Beginning teachers are required to attend district professional development based on their year in the beginning teacher process. Beginning teachers in year one are required to attend one professional development opportunity per quarter. Beginning teachers in year two are required to attend two professional development opportunities per year. Beginning teachers in year three are required to attend professional development opportunities as assigned by the principal. The Instructional Services Department works with Instructional Specialists to schedule, plan, and deliver professional development.
- A formal process for conducting observations and summative evaluations on all BTs
Provide details on the process that ensures each beginning teacher receives the required observations and evaluation as outlined in SBE policy (Teacher Performance Appraisal process), General Statute and HB 1030.
The intended purpose of the North Carolina teacher evaluation process is to assess the teacher's performance in relation to the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards. Beginning teachers are introduced to this process during new hire orientation. An overview of the process is presented that includes: introduction, themes of the evaluation, purpose of the evaluation, teacher responsibility, evaluator responsibility, components of the evaluation process, evaluation rubrics, explanation of ratings, types of growth plans, timeline of observations, and evaluation resources. The Human Resources department provides each school administrator with an overview of the observation requirements, components, and a timeline of observations to ensure that beginning teachers have two formal observations prior to the end of the first semester.
- Plan for participation in BTSP Monitoring
Describe the plans for compliance with the BTSP Monitoring process (completed on a five-year revolving cycle) and technical assistance provided based on monitoring results to address areas of concern (if necessary).
The human resources department and the instructional services team will work collaboratively to ensure that the Beginning Teacher Support Plan is completed and reviewed each year. Wilkes County Schools uses the Teaching Working Conditions Survey results, other data, and feedback from professional development to determine areas of need for our beginning teacher support. The district will participate in the 5-year monitoring cycle process with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to monitor and improve program support. When areas of need are identified, the district will work as a team to address the concerns in a timely manner.
- Plan for participation in the BTSP Peer Review Process
Include the process in place in the LEA/Charter School for completing the annual Peer Review Self-Assessment and annual Peer Review process.
Wilkes County Schools will participate in a regionally-based annual peer review and support system. The peer review process is on a five-year cycle that is conducted annually, concluding with a formal review after the 5th year. Districts complete a Self-Assessment of their programs. During the year, Wilkes County Schools is partnered with another school district to review each district beginning teacher support programs. This is known as a peer review. During the peer review, districts provide information on each standard and element as it pertains to their specific program and share artifacts as evidence to support their level of proficiency. By the fifth year, districts are expected to show growth on all the standards and elements listed on the peer review rubric.
- Statement on how BTs' personnel files (files that include the teacher's PDP and performance evaluation report(s) are filed and secured.
A personnel file is created for all employees including beginning teachers. This file is maintained in a secure location within human resources for record keeping. All documents required by statute are maintained in personnel files. Personnel file copies are also maintained electronically for historical records. Annual formal teacher evaluations are maintained in the statewide online North Carolina Education Evaluation System. Professional development records are maintained in the Human Resources LINQ platform for record keeping.
- Plan for a timely transfer of BT files to subsequent employing LEAs, Charter Schools, or nonpublic institutions within the state.
Beginning teacher files are transferred in a timely manner at the request of another Local Education Agency. All personnel files of all beginning teachers are maintained in a secure environment. Personnel files are maintained indefinitely as required by statute.