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District spotlight: Elkin City Schools

The following article is from the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NTSP) May 2018 Newsletter. The NC NTSP provides support for beginning teachers during their first three years of teaching. The key features of the program include: instructional skills institute, professional development, and instructional coaching.

Elkin City Schools is nestled in Surry County, surrounded by the beautiful foothills of NC. Elkin has one elementary, one middle school, and one high school, under the direction of the Superintendent, Dr. Myra Cox. Elkin City Schools is a highly rated public school district which serves approximately 1,252 students in grades Pre-K to 12, with a student-teacher ratio of 14 to 1. Throughout the 2017-2018 school year, Betsy Rosenbalm, the NC NTSP Coach in the ASU Region, has had the pleasure of working with 7 teachers from this school district.  

At Elkin Elementary, Dr. Rosenbalm works with Jordan Sowers, a BT 3 who works with special education students in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade. Mrs. Sowers is dedicated to teaching students independence in academic, social, and self-help skills. Mrs. Sarah Kerr is another teacher who works with Dr. Rosenbalm. Sarah came on board this year as a BT 1, teaching general music in grades K-6, as well as 6th grade chorus. Benjamin Bradburn, a BT 1, is also coached in the NTSP. Mr. Bradburn teaches elementary, middle school and high school band, as well as general music. 

At Elkin High, Dr. Rosenbalm works with three BT 3 teachers: Mr. Kerry Norman in CTE/Technology, Ms. Cherie Cooke in Family and Consumer Sciences, and Mr. Jacob Riley in World and American History. She also works with Mr. Jacob Tutterow, an interim history teacher in his first year of teaching. These teachers not only excel in the classroom, but they are also very involved coaches and club sponsors/leaders. 

The BT program is under the leadership of Cynthia Altemueller in the Elkin City Schools District Office. BTs meet quarterly with Mrs. Altemueller and Dr. Rosenbalm to discuss such topics as engagement, differentiation, and relationships. A spirit of community, accomplishment, and pride is always the central focus of these meetings. The BTs will join together one final time on May 16th for a celebratory dinner and time of reflection. 

When asked how she has benefited from the NC NTSP program, Mrs. Jordan Sowers, Elkin Elementary EC teacher, shares, “I feel very supported this year. My coach is always willing to help, assist, and communicate with me. This has helped me professionally, and I now feel more confident in my job. This has been a big blessing in my life.”

Ms. Cooke, Elkin High School Family and Consumer Science teacher reflects that, “I feel like it is always more beneficial when an outsider comes into my classroom, as opposed to someone in the school. This coach can have an unbiased view of my teaching style and classroom practices. In times of frustration and confusion, my coach has been a consistent source of knowledge and encouragement. She doesn’t make me feel like a beginning teacher. She highlights my strengths and makes me feel confident in the skills I have acquired.” 

ASU hopes to partner with Elkin City Schools in the years to come. The positive, family-like atmosphere is a wonderful environment to train and support excited, dedicated new teachers.

For more information about the NC NTSP, click here.

Betsy Rosenbalm

Dr. Betsy Rosenbalm, NBCT began her career as an elementary classroom teacher in 2001. In 2019, Rosenbalm became the Director of the Public School Partnership and Regional Director of the NC NTSP in the App State Region.