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State Superintendent Mark Johnson got Teacher Appreciation Week off to a great start by announcing new initiatives guided by needs he has heard from educators on his statewide listening tour.

In addition to transforming the state education agency to better support schools, reducing over-testing, and working for school calendars that fit local needs, Superintendent Johnson today announced new programs focused on providing better professional development.

“Earlier this year, we were able to devote $200 worth of materials to each K-3 reading teacher,” said Superintendent Johnson. “For Teacher Appreciation Week, we are excited to announce initiatives that will support every teacher and show how much we appreciate them.”

Superintendent Johnson announced the second new NC Read to Achieve initiative at Cook Literacy Model School in Winston-Salem:  

·        the launch of Wolfpack WORKS and  

·        master literacy training by the Hill Center.  


In March, Johnson announced the first of new NC Read to Achieve initiatives with $4.8 million dollars for the state’s 24,000 K-3 reading teachers to be used to purchase literacy materials. 

“Making sure students can read proficiently in the crucial early years of their education is the most fundamental step we can take to place them on a path to academic and life-long success,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger. “I appreciate Superintendent Johnson’s ongoing support of Read to Achieve and deep commitment to ensuring every student in North Carolina public schools can read.”

Wolfpack WORKS (Ways to Optimize Reading/Writing for Kids Statewide) is a new pilot initiative to support first-year, K-2 teachers as they teach North Carolina’s youngest students how to read.  For 2018-2019, it will support first-year, K-2 teachers in approximately 15 high-need districts across North Carolina as they learn to implement proven reading instruction strategies in their classrooms. Wolfpack WORKS will also create professional development modules focused on literacy supports and evidence-based reading instruction strategies that any North Carolina teachers can use with K-2 students.

 “We all know how important it is for students to be reading at their grade-levels,” said Johnson. “This program is just the start in the effort to give every teacher in North Carolina the additional tools they need to help their students be successful when it comes to literacy.”

Wolfpack WORKS is a cooperative effort between the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina State University College of Education. Funding comes from the state’s Read to Achieve early literacy program.

“We’re excited to have the privilege to work with beginning teachers across the state of North Carolina,” said NC State College of Education Dean Mary Ann Danowitz. “Early literacy instruction is very complex work, particularly in high-need school districts. We know that with intensive induction support, beginning teachers improve their instruction and are more likely to stay in the profession. By helping beginning teachers to implement evidence-based instruction, this work will have a positive impact on their current and future students’ literacy learning opportunities.”

The Hill Center will train 400 master literacy trainers in school districts across the state. Master literacy trainers will participate in online and in-person training on strategies for helping struggling readers, including the Hill Reading Achievement Program (HillRAP) intervention. These trainings build upon ongoing professional development provided by NC DPI and will further prepare the master literacy trainers to be valuable resources to their local districts by deepening their understanding of foundational reading skills and of a high-quality, personalized reading intervention. The Mebane Foundation is supplementing funding from the Read to Achieve program to make these trainings available statewide.

“The Hill Center is thrilled to partner with NC DPI to provide professional development for master literacy trainers from every district in the state,” said Beth Anderson, Executive Director of The Hill Center. 

“We are committed to helping public school educators develop the knowledge, skills, and strategies to meet the needs of diverse learners and ensure every student in North Carolina can read at or above grade level. Training literacy leaders from every district in HillRAP will help move us closer to that goal. Thank you to the state, and to the Mebane Foundation, for making these trainings possible for North Carolina educators.” 

Tomorrow is Teacher Appreciation Day, and I can think of no better way to show our appreciation for teachers than by giving them the tools they need to be successful,” Johnson said. “We are excited we took the time to get this funding out of Raleigh and into the schools, where it will support our educators and students.”