Partners In Education Announces Funding for Beginning Teachers’ Cottage

Beginning Teachers’ Cottage Shoppers

Partners In Education (PIE) is pleased to announce a grant award from The Harold H. Bate Foundation of $15,500 as matching funds for the Cheryl Marteney Beginning Teachers’ Cottage.

Early in her career, Ms. Marteney was an educator, and she was a founding member of PIE. She continuously served on the PIE board since its inception in 1988.  At the time of her passing, she was a partner at the law firm Ward and Smith, P.A., where she was leader of the Appellate Practice Group and had been involved in appeals to the North Carolina appellate courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.  PIE received over $15,000 in funding from memorial gifts in the name of Cheryl Marteney.

In Ms. Marteney’s memory, and to meet the challenge of serving our beginning teachers and making their transition into the classroom successful, Darlene Brown, Executive Director with PIE applied for a Bate Foundation Grant to fund a Beginning Teachers’ Cottage. Since the inception of the Beginning Teachers’ Store in 2010, it has moved from a classroom at J.T. Barber Elementary, to a classroom at H.J. MacDonald Middle, to a storage room at H.J. MacDonald Middle. Ms. Brown realized that there was a need for a Beginning Teachers’ Cottage that the mentors could use as an office and a place to hold the Beginning Teachers’ Store. Teacher mentoring programs are an effective staff development approach for beginning teachers. By supporting the beginning teacher mentoring program, the district demonstrates two important commitments: 1) Novice teachers are given a strong start at the beginning of their careers, and 2) Supporting beginning teachers at the outset contributes to retention of new teachers in the school system.

The Beginning Teachers’ Store provides needed resources for our new teachers to be effective in the classroom. This program assists Craven County Schools in recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers. It is a program designed to enhance the classroom experience for both our new teachers and their students. This program will impact new teachers by encouraging them to go above and beyond and rewarding them for their hard work and efforts.  Beginning teachers earn “light bulbs” from their mentors through a scaled rubric and then have a chance to shop at the store with their “light bulbs”. This store will provide much needed materials and resources for beginning teachers to assist them in the classroom. The store will be stocked with technology, teaching aids, professional development resources, and hands-on manipulatives. All new teachers during their first three years are eligible to participate in this unique program. Both beginning teachers and their students are impacted by the Beginning Teachers’ Store: The students gain access to additional resources in their classroom and the teachers obtain much needed resources. The Beginning Teachers’ Store, through generous grants from The Harold H. Bate Foundation to purchase supplies for the store, continues to be a successful retention tool for our beginning teachers and is essential to the success of our mentoring program.  When surveyed, our beginning teachers have ranked the Beginning Teachers’ Store with a 96%+ exceeds expectations since its inception in 2010.

Recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers continues to be a challenge for Craven County Schools. The Beginning Teachers’ Store provides a creative and innovative resource to assist Craven County Schools when recruiting new teachers. With the cuts in the education budget currently proposed by the state legislature, there will be an increased demand for classroom materials outside of what is currently being funded, especially for beginning teachers. The Beginning Teachers’ Cottage and Store will be prominently featured in the district’s planned teacher recruitment video, allowing the district to visually demonstrate support of beginning teachers. This will motivate those who are considering Craven County Schools as the next step in their teaching career with a positive perception of our Local Education Agency.

The executor of Ms. Marteney’s estate, Jim Okonek, is very excited that the funds from the memorials are to be used as a demonstration of support for our beginning teachers.  His desire is to see Ms. Marteney’s memory live on through a physical foot print to encourage and sustain Craven County Schools beginning teachers’ mentoring program for decades to come. It will also demonstrate community support of our public school system through a permanent home for our mentors that will be long lasting.

A plaque will be placed in the Beginning Teachers’ Cottage acknowledging funding from Ms. Marteney’s estate, donors, and The Harold H. Bate Foundation, making it clear that the cottage was funded through donations and community partnerships.  The PIE Board plans to host a ribbon cutting celebrating the opening of the Cottage this fall.

The Bate Foundation also awarded $15,000 to PIE to purchase supplies for the Beginning Teachers’ Store for the 2016-17 school year.

PIE also received $30,000 for Individual School Grants that address the needs of specific Craven County Schools.  The grants awarded will meet the requirements and established criteria of The Harold H. Bate Foundation of health, fitness, music, and the arts. This grant is made available to each school’s principal and the maximum awarded is $5,000.

Formed in 1988, Craven County Partners in Education is the Local Education Foundation for Craven County Schools. The PIE Board of Directors is comprised of business professionals, community leaders, educators, and individuals that recognize the importance of a strong public school system. Partner’s mission is to support and advance the educational experience within Craven County Schools through collaborative community involvement. For more information on how you can donate supplies to the Beginning Teachers’ Store, or support the many programs PIE offers our public school teachers, contact Darlene Brown at 252-514-6321.

Submitted by: Darlene Brown, Craven County Partners in Education