Education

TeachNC campaign aims to recruit more people to teaching profession

Posted August 14, 2019 5:51 p.m. EDT

TeachNC

— State education leaders on Wednesday unveiled a new campaign aimed at recruiting more people to the teaching profession. TeachNC is the "largest statewide initiative of its kind," according to State Superintendent Mark Johnson, and will focus on increasing the number of high-quality, diverse and dedicated North Carolinians entering the teaching profession, especially in hard-to-staff areas such as science, math and special education.

"The very first measure is just getting more people into the pipeline," Johnson said, noting that he has not set a specific recruitment goal at this time.

Visitors to TeachNC.org can discover what a career in teaching offers, read about what they need to do to become a teacher, receive one-on-one coaching, and research school district profiles and salary information. They can also review content about licensure and financial aid – including $1,000 TeachNC scholarships – educator preparation programs, application checklists and more.

Within the next year, TeachNC will expand to provide information on the more than 100 school districts and charter schools in North Carolina. The website will feature tools and resources to help teacher candidates identify the schools and communities best suited to their skills and interests.

"We have over 2,500 public schools in North Carolina’s 100 counties, and now we have an easy-to-use platform to learn about becoming a teacher," Johnson said.

Increasing diversity in the teaching force is another goal of the program. Earlier this year, WRAL News reported that 80 percent of North Carolina teachers are white, while minority students make up 52 percent of the traditional public school body. For students of color, especially black and Hispanic boys, that means they may seldom – or never – have a teacher who looks like them during their kindergarten through 12th grade years.

The most recent data showed that 11 of the state's 115 school districts had no Hispanic teachers, and eight school systems had no black teachers. One district had no teachers of color at all.

"I think the game-changer here is going to be using social media to do that geo-targeting, going to communities of underrepresented minorities in the teaching profession and recruiting those bright students and saying, 'This is an amazing career,'" Johnson said. "Not just minority when it comes to race but gender and rural versus urban. Going into rural communities and saying, 'If you love your hometown and this is where you want to stay, there’s a job for you here teaching.'"

TeachNC will work with North Carolina television and radio stations to air public service announcements that will promote the initiative. Titled "Teachers Have Better Work Stories," the campaign aims to highlight the creativity, leadership and excitement that teachers experience daily in classrooms across North Carolina.

In conjunction with television and radio ads, TeachNC will include a localized social media campaign that will highlight the stories of current and former North Carolina teachers. The campaign materials will be made available to local schools and communities for their recruiting efforts.

Gov. Roy Cooper praised the campaign, saying North Carolina needs to "attack this problem" and entice more people to study teaching.

"We can all play a role in talking positively about our schools," he said.

All of North Carolina’s educator preparation programs were invited to join the TeachNC initiative. Profiles of participating programs will be featured on the TeachNC website. More than 30 of the 54 public and private educator preparation programs have joined the initiative so far, and more will continue to be added.

TeachNC is a partnership between the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, BEST NC and Teach.org, a nonprofit organization launched by Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Education.