In 1993 the General Assembly established the Task Force on Teacher Staff Development to create a Teacher Academy plan. The Task Force consisted of twenty- one members which included classroom teachers, administrators, and other educators and was housed in the Department of Public Instruction. The original legislation stated, “The Task Force shall develop for consideration by the General Assembly a Teacher Academy Plan to establish a statewide network of high quality, integrated, comprehensive, collaborative, and sustained professional
development for teachers in school committee leadership and the core content areas. The plan shall integrate fully the resources of the State and local units.” In order to achieve this plan, the Task Force conducted focus groups and surveys to create the design of the Teacher Academy.
The first Teacher Academy sessions were held during the summer of 1994 at ten colleges and universities across the state as five-day residential academies. A cadre of one hundred North Carolina teachers facilitated the first module, “Creating Professional Workplaces,” and more than 3,600 educators participated.
From its opening session in July of 1994 through the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the Teacher Academy trained 46,510 teachers and principals during summer Teacher Academy sessions, representing schools from every Local Education Agency in North Carolina. In addition to the traditional summer sessions in 2009-2010, there were ten summer five-day sessions presented in collaboration with the Public School Forum of North Carolina, LEA/NCTA Partnership academies, and local professional development. In 1995, the North Carolina General Assembly transferred the Teacher Academy from the Department of Public Instruction to The University of North Carolina General Administration. The Task Force was renamed the North Carolina Teacher Academy Board of Trustees. The legislation stated, “The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina shall delegate to the Board of Trustees all the powers and duties the Board of Governors considers necessary or appropriate for the effective discharge of the functions of the North Carolina Teacher Academy. The North Carolina Teacher Academy Board of Trustees shall establish a statewide network of high quality, integrated, comprehensive, collaborative, and substantial professional development for teachers, which shall be provided through summer programs.” The Teacher Academy Board of Trustees meets four times annually to oversee the affairs of the Teacher Academy, including the appointment of the Executive Director. In 2006, the North Carolina General Assembly transferred the Teacher Academy to the State Board of Education. (G.S.115-C-296.4).
In July 2006 the North Carolina Teacher Academy was directed to provide training and support for one hundred 21st Century middle school literacy coaches as an integral piece of North Carolina’s Literacy Coach Initiative. The initiative was implemented as a result of statistical research that focused on reasons for the low graduation rate of North Carolina high school students. The initiative was intended to help middle school students reach literacy proficiency before entering high school.
A literacy coach position was first offered to the 100 lowest performing (based on a three year span of reading EOG scores) middle schools in the state that contained an 8th grade class. In July 2007, the General Assembly appropriated funding for an additional one hundred 21st century middle school literacy coaches. All middle schools that were feeder schools to Turnaround or
Learn and Earn high schools were invited to one of five regional meetings to explain the initiative and the responsibility of the coach and the school district.
The 21st century literacy coaches were hired by the elected School Improvement Teams in each school in order to insure that the staff accepted the responsibility for the improved student outcomes. System level and school level administrators each signed Memorandum of Understanding related to the role of the literacy coach in their schools. During the three years of the program, there was turnover in administration both at the school level and the district level, as well as teacher turnover in some of the 200 schools. In 2008 a third cohort of middle school
literacy coaches was created to provide training for new coaches hired in any of the two hundred schools as the result of attrition of literacy coaches in those schools.
In July 2009, the funding for the 21st Century middle school literacy coaches was eliminated, along with funding designated for training the coaches. And later, the funding for the Academy itself was eliminated by the General Assembly under the leadership of Governor Beverly Perdue.
A grassroots effort is underway to reorganize North Carolina Teacher Academy under the leadership of public school teacher Martha Howell. Martha first attended a NCTA program as a participant in the late 90s. Later Martha was tapped as one of over 200 North Carolina Literacy Coaches who received intensive training by NCTA. She holds a variety of certifications, a Master’s in Education with a concentration in Instructional Technology and School Administration.
Martha’s efforts include building an international website known as US Digital Literacy in 2014 which created buzz in educational circles and won accolades that year with Discovery Education Network and a DENny award. She has provided workshops and staff development in a variety of venues.
Her vision is to reinstate the efforts of Julia Kron and all of the incredible teaching fellows that once led NCTA as an independent organization while no longer relying on the funds of the General Assembly. Her belief in building the capacity of teachers through quality professional development, mentoring, and great relationships is demonstrative in her belief that education is a Human System and cannot be re-normed based on a business model.
Initially restarted as an LLC, North Carolina Teacher Academy is in the process of converting the organization to a non-profit entity. (The founders of a nonprofit are not permitted to make a profit or benefit from the net earnings of the organization. Our founder has pledged not to take any compensation for the first five years of this restart while net earnings and surplus funds will be built up and invested for the organization’s future operational use.)
The new programs of professional development at North Carolina Teacher Academy will include practical application and time to create personalized lessons for your classroom through an EdCamp delivery option.
We will partner with teacher leader experts in specific areas of teaching to build a new model for North Carolina Teacher Academy, for teachers by teachers across our great state.