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Opinion NCCAT plans to restructure and persevere despite 50% budget cut

Linda Suggs, chair of the board of trustees of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, last Friday announced that due to a 50% reduction in the organization’s operating budget, NCCAT will be reorganizing and shifting resources to best serve the teachers and schools of North Carolina.

Due to the resizing and restructuring, between 35 and 40 positions were eliminated, but both the Cullowhee and Ocracoke campuses remain open.

“This is an opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves while remaining true to our vision of advancing teaching as an art and a profession,” Suggs said at a joint meeting of the NCCAT Board of Trustees and the Development Foundation of NCCAT Inc. “We can still impact a large number of teachers with this budget.”

According to Elaine Franklin, executive director of NCCAT, a budget cut of this magnitude made a reduction in the size of the organization unavoidable. The plan for moving forward includes a reduction in force and an increase in fundraising activities. NCCAT’s new model will be characterized by a move toward greater diversity in terms of programming content, sources of funding and use of resources.

“During this fiscal year, we will be transitioning to a new model for delivering NCCAT's mission,” Franklin said.

NCCAT’s new model will focus on a set of overarching initiatives that include: beginning teachers and teacher retention; STEM; leadership; and a broader area called culture, curriculum and change. By reducing the number of five-day residential seminars and increasing support from grantors, the center will be able to provide more programs that directly deliver services to schools resulting in a greater degree of outreach. NCCAT’s new programs will be designed to respond to the critical needs of teachers and schools, such as the move to common core standards.

“Our goal is to maintain NCCAT's reputation for high-quality professional development programs and services,” Suggs said, “but to do so in a way that is fiscally sound and supported by educational policy in the twenty-first century.”

Increasing teacher effectiveness is fundamental to improving public education. NCCAT educates teachers and provides them with new knowledge, skills, teaching methods, best practices and information to take back to their classrooms. NCCAT's instructional programming is designed to give teachers the support and resources they need to be highly effective and enhance student achievement. For more information about NCCAT’s instructional programs, visit www.nccat.org or call 828-293-5202.





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