One hundred percent

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, May 29, 2018

WINDSOR – Perfect attendance.

That will be a source of pride for the teachers in Bertie County Schools for the next two years after every single teacher in the county participated in the 2018 Teacher Working Conditions Survey.

The survey is an anonymous statewide canvass of licensed school-based educators to assess teaching conditions at the school, district and state level. First administered in 2002 as part of the Governor’s Teacher Working Conditions Initiative, it is conducted biennially.

The results of this survey are one component of the on-going process for collaborative school and district improvement plans. Results are also used as artifacts in the educator and administrator evaluation instruments in the state.

According to EdNC, the 2016 N.C. Teacher Working Conditions survey showed almost 87 percent of teachers who responded are happy overall in their workplace, and say their schools were good places to work and learn.

84 percent of educators who participated in the 2014 survey said their schools have used the results to grow. But results four years ago also found only 43 percent of surveyed teachers thought state assessments accurately test students’ understanding of material.

For 2018, hoping to outdo Kentucky’s teachers – who posted a participation rate of 91 percent – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson offered as incentive five rewards of $1,000 each to the schools and/or districts that were first in their category to reach 100 percent completion.

Bertie County Schools was one of two in the northeast to receive an award, the other being Camden Early College High School in Camden County.

According to the state superintendent’s office, nearly 110,000 school-based educators responded across the state. According to the brief from the State Superintendent, 109,449 educators in North Carolina completed the survey. That was 90.54 percent, but Tar Heel teachers were edged out by the Bluegrass State by .5 percent.

“This survey, which is completely anonymous, helps us to gauge school cultures which we then feel helps improve retention and recruitment of educators in North Carolina,” said Sonya Rinehart, one of eight regional NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) Facilitators across the state, and who came from Edenton to Windsor to present the check.

Bertie officials, naturally, were delighted to learn of the news of their selection in such exclusive company.

“We are very proud to be included in this group,” said Bertie Schools Interim Executive Director of Operations and Human Resources Karen Dameron. “And I want to thank all of our teachers here in Bertie who took the time to share their opinions. We hope that their voices, along with those across the state, will be heard and considered in planning for education moving forward.”

Over the years, the survey has received input from the Governor, the state superintendent, NCDPI, and the NC Association of Educators – all based in Raleigh – as well as the New Teachers Center in Durham.

“It’s an interesting time for teachers,” added Rinehart. “And that’s especially true for teachers in rural areas because these areas don’t have as much to attract teachers.”

“The survey tells us about relationships,” she noted. “Because in building relationships with students, teachers and administrators offer something that nothing else does. Relationships are the key to education. (Educators) can’t fix everything; but we can start with the small things because building relationships doesn’t cost money.”

Final results of the survey should be available to teachers, to schools, and to the districts in about five weeks. The results are broken up into several categories, including use of time in school, facilities and resources, community support and involvement, managing student conduct, teacher leadership, school leadership, professional development, instructional practices and support, and overall assessment.