AN ACT TO EXPAND AND ENRICH THE NORTH CAROLINA TEACHING FELLOWS PROGRAM BY FOCUSING ON THE GREATEST NEEDS OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
Makes the following changes to Part 3, NC Teaching Fellows Program (Program), Article 23, GS Chapter 116.
Adds to the defined terms set forth in GS 116-209.60: ELA (English language arts) and elementary education. Additionally, adds hard-to-staff subject area and defines the term to mean a teacher licensure subject area identified as hard-to-staff in the annual report published by the State Board of Education (State Board) on the state of the teaching profession in North Carolina under GS 115C-299.5.
Amends GS 116-209.62 to expand the Program's purpose to recruit, prepare, and support students residing in or attending institutions of higher education in the state for preparation as highly effective teachers in elementary education, ELA, and other hard-to-staff subject areas in public schools (currently, the Program is focused on the preparation of highly effective STEM or special education teachers only). Makes conforming changes throughout the Part to refer to these subject areas of licensure in addition to STEM and special education.
Modifies the parameters regarding authorized uses of the NC Teaching Fellows Program Trust Fund (Fund) to now allow the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) to provide the NC Teaching Fellows Commission (Commission) up to $600,000 from the Fund in each fiscal year to support forgivable loan recipients through the NC New Teacher Support Program, in an amount up to $2,000 for each Program recipient serving as a teacher in an NC public school (previously, distinguished amounts based on whether the teacher was serving in a public school identified as low-performing).
Requires Program recruitment to target regions of the state with the highest attrition rates and teacher recruitment challenges identified in the annual report of the State Board under GS 115C-299.5 (previously not required to match the report), and attract candidates in the specified subject licensure areas with a focus on students of color and male students (previously did not provide for a focus of particular candidates beyond subject area).
Now requires the Program to be administered in cooperation with NC A&T University, Appalachian State University, and East Carolina University and five other higher education institutions with approved educator preparation programs (EPPs) selected by the Commission which represent postsecondary constituent insitutions of the UNC System and private postsecondary institutions operating in the State. Adds a new requirement for all of the participating institutions to provide more clinical classroom experiences for second and third year Program participants and coursework or experiential learning that focuses on cultural diversity offered at other EPPs in the state. Makes conforming and clarifying changes.
Requires forgivable loan recipients to be invited to participate in the NC New Teacher Support Program upon graduation from a participating EPP at no cost to the recipient or the local unit in which the recipient is employed.
Amends GS 116-209.63 to provide for forgiveness of the loan and any interest accrued on the loan if the recipient serves as a teacher in one of the specified licensure subject areas, within 10 years after graduation from a program leading to licensure, for every year the teacher was awarded the forgiveable loan, in any combination of (1) six months (was, one year) at an NC public school identified as low-performing either at the time the teacher accepts employment or transfers to another school identified as low performing and/or (2) one year (was, two years) at an NC public school not identified as low-performing.
Directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish the initial list of elementary education, ELA, and other hard-to-staff subject licensure areas and provide the information and number of available positions in the areas to the Commission by October 1, 2019.
Directs the Commission to select and award forgivable loans to the initial recipients for elementary education, ELA, or other hard-to-staff subject licensure areas by April 1, 2020, for the 2020-21 academic year.
Appropriates $1.65 million in additional nonrecurring funds from the General Fund to the Fund for the 2019-20 fiscal year to provision for 50 additional cohort slots for loans under the Part, as amended, beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.
Applies to the administration of the Program on or after July 1, 2019.