Winston -Salem /Forsyth County Schools (WSFCS), the fifth-largest school system in North Carolina and the 83rd-largest in the country, has cultivated a strong, collaborative relationship with the Forsyth County Association of Educators (FCAE), an affiliate of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) and the National Education Association. The long-standing relationship between the teachers' association and the district, in this non-bargaining state, has allowed WSFCS to move forward on a number of innovative projects:
- Yearly surveys of teachers, first developed collaboratively more than 20 years ago, capture information about working climate and school conditions. This data is used to inform professional development activities and principal evaluation.
- FCAE members serve on multiple committees at the district level, sharing responsibility with district leaders and board of education members for initiatives such as the district's federal Teacher Incentive Fund and Race to the Top applications.
- FCAE participates in the district's Teacher Advisory Committee, which allows for teacher input in district vision and policy.
- Recent policy developments include the new Reduction in Force (RIF) agreement, which states that RIF decisions will be based on both teachers' work experience and their performance on evaluations.
WSFCS uses the North Carolina Teacher Evaluation Process (adopted in 2008), which is designed to assess teacher performance in relation to the five NC Professional Teaching Standards. FCAE provides the required teacher training on the evaluation process, which asks principals to assess teacher progress using a rubric that details four levels of performance (Developing, Proficient, Accomplished, and Distinguished). Ratings are based on classroom observations and artifacts compiled by teachers as evidence of their practice. Beginning this school year, documentation for at least one standard must include an example of student growth data, including SAS EVAAS (Education Value-Added Assessment System) results or other approved measures. The local and state teachers' associations collaborate to provide much of the targeted professional development given to teachers as part of the evaluation and growth process.
Superintendent Donald Martin says the value of the relationship with the teachers' association is immeasurable: "It is hard to put into words the value of a collaborative relationship with the teachers' association that is built on mutual trust—the residual benefits are great, and we probably take them for granted."
|Data at a glance:|
|Total certified teachers||4,000|
|Total full-time staff||7,900|
|Number of schools||80|
|Enrollment, by race/ethnicity|
|Students eligible for free and reduced-price meals||51%|
Tripp Jeffers, President, Forsyth County Association of Educators
Donny Lambeth, Chairman, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education
Donald Martin, Superintendent, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
District Website: http://wsfcs.k12.nc.us
District Contract: http://policy.microscribepub.com/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=236326077&depth=2&infobase=forsyth.nfo&softpage=PL_tocframe