Teachers, do you have sufficient access to adequate school facilities and resources? Do you have support of parents and the community at your school? Do you have leadership opportunities and are you involved in decision-making at the school level?
Starting March 1st, 2016, school-based licensed educators in all 115 North Carolina school districts and charter schools will have an opportunity to answer these and many more questions on the 8th biennial statewide NC Teacher Working Conditions (TWC) Survey. The NC TWC Survey, which will remain open through March 25, gathers feedback from teachers, counselors, principals and other administrators about the adequacy of school facilities and resources, time, empowerment, school leadership, community support, student conduct, professional development, mentoring and induction services, and student learning. The web-based survey is voluntary, anonymous and confidential. Educators receive unique access codes from their designated school-based representative (Teacher of the Year, NCAE representative, and other teacher leaders) that enable them to take the survey at the NC TWC website.
“In 2002, North Carolina became the first state in the nation to ask educators what they thought about their working conditions and what tools and support they need to do their jobs well,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “Feedback from the first seven NC TWC Surveys has shaped education policy at the school, district and state levels for more than a decade. I encourage all teachers to take the survey again this year so that their voices will continue to be heard. North Carolina is listening.”
The NC TWC Survey is featuring a new logo this year that was designed by a North Carolina public school teacher. Cedar Creek Middle School (Franklin County Schools) teacher Valerie Hawthorne submitted the winning design in a statewide contest, which wrapped up last November. Hawthorne is a National Board Certified 6th grade Social Studies teacher. Her design features the outline of an ear, an apple and the tagline “NC Listens! #TaketheSurvey2016.”
“The NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey fits in naturally with the culture of our school because we are a data-driven bunch” said Hawthorne. “We look at behavior data monthly and each teacher has a data wall in his/her classroom to help students take responsibility in setting and achieving goals. Students also have data notebooks that allow them to reflect on their individual learning process. We stress 100 percent participation on this survey because we know that data begins with understanding, but it ends with action. When teachers speak in a collective voice, we can bring about change.”
Each North Carolina school with a survey response rate of 40 percent or greater receives a results report and this data becomes a part of the school’s ongoing improvement planning process. These results are one component of the ongoing process for collaborative school and district improvement plans and also are used in North Carolina’s educator and administrator evaluation processes.
To encourage strong participation, the following businesses have generously offered to provide incentives: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Duke Energy and California Casualty Insurance.
The New Teacher Center (NTC), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the development of a high-quality teaching force, administers the NC TWC Survey. The NTC has conducted similar surveys in other states. Since 2009, the NTC has heard from more than 1 million educators in 26,000 schools in 18 states and select school districts. The NTC will aggregate and report results from North Carolina’s 2016 survey to the State Board of Education by June 30.
The NC TWC Survey is conducted under the leadership of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. For more information about this year’s survey as well as results from previous years, please visit the NC TWC website.