NO. 6: Honoring our local leaders; students winning, serving, and preparing for the future; big changes ahead at the state level, including around funding and class size; voucher funding could hit $24mm.


Auto Tech program hosts career day
Although schools talk a lot about preparing graduates for future job markets, one thing is for sure: there are skilled labor jobs available right now–jobs that will pay a solid wage. The trick is figuring out the pipeline between K-12, technical education, and hiring managers. I-SS gave it a try with their career fair recently. Read more.

Dr. David Cash honored with Order of the Longleaf Pine
As he wrapped up his final meeting as chairman of the I-SS Board of Education, Superintendent Brady Johnson presented him with North Carolina’s highest civilian honor. Read more.

Mooresville HS Theatre program wins regional honors
Beating out 15 other schools in regional competition, the MHS Theatre Arts program now heads to state competition. Read more.

Intermediate School service projects shine
From “Socktober” to raising funds for Haiti, students at Mooresville Intermediate School have worked hard this fall in service to others. See their presentation summarizing their work online. Read more.

OS1 honors Commissioner Ken Robertson
After 12 years of service on the board of Iredell County Commissioners, Ken Robertson is stepping down after three terms to return to quieter, civilian life. At his last commissioners meeting, Our Schools First honored him with a proclamation recognizing his hard work for public education in Iredell County. Read more.



Mark Johnson prepares to assume state superintendent post
As Republicans swept many of the state’s offices, newcomer Mark Johnson beat June Atkinson in November to become North Carolina’s next state superintendent. The tech firm lawyer, who taught for two years as a member of the Teach for America corps, promises to shake up the education system’s status quo. Read more.

Tough decisions ahead around NC school funding formulas
A recently released study showed that the way North Carolina doles out school funding among its state-wide school districts is fundamentally flawed–and fixing the formula could bring a lot of disruption, given how some counties (like Iredell) are viewed by the state as wealthy. (Note: NC Policy Watch is typically more left-leaning, but it offered the best reporting on this story–far better than the Raleigh N&O.) Read more.

“A Secret Crisis”: New rules about class size could harm PE, arts positions
Again from NC Policy Watch, legislation built into last year’s education budget modified K-3 class sizes–and inadvertently created a real problem in how schools assign teachers. Read more.

AJF Foundation: NC on track to spend $24 million on school vouchers
Lindsay Wagner reports that NC taxpayer dollars sent to private schools as part of the state’s voucher program are on pace to total $24 million this academic year. Read more.

Exhausted, unhappy, underpaid: “other” reasons teachers leave
WRAL’s Kelly Hinchcliffe takes a deep dive into why educators unhappy in their profession choose to leave. Learn more about what it means when a teacher checks the “other reasons” box on their way out in her report. Read more.



Re: teacher turnover numbers lacked critical measure (Ed Digest No. 5)

Same song, different verse concerning the metrics of teachers leaving. Rather than focusing on the analysis of the data, the measure was changed because of complaints that the measure was showing NC in an unfavorable light. So, rather than focus on identifying systemic issues and solutions, the discussion is about whether or not the measure is “correct”.

Both mobility and attrition are important measures. The mobility measure provides information on how individuals are moving within the system…remember that these are personal decisions and not transfers orders by a central office like the military. The attrition rate provides information on how individuals are leaving the system altogether. (the system being defined as the State of NC).

Both of these measures provide important data to be carefully reviewed. It does seem reasonable to define a Total Turnover Rate as the combination of these two measures. I have seen turnover defined in different ways, however, in this case the combination of the two measures provides data on the total churn throughout the system. Again, this total churn is important to measure as these are individual voluntary decisions. —Kevin Ross



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