Academy Board Hears Teacher Survey Feedback – Brevard, NC


Last updated 9/21/2020 at 3:09pm

Ted Duncan, school director of Brevard Academy: A Challenge Foundation Academy, presented the results of the 2020 North Carolina Teacher Working Con-ditions survey to the school’s Board of Directors on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Duncan said 53 percent of the teachers – 22 out of 42 – participated in the survey.

“This is not a total picture,” said Duncan, who added he would have liked to have had more participation in the survey.

School guidance counselor Megan Monk said one reason for the low participation rate may have been difficulty accessing the survey.

“For some reason, I had a real hard time getting into the system this time,” said Monk.

Monk said the survey, which is done every two years, is usually easy to access, but this time she had to try several times to access the survey.

Overall, 95 percent of the teachers surveyed said the school is a good place to work and learn, and 100 percent agreed that the North Carolina Teacher Working Condition survey results are used for school improvement planning.

The survey was broken down into large categories, each of which contained several questions. For example, the teacher leadership category asked if teachers are recognized as educational experts, are encouraged to participate in school leadership roles, take steps to solve problems, etc.

In general, a very high percentage of teachers (85-100 percent) said the school has good instructional practices and support, has good teacher and school leadership, has community support and involvement, has adequate facilities and resources, and provides professional learning opportunities.

The teachers (90-100 percent) also said neither students nor staff are bullied about their race, ethnicity, cultural background or religion.

One percent said the school has plans and training for teachers to handle emergencies ranging from natural disasters to violent persons.

The one category in which teachers rated the school lower was managing student conduct – in particular, school admin-istrators consistently enforce rules for student conduct (40 percent).

Board Chair Mark Campanini asked what changes might have occurred between 2018, when 82 percent of the teachers said school administrators consistently enforced the rules, and 2020.

“There was no major change,” said Duncan.

He said the only major change was the school went to an electronic referral system in 2020.

A teacher might have submitted a referral and the referral was handled but whoever handled the referral did not communicate back to the teachers in a timely manner.

“I think that that might have been it. It’s just a breakdown in comm-unication,” said Duncan.

Duncan said it has been his practice that after handling a disciplinary referral and letting the parents know what happened, he then sends an email to the teacher who made the referral.

He added that handling misbehavior is not just about handing out consequences, but also finding out what is leading to the misbehavior and finding ways to improve that behavior.

The only other specific area with a low teacher approval (45 percent) was “Class sizes are reasonable such that teachers have the time available to meet the needs of all students.”

Duncan said the school had taken steps to address that area by hiring an ELL (English Language Learner) instructor.

Duncan said he was also surprised to see a drop from 96 percent to 72 percent when teachers were asked if they had an appropriate level of influence on decision-making in the school.

“I find this one surprising because between 2018 and 2020, that’s where I created the instructional support team,” said Duncan. “So that was another teacher-based team to help to make solely instructional decisions. That was something that didn’t exist.”

Duncan said he was pleased with teachers’ positive responses on professional training because that is historically low in many school districts.

“I think that the board’s done a great job in laying out the funds for teachers to pursue professional development,” said Duncan.

Financial Update

The board voted unanimously to move $25,000 to help cover past expenditures.

“CSP (Charter School Partners) had overestimated our revenue for last year by around $120,000 that we found out after the year was over,” said board member and treasurer Lee Burgess, who also serves as chair of the Finance Committee. “So, we’re having to go back and correct that and then make sure we don’t do the same thing this coming year. So, that happened right here at the last hour.”

He also said the school had to make a payment of $25,000 to the Challenge Foundation Properties (CFP) to finish closing up the USDA process. In constructing the new campus on the Hendersonville Highway, the board of directors took out a loan with CFP, but that loan was recently taken over by the USDA.

Burgess praised Duncan for his stewardship through financial changes of the past few months because the school is just going to have a deficit of just over $3,000.

“I think Ted has done a great job of managing that through COVID, through all of these unknowns to keep us in a financially very healthy position,” said Burgess.

Other News

•Mark Franklin, the CFP representative on the board, said in regard to COVID-19, “We’re not alone in the boat. Everybody’s going through the same challenges that Brevard Academy is going through.”

He said of the four CFP schools in Arizona, three of them are completely online.

He said it’s a “mixed bag” in North Carolina, with some CFP schools totally remote while others are a hybrid of online and in-person instruction.

“Everything is going very well with our health protocols,” said Duncan of the first four weeks of school.

•The board voted to continue its memorandum of agreement with Meridian Behavioral Health Services.

“We’re very happy with the services that they provide,” said Duncan.

The school has used services provided by Meridian for the past four years. At this time, most of the services by Meridian would be either off-site or through teletherapy.

•Volleyball and flag football workouts begin today, Sept 21. There will be no competition with other schools, but students will be able to practice their skills in those sports.

•The school will host a blood drive on Sept. 30.

•The next board meeting will be held Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 5:30 p.m.


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