State schools superintendent issues “sweet” challenge to teachers

RALEIGH — In a video message to teachers Friday morning, North Carolina Superintendent Mark Johnson issued a challenge intended to raise completion levels for the Teacher Working Conditions Survey. If educators reach a 95 percent rate of completion, Johnson said he will participate in next year’s Krispy Kreme Challenge, a footrace that involves running 2.5 miles, eating a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and running 2.5 miles back, all to raise money for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital.

As of Friday, the statewide completion rate for the survey stands at 75 percent – meaning more than 90,000 school-based educators have taken the anonymous survey that is conducted every two years. Bladen County Schools, with 100 percent response rates, include Bladen Lakes Primary, Bladenboro Primary, Clarkton School of Discoveery, Dublin Primary, East Arcadia Elementary, East Bladen, Elizabethtown Middle, Plain View Primary, and Tar Heel Middle.

“Knowing how to support you starts with listening to you, and technology makes it possible to hear from each and every one of you,” Johnson says in the video message. “Over 80 percent of educators completed the survey last time – but Kentucky is the state with the highest response rate, at 91 percent. We can beat that.”

Several school districts already boast a 100 percent completion rate for the survey, which ends March 31. Up-to-date statewide, district- and school-level completion rates can be found on the survey website.

Principals and other administrators have been known to use creative incentives to boost completion rates, and the survey includes prizes for the first district elementary school, district middle school, district high school, and charter school at 100 percent. There is also a prize for the first school district to reach 100 percent. The winners of those four prizes will be announced April 2 in a message to principals.

In addition to the prizes above, all schools that reach 100 percent will be entered into a random drawing to be broadcast live on Facebook April 5. Prizes are provided by the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) and the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE).

The Teacher Working Conditions Survey was established and administered for the first time in 2002. North Carolina became the first state in the nation to study teacher working conditions by surveying those whose opinion matters most on these issues — teachers themselves. Survey topics include:

— Community engagement and support

— Teacher leadership

— School leadership

— Managing student conduct

— Use of time

— Professional development

—Facilities and resources

—Instructional practices and support

— New teacher support

To find out more about the survey, visit https://ncteachingconditions.org/about.

Johnson’s video message can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/LjfMOEbAwh8.