H849: Expand & Enhance the Teaching Fellows Program. Latest Version
Session: 2023 - 2024
AN ACT to expand and enhance the north carolina teaching fellows program.
Whereas, the pursuit of teaching is the pursuit of excellence, and excellent teachers are not just born, they are developed, equipped, trained, and valued; and
Whereas, all students in North Carolina deserve to be taught by excellent teachers; and
Whereas, the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program has an important legacy in North Carolina, providing the best and brightest students the opportunity to have a place of influence and distinction by elevating them to a vital role – the role of a teacher; and
Whereas, based on the sorely inadequate and regularly declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs and an accelerating teacher turnover rate, North Carolina is facing an overwhelming teacher shortage across the State, especially in rural counties; and
Whereas, the teacher shortage is a growing crisis for our entire educational system as well as the future of our State; and
Whereas, to solve this problem and provide stable, talented, motivated, and excellent teachers in our classrooms, we need to continue to rebuild the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program; Now, therefore,
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Part 3 of Article 23 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes reads as rewritten:
Part 3. North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program.
§ 116‑209.60. Definitions.
The following definitions apply in this Part:
(1) Commission. – The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission.
(2) Director. – The Director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program.
(3) Forgivable loan. – A forgivable loan made under the Program.
(4) Program. – The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program.
(5) Public school. – An elementary or secondary school located in North Carolina that is governed by a local board of education, charter school board of directors, regional school board of directors, or University of North Carolina laboratory school board of trustees.
(6) STEM. – Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
(7) Trust Fund. – The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program Trust Fund.
§ 116‑209.62. North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program established; administration.
(a) Program. – There is established the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program to be administered by the System Office of The University of North Carolina, in conjunction with the Authority and the Commission. The purpose of the Program is to recruit, prepare, and support students residing in or attending institutions of higher education located in North Carolina for preparation as highly effective
STEM or special education teachers in the State's public schools. The Program shall be used to provide a forgivable loan to individuals interested in preparing to teach in the public schools of the State in STEM or special education licensure areas.State.
(b) Trust Fund. – There is established the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program Trust Fund to be administered by the Authority, in conjunction with the System Office of The University of North Carolina. All funds (i) appropriated to, or otherwise received by, the Program for forgivable loans and other Program purposes, (ii) received as repayment of forgivable loans, and (iii) earned as interest on these funds shall be placed in the Trust Fund. The purpose of the Trust Fund is to provide financial assistance to qualified students for completion of teacher education and licensure programs to fill
STEM or special education licensure areas positions in the public schools of the State.
(c) Uses of Monies in the Trust Fund. – The monies in the Trust Fund may be used only for (i) forgivable loans granted under the Program, (ii) administrative costs associated with the Program, including recruitment and recovery of funds advanced under the Program, (iii) mentoring and coaching support to forgivable loan recipients, and (iv) extracurricular enhancement activities of the Program in accordance with the following:
(1) The Authority shall transfer the
greater of six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000) or ten percent (10%) following amounts of the available funds from the Trust Fund to the General Administration of The University of North Carolina University of North Carolina System Office at the beginning of each fiscal year year:
a. The greater of six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000) or ten percent (10%) for the Program's administrative costs, the salary of the Director of the Program and other Program staff,
expenses of the Commission, and to provide the Commission with funds to use for the extracurricular enhancement activities of the Program.and expenses of the Commission.
b. The sum of up to six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000) for extracurricular enhancement activities of the Program, including (i) summer programs to maintain year‑round connections and (ii) alumni programs to foster continued engagement after graduation. These activities should be geared to instilling a strong motivation not only to remain in teaching but to provide leadership for tomorrow's schools.
c. The sum of up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) for the Director of the Program to implement the recruitment activities identified in subsection (d) of this section.
(2) The Authority may use the greater of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or four percent (4%) of the funds appropriated to the Trust Fund each fiscal year for administrative costs associated with the Program.
(3) The Authority shall provide the Commission with up to six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000) from the Trust Fund in each fiscal year for the Commission to provide mentoring and coaching support to forgivable loan recipients through the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program in an amount of up to two thousand two hundred dollars ($2,200) for each Program recipient. Funds shall be prioritized for teachers serving in North Carolina public schools identified as low‑performing under G.S. 115C‑105.37.
(d) Director of the Program. – The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina shall appoint a Director of the Program. The Director shall appoint staff to the Commission and shall be responsible for recruitment and coordination of the Program, including proactive, aggressive, and strategic recruitment of potential recipients. Recruitment activities shall include (i) targeting regions of the State with the highest teacher attrition rates and teacher recruitment challenges, (ii) actively engaging with educators, business leaders, experts in human resources, elected officials, and other community leaders throughout the State, and (iii) attracting candidates
in STEM and special education licensure areas to the Program. The Director shall report to the President of The University of North Carolina. The Authority shall provide office space and clerical support staff, as necessary, to the Director for the Program.
(e) Student Selection Criteria for Forgivable Loans. – The Commission shall adopt stringent standards for awarding forgivable loans based on multiple measures to ensure that only the strongest applicants receive them, including the following:
(1) Grade point averages.
(2) Performance on relevant career and college readiness assessments.
(3) Experience, accomplishments, and other criteria demonstrating qualities positively correlated with highly effective teachers, including excellent verbal and communication skills.
(4) Demonstrated commitment to serve
in a STEM or special education licensure area in North Carolina public schools.
(f) Program Selection Criteria. – The Authority shall administer the Program in cooperation with each constituent institution of The University of North Carolina and up to
eight four institutions of higher education with approved educator preparation programs selected by the Commission that represent a diverse selection of both postsecondary constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina and private postsecondary institutions operating in the State. The Commission shall adopt stringent standards for selection of the most effective educator preparation programs, including the following:
(1) Demonstrates high rates of educator effectiveness on value‑added models and teacher evaluations, including using performance‑based, subject‑specific assessment and support systems, such as edTPA or other metrics of evaluating candidate effectiveness that have predictive validity.
(2) Demonstrates measurable impact of prior graduates on student
learning, including impact of graduates teaching in STEM or special education licensure areas.learning.
(3) Demonstrates high rates of graduates passing exams required for teacher licensure.
(4) Provides curricular and co‑curricular enhancements in leadership, facilitates learning for diverse learners, and promotes community engagement, classroom management, and reflection and assessment.
(5) Requires at least a minor concentration of study in the subject area that the candidate may teach.
(6) Provides early and frequent internship or practical experiences, including the opportunity for participants to perform practicums in diverse school environments.
(7) Is approved by the State Board of Education as an educator preparation program.
(g) Awards of Forgivable Loans. – The Program shall provide forgivable loans to selected students to be used at each constituent institution of The University of North Carolina and up to
eight four selected private institutions for completion of a program leading to initial teacher licensure as follows:
(1) North Carolina high school seniors. – Forgivable loans of up to
four thousand one hundred twenty‑five dollars ($4,125) six thousand dollars ($6,000) per semester for up to eight semesters.
(2) Students applying for transfer to a selected educator preparation program at an institution of higher education. – Forgivable loans of up to
four thousand one hundred twenty‑five dollars ($4,125) six thousand dollars ($6,000) per semester for up to six semesters.
(3) Individuals currently holding a bachelor's degree seeking preparation for teacher licensure. – Forgivable loans of up to
four thousand one hundred twenty‑five dollars ($4,125) six thousand dollars ($6,000) per semester for up to four semesters.
(4) Students matriculating at institutions of higher education who are changing to an approved program of study at a selected educator preparation program. – Forgivable loans of up to
four thousand one hundred twenty‑five dollars ($4,125) six thousand dollars ($6,000) per semester for up to four semesters.
Forgivable loans may be used for tuition, fees, the cost of books, and expenses related to obtaining licensure.
(h) Identification of STEM and Special Education Licensure Areas. – The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall identify and provide to the Commission and the Authority a list of STEM and special education licensure areas and shall annually provide to the Commission the number of available positions in each licensure area relative to the number of current and anticipated teachers in that area of licensure. The Commission shall make the list of STEM and special education licensure areas readily available to applicants.
(j) Annual Report. – The Commission, in coordination with the Authority, the Department of Public Instruction, each constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, and the selected private educator education programs participating in the Program shall report no later than January 1, 2019, and annually thereafter, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee regarding the following:
(1) Forgivable loans awarded from the Trust Fund, including the following:
a. Demographic information regarding recipients.
b. Number of recipients by institution of higher education and program.
c. Information on number of recipients by
anticipated STEM and special education licensure area.
(2) Placement and repayment rates, including the following:
a. Number of graduates who have been employed
in a STEM or special education licensure area as a public school teacher in North Carolina within two years of program completion.
b. Number of graduates who accepted employment at a low‑performing school identified under G.S. 115C‑105.37 as part of their years of service.
c. Number of graduates who have elected to do loan repayment and their years of service, if any, prior to beginning loan repayment.
d. Number of graduates employed in a
STEM or special education licensure area North Carolina public school who have received an overall rating of at least accomplished and have met expected growth on applicable standards of the teacher evaluation instrument.
e. Aggregate information on student growth and proficiency in courses taught by graduates who have fulfilled service requirements through employment in a
STEM or special education licensure area.North Carolina public school.
§ 116‑209.63. Terms of forgivable loans; receipt and disbursement of funds.
(a) Notes. – All forgivable loans shall be evidenced by notes made payable to the Authority that bear interest at a rate not to exceed ten percent (10%) per year as set by the Authority and beginning on the first day of September after the completion of the program leading to teacher licensure or 90 days after graduation, whichever is later. If a forgivable loan is terminated, the note shall be made payable to the Authority 90 days after termination of the forgivable loan. The forgivable loan may be terminated upon the recipient's withdrawal from the Program or by the recipient's failure to meet the standards set by the Commission.
(b) Forgiveness. – The Authority shall forgive the loan and any interest accrued on the loan if, within 10 years after graduation from a program leading to teacher licensure, exclusive of any authorized deferment for extenuating circumstances, the recipient serves as a teacher in a
STEM or special education licensure area, as provided in G.S. 116‑209.62(h), North Carolina public school for every year the teacher was awarded the forgivable loan, in any combination of the following:
One year Six months at a North Carolina public school identified as low‑performing under G.S. 115C‑105.37 at the time the teacher accepts employment at the school or, if the teacher changes employment during this period, at another school identified as low‑performing.
Two years One year at a North Carolina public school not identified as low‑performing under G.S. 115C‑105.37.
The Authority shall also forgive the loan if it finds that it is impossible for the recipient to work for up to
eight four years, within 10 years after completion of the program leading to teacher licensure, at a North Carolina public school because of the death or permanent disability of the recipient. If the recipient repays the forgivable loan by cash payments, all indebtedness shall be repaid within 10 years after completion of the program leading to teacher licensure supported by the forgivable loan. If the recipient completes a program leading to teacher licensure, payment of principal and interest shall begin no later than the first day of September after the completion of the program. Should a recipient present extenuating circumstances, the Authority may extend the period to repay the loan in cash to no more than a total of 12 years.
SECTION 2. This act becomes effective July 1, 2023, and applies to applications for the award of funds beginning in the 2024‑2025 academic year.