Two recent education North Carolina legislation changes that could impact New Hanover County Schools the most are changes to teacher tenure and school grade requirements.
New Hanover County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley updated the New Hanover County Board of Education about several of the changes during the first Tuesday, Aug. 20 work session agenda item.
He pointed out teacher tenure and school grades as the two items he expects will have the most local impacts, but several of the changes have sparked rallies and criticism throughout the county and the state.
“This has probably been as busy a year as I can remember for changes,” Markley said.
Dr. John Welmers, assistant superintendent for human resources, explained all tenure for teachers would be eliminated by 2018.
The top 25 percent of tenured teachers will be eligible at the end of the 2013-14 school year to come off tenure in exchange for a four-year contract and $500 annual raise. Staff will then make a decision of either one, two or four-year contracts for other teachers, with restrictions on how many teachers receive four-year contracts.
“Roughly we’re looking at about probably 200 teachers who will be in that one, two or four-year contract at the end of this year,” Welmers said.
There will be a three-part evaluation conducted for each teacher during the upcoming school year. In future years, only teachers who are up for renewal would be fully evaluated, and there would be a shortened evaluation for years in between, Welmers said.
Board members will discuss the item more in depth later in 2013.
Through another change, all schools will also now be graded A through F on a 0-100 10-point scale, with primarily an efficiency grade representing the number of students who pass the end-of-grade tests, Markley said.
The score will be divided into 80 percent proficiency and 20 percent growth.
“It’s interesting when you run this data,” Markley said. “On our schools last year … those numbers almost, with certain exceptions, mirror free and reduced lunch numbers. The higher the free and reduced lunch numbers, the lower the grade. … Statewide that trend holds true as well.”
Sunset Park and College Park elementary schools were exceptions.
Board members also reworded a resolution, initiated by chairman Don Hayes, requesting the North Carolina Board of Education and the North Carolina General Assembly to clarify common core standards, assessments and financial obligations before implementation.
The board will vote on the resolution during the September board meeting.
The standards were adopted for K-12 math and English in North Carolina for the 2009-10 school year, with implementation projected for 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.
Markley said the problem is not with the standards, but with the assessments tied to the standards.
End of year test scores for the new 2012-13 North Carolina assessments have not been received.