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Education
Dr. Scott Ralls Selected As Next Wake Tech President PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 19 December 2018 09:48
Dr. Scott Ralls will be the next president of Wake Technical Community College, effective May 2019. The Wake Tech Board of Trustees has approved his selection, pending final approval by the State Board of Community Colleges later today. Dr. Ralls currently serves as president of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), one of the largest and most internationally-diverse community colleges in the United States. He has more than 20 years of experience in community colleges, including seven years as president of the NC Community College System, and has worked for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Labor.
 
“Scott Ralls is the right person at the right time for Wake Tech,” says Wake Tech Board Chair Tom Looney, “and I’m thrilled about his selection. With his extensive record of achievement and leadership at one of the nation’s largest community colleges, he will be able to build on Wake Tech’s solid foundation and continue its tradition of excellence. Throughout the selection process, Scott Ralls stood apart. He knows our region’s economic landscape, understands our workforce training needs, and works effectively with elected leaders on both sides of the aisle.”
 
Dr. Ralls will become Wake Tech’s fourth president, succeeding Dr. Stephen Scott, who led the college for 15 years before his retirement in August. Dr. Bill Aiken is currently serving as interim president.
 
At NOVA, Dr. Ralls created a new Information and Engineering Technology Division and led the construction of three new advanced training facilities. He helped grow NOVA’s cybersecurity program into one of the largest and fastest growing in the nation, and established the first Cloud Computing associate degree program in the country, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services. He created a new workforce division at NOVA, fostering innovative relationships that included the first east coast apprenticeship program with Amazon Web Services.  Dr. Ralls developed new articulation agreements with universities and engaged the NOVA community in developing a new strategic plan. He was named one of the Washington Region Power 100 Leaders by Washington Business Journal in 2017.
 
From 2008 to 2015, Dr. Ralls served as president of the NC Community College System, leading the state’s 58 community colleges through a period of enrollment growth and budget challenges. Before that, he served as president of Craven Community College in New Bern. Dr. Ralls holds a bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, and master’s and doctorate degrees in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Maryland. He will begin at Wake Tech May 1, 2019; until then, he will visit Wake Tech periodically to meet with trustees, administrators, faculty, and staff.
 
Dr. Ralls was selected to lead Wake Tech after an extensive nationwide search that attracted a diverse pool of more than 60 applicants. The search was led by the nationally-recognized firm, AGB Search, which conducted an extensive series of listening sessions with faculty, staff, students, and key community partners to develop a presidential profile. A Search Committee comprised of trustees, faculty, staff, and community leaders narrowed the field to the top three candidates and made the final recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
 
“As board members we knew we had an important responsibility,” says Looney. “Wake Tech is our community college, and the state’s largest, serving more than 74,000 students. Our goal was to make the selection process as thorough and as transparent as possible. This has been an inclusive and collaborative community exercise that has identified a visionary and transformational new leader. I’m very proud to have led this search process and even prouder of the great choice we’ve made for Wake Tech’s future.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 December 2018 09:50
 
Speaker Moore Says He Will Introduce $1.9 Billion Education Bond In 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 18 December 2018 11:44

Following his nomination for a third term as Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives this week, Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said he would file legislation and travel the state in 2019 to support the legislature’s second public education bond in three years. 

 
A new $1.9 billion public school bond should be approved by the state General Assembly in the 2019 legislative session and be considered by voters in a 2020 ballot referendum, Moore said, vowing to travel North Carolina in support of new school capital investments.  
 
Moore proposed $1.3 billion be provided to K-12 school construction needs, $300 million for capital funding to UNC system institutions, and another $300 million for facility needs in North Carolina’s community colleges.   
 
“Education is what matters most to families and businesses – to the private and public sectors alike – and North Carolina is poised to build on historic commitments to our schools with another long-term investment in capital construction for our rapidly growing student population,” Moore said.      
 
“Our state’s explosive growth over the past decade brings opportunities and challenges for our school systems.  The state General Assembly must continue to meet those needs with investments in our future.” 
 
State Superintendent Mark Johnson offered support for the proposal: 
 
“As State Superintendent, I know first-hand the needs in our communities for school improvements,” Johnson said.  “Together, we have launched innovative programs that use lottery funds to build new schools in our rural counties as well as public-private partnerships to build new schools.” 
 
“I am excited about giving voters the option to approve more funding to support school infrastructure across our state.”
 
North Carolina is in a strong fiscal position with unanimous AAA credit ratings, consistent revenue surpluses and a strong record of savings.   
 
Moore said that grants to K-12 school systems from a second public education bond should be weighted by counties’ low-wealth status, total population, average school enrollment and enrollment growth. 
 
Grants to K-12 schools should prioritize counties that have limited ability to generate tax revenue, carry high debt-to-tax ratios, and have critical school construction needs, Moore said, similar to the state’s new Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund.  
 
“Education spending is moving in the right direction as we spend billions more on schools annually than just a few years ago,” Moore said, “while lottery funds are finally prioritized to communities that need them most under North Carolina’s new Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund.” 
 
Grants for smaller counties with economic challenges should not require a local match, Moore said, while larger school systems should provide matching funds. 
 
Counties that recently approved local school district bonds should be permitted to allocate funds from a new statewide education bond to cover financing fees and costs from those prior commitments, Moore said. 
 
“North Carolina’s education communities can continue to reap the rewards of smart investments that put schools first with forward-thinking commitments to K-12 classrooms and institutions of higher learning,” Moore said.   
 
A focus on workforce training should drive bond grants for community colleges and universities, Moore said, including workforce development IT infrastructure, capital facilities for career and technical educations with a STEM focus, and renovation and modernization needs targeted to meet local workforce demand. 
 
“The critical skills and certifications our workforce needs for the high-paying jobs of today are being taught in North Carolina community colleges and universities that are the economic engine of our state’s growth,” Moore said. 
 
“Remaining the best state for business requires that we continue to offer cutting-edge education opportunities for everyone in North Carolina.” 
 
Historic Commitments to Education in North Carolina
 
The state General Assembly has passed five consecutive teacher pay raises – including every year of Speaker Moore’s tenure – investing the third largest salary increases in the nation since 2013-14 according to the left-leaning National Education Association. 
 
Over 44,000 teachers in the state – nearly half of the total workforce – have received at least a $10,000 raise since 2014.  Starting teacher pay in the state is now $35,000, while average teacher pay has surpassed $50,000.  
 
The North Carolina General Assembly also approved additional pay raises for principals, assistant principals, and other state employees who work in education administration. 
 
In 2016, North Carolina voters approved the $2 billion ConnectNC bond to build 21 new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) facilities on UNC campuses.  The ConnectNC cash flow will accelerate to more than $40 million per month in capital funds for the new buildings in 2019.  
 
The state legislature also provided tens of millions of dollars in hurricane relief aid in 2018 to school systems affected by Hurricanes Florence.  The 2018 state budget directed an additional $700 million more to public education over the next two years.  
 
Other historic investments in education under Speaker Moore’s leadership include tens of millions of dollars in school safety initiatives provided in the 2018 state budget and a new Advanced Placement Partnership (NCAPP) that funds college credit exam fees for families. 
 
The North Carolina General Assembly will spend more than $50 million on NCAPP by 2019 and student participation and performance on AP exams have increased substantially under the program.  
 
Speaker Moore’s office will provide more details on his education bond proposal in the coming weeks. 
 
Ferrel Guillory: A Strategy For Struggling Schools PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Monday, 17 December 2018 10:06

By Ferrel Guillory,Vice Chairman of EducationNC.

 

North Carolina has a name and a legal definition for its most-struggling schools. But neither the name nor the definition adequately describes schools that as many as 250,000 young North Carolinians attend.

These schools are known as “low-performing.” In law, they are defined as having a performance grade of D or F and as not having exceeded the expected year-to-year rise in students’ scores on standardized tests. By official count, North Carolina has 480 low-performing schools.

And yet, test-score statistics do not capture the full reality of the most-struggling schools. Located in rural communities as well as in metropolitan neighborhoods, these schools are filled with students from lower-income and in-poverty households, many of whom show up with “toxic stress’’ from their daily living environment. Many of their students have few books in the home or reliable broad-band internet connection. Their school districts have difficulty recruiting and keeping enough well-qualified teachers.

For more than two decades, the state has had these schools on its agenda as a result of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in the still-ongoing Leandro case. On the ruling’s 20th anniversary in July 2017, I wrote, “It remains clear that North Carolina will not meet that legal promise of equity in education without an all-out assault on low-performing schools.”

In recent years, no such assault has yet been marshaled. Currently, the state has an array of initiatives, some perhaps promising, but overall disjointed. Several school districts have adopted the “restart’’ model that gives low-performing schools charter-like administrative flexibility. The Rowan-Salisbury system has become a “renewal’’ district, which also has a plan for major consolidation. The new Innovative School District is authorized to take over a total of five schools, and now has two. Plus, the UNC system may set up “laboratory’’ schools in districts where 25 percent of schools are low-performing.

Meanwhile, the Republican-majority General Assembly offered off-ramps to parents dissatisfied with nearby traditional public schools. The state has authorized more charter schools, as well as a “virtual’’ charter. It has provided state subsidy to lower-income families for private school tuition. No doubt, parents have found satisfying alternatives for their children, although as a whole both charters and private institutions have a wide range of strong schools and low-performing schools, just as the public system does.

While adopting alternatives and new initiatives, North Carolina also down-graded a systematic, if not very glitzy, effort to turn around its low-performing schools. In 2007-09, the state targeted 130 schools, which received leadership and instructional coaching along with upgraded professional development for teachers and principals.

That effort got a boost in 2010-11 when the state received a Race to the Top grant, part of the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package. An assessment in 2015 by researchers from N.C. State University and Vanderbilt University found that “North Carolina’s lowest-achieving schools in 2009-10 improved their performance during the four years’’ in which the state had federal assistance. When Race to the Top expired, the legislature did not appropriate state funds to sustain the same level of effort.

What’s more, the legislature mandated $8 million in cuts to the Department of Public Instruction budget over the past two years. In executing budget cuts, DPI dismissed more than two dozen field staffers assigned to carry out the in-district and in-school turnaround efforts. (For an extended examination of these developments, click here.)

For some elected officials, reducing taxes and cutting bureaucracy have an appeal. But they also have consequences. The recent tension over the ISD selection of a Wayne County elementary school is indicative. The fight centered on the governance and operation of the school; still, it has resulted already in moves to bolster that school. But what about the dozen schools still on the ISD prospect list, and the scores of other low-performing schools with diminished access to instructional support?

In an essay distributed this week, John McArthur of the Brookings Institution proposed three big problems to fix in 2019. He didn’t have the state’s low-performing schools in mind, but he concluded with the relevant-to-North Carolina observation that American society cannot afford to leave behind its “marginalized’’ people.

“All human beings need to be actively included in progress,” he wrote. “It is no longer good enough for societies to succeed on average; they need to succeed for everyone.” 

Students in North Carolina’s most-struggling schools are marginalized educationally. And high on its 2019 agenda, North Carolina surely should resume and renew a strategic educational campaign directed toward its most vulnerable students.

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By Ferrel Guillory is the Director of the Program on Public Life, Professor of the Practice at the UNC School of Media and Journalism, and the Vice Chairman of EducationNC.

 
ECU Dental School Earns National Innovation Award PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Monday, 26 November 2018 10:55
The national organization representing all U.S. and Canadian dental schools announced the 2019 award for innovation will go to the School of Dental Medicine at East Carolina University. It is the first national honor to recognize the university for its breakthrough approach to providing practical experience for future dentists through rural service-learning centers across North Carolina.
 
The American Dental Education Association’s (ADEA) ADEAGies Foundation® said the ECU dental school is a recipient of the William J. Gies Award for Vision, Innovation and Achievement, in the Innovation category. The mission of the foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the ADEA, is to enhance oral health through transformational advances in dental education, research, leadership and recognition.
 
The annual Gies Award honors individuals and organizations who exemplify the highest standards in oral health and dental education, research and leadership.
 
“There are great things happening in academic dentistry throughout the United States and Canada, but we don’t always take the time to recognize that,” said Dr. Richard W. Valachovic, president and CEO of the ADEA. “The Gies Award is a wonderful reminder of our colleagues’ innovative work in dental education and how they are improving the lives of the individuals we are committed to serve.”
 
The ECU School of Dental Medicine community service-learning center in Ahoskie, one of eight such centers strategically positioned in rural areas across the state. 
The ECU School of Dental Medicine community service-learning center in Ahoskie, one of eight such centers strategically positioned in rural areas across the state.
 
The ECU School of Dental Medicine earned the designation for strategically placing eight state-of-the-art service-learning centers in rural and underserved communities across North Carolina where dental students and residents can hone their skills. The centers and on-campus dental clinics have treated nearly 60,000 patients since the first center opened in 2012—many of whom previously had little or no access to dental care.
 
“Our school is founded upon the promise to make oral health care more accessible to all North Carolinians, and our eight community service-learning centers are creating smiles and providing students with invaluable experience,” said Dr. Greg Chadwick, dean. “The Gies Award is affirmation that our strategy of immersing our talented faculty, students and residents in the communities that need us most is working.”
 
The community service-learning centers—overseen by faculty directors who establish roots as active members of these communities—treat patients while providing students and residents vital education and hands-on clinical experiences.
 
“The Gies Award is confirmation once again that ECU is excelling at serving underserved communities across North Carolina while at the same time preparing our students for success in their chosen careers,” said ECU Chancellor Dr. Cecil P. Staton. “Our service-learning centers provide talented and well-prepared dentists for North Carolina while lifting up the communities they serve.”
 
Last year, the UNC Board of Governors awarded Chadwick the 2017 Gov. James E. Holshouser Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Service. That honor focused on the efforts of Chadwick and the School of Dental Medicine to improve the quality of life for North Carolina’s citizens.
 
The school’s community service-learning centers are based in Ahoskie, Brunswick County, Davidson County, Elizabeth City, Lillington, Robeson County, Spruce Pine and Sylva. Fourth-year dental students complete nine-week rotations at three different centers to experience a range of patients and cases and to live in diverse communities as they learn.
 
The School of Dental Medicine graduated its first class in 2015 and now boasts more than 200 alumni. While many of those are in the process of completing dental residencies or military obligations out of state, 71 percent are already practicing in North Carolina.
 
The 2019 Gies Awards will be presented on March 18 in tandem with the 2019 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in Chicago.
Last Updated on Monday, 26 November 2018 10:57
 
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