Education

Tolerance for tedium? North Carolina schools need you now

Thousands of volunteers are needed to watch students take North Carolina’s year-end exams.
Thousands of volunteers are needed to watch students take North Carolina’s year-end exams. NYT

If you’ve got a few hours to stand around a classroom in the coming weeks, you can do public schools a big favor by volunteering as a proctor for state exams.

Volunteer monitors are needed to ensure integrity in North Carolina’s year-end tests, which are used to rate not only student learning but teacher effectiveness and school quality. The presence of an outsider is designed to make sure no one, student or faculty, has a chance to cheat.

The challenge: Every public school (including charters) is giving exams later this month, and each exam requires someone willing to walk silently through the room to make sure nothing is amiss. Because you’re supposed to be vigilant, that means no reading, no digital devices, no earbuds.

“I tell people up front it’s the most boring job in the world, and the hardest part is to stay awake,” says Nancy Needham, a physical education teacher at Southwest Middle School, who throws herself into proctor recruiting every spring.

Without enough outside volunteers, schools have to scramble to assign staff proctors. So volunteers make life a little easier for the folks who are already working hard to wrap up the school year.

Ask any North Carolina public school about volunteering. In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools volunteers must register and clear a background check. Start the process at www.cms.k12.nc.us/cmsdepartments/cpfe/volunteers or get more information from Ana Brown, ana.brown@cms.k12.nc.us, 980-343-0474.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms

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