Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Two years after its launch, the teacher recruitment initiative TeachNC reports that it has significantly exceeded its second-year goals, with more than 1,400 aspiring teachers applying to an educator preparation program in 2021, following over 600 applying during its first year.
During second year of the initiative, the TeachNC.org website was accessed in excess of 159,000 times and has attracted over 11,000 prospective educators who are being supported in their quest to become teachers. More than 1,400 of those applied for an educator preparation program in North Carolina during the initiative’s second year, with many of them also entering the classroom through the state’s residency licensure pathway, allowing them to work as teachers while completing coursework necessary for certification. The year-two number of teacher recruits represents more than a 130 percent increase over the number of applicants supported in TeachNC’s first year. Of the applicants, 50 percent identified as candidates of color and nearly a quarter of those reporting a focus area say they want to teach a STEM-related subject such as math or science or in special education.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt commended the TeachNC initiative for its success in helping to attract more people to the teaching profession and serving as a key resource of information about teaching careers in the state.
“TeachNC fills a critical need in North Carolina to make it easy for would-be teachers to learn more about the profession and to support them as they begin their journey to the classroom,” Truitt said. “My own North Star is that every student deserves a highly qualified, excellent teacher in every classroom, and the work of TeachNC is helping the state reach that all-important goal.”
TeachNC, which works in partnership with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, delivers research-based tools and supports for prospective teachers, helping reduce the barriers to applying to and enrolling in an educator preparation program. In a survey by the initiative, 60 percent of TeachNC subscriber-respondents reported an increased interest in teaching and 59 percent of TeachNC’s applicants reported that without the support of TeachNC tools, they may not have applied to a North Carolina educator prep program.
Brenda Berg, president & CEO of BEST NC, the nonprofit, nonpartisan group of business leaders that launched and helped fund the TeachNC pilot, said she is pleased with these results.
“When we launched TeachNC in 2019, we knew our state had an urgent need for teachers. With the challenges our schools have faced through the pandemic, this need is greater than ever, making it even more exciting to see that these results have exceeded our expectations,” Berg said.
“It’s not that people don’t want to become teachers. More than 10,000 people have expressed interest in becoming teachers by subscribing to TeachNC; they just need additional information and support to get there,” she said. “We are also happy to see the state take this over as an on-going effort, because we know that an investment in teacher talent is a direct investment in North Carolina students.”
The recently passed state budget includes funding to DPI to adopt the TeachNC initiative and provides a dedicated position within the agency to administer the program.
TeachNC is a partnership of BEST NC, NCDPI, and TEACH.org. TeachNC includes a full suite of strategic recruitment activities including a robust communications campaign, a comprehensive website encompassing all existing resources in the state, and 1-on-1 personalized supports for teacher candidates. These resources create a trusted, safe, and user-friendly support system for anyone considering a teaching career in North Carolina. To learn more about TeachNC, click HERE.