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NEWS RELEASES 2007-08

NEWS RELEASES 2007-08 :: AUGUST 31, 2007

2007-08 SCHOOL YEAR BRINGS CHANGES AND A RECORD NUMBER OF STUDENTS TO NC SCHOOLS

The 2007-08 school year began this week with a record number of students, 1.46 million, in North Carolina's 115 public school districts and 98 charter schools. In addition to the growing number of students, the state's public school system is ushering in a number of new programs and policies.

"This year is already a good one for North Carolina schools," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "Thanks to the work of Gov. Mike Easley, the General Assembly, and the State Board of Education, we are building a strong framework of support for students to enter school successfully and to graduate with college experiences already under their belt."

In the 2007-08 school year, several new initiatives are beginning or expanding to provide students with additional learning opportunities and academic support.

  • More at Four, the preschool preparation program to help needy children ready themselves for kindergarten, will add 10,000 new students this year, bringing the program total to 28,655.
  • Learn and Earn, the program that provides high school students with the opportunity to complete an associate's degree in exchange for a fifth year of high school, expands to 43 schools this year.
  • Learn and Earn Online is launching this fall, providing students in participating public schools with the opportunity to take community college or university courses online through their local high school. This gives students the option of securing college credit at no charge to them while they are still in the supportive environment of high school. Learn more at www.ncpublicschools.org/learnandearnonline/.
  • The NC Virtual Public School began operations in the 2006-07 school year, and is being strengthened this fall. It provides 78 online courses for students who may need an online option to take a particular course. The most common reasons for using NCVPS include scheduling difficulties at the local high school or a shortage of qualified teachers in courses that are less common. The NC Virtual Web site is at www.ncvps.org .
  • Beginning this school year, middle school students who successfully complete a high school-level mathematics or second language course will be able to count that toward their high school credits. Students continue to be strongly encouraged, however, to take mathematics each year of high school as preparation for college success.
  • Funds ($5.4 million) were allocated this year to support 100 additional school-based literacy coaches to be placed in schools that have an eighth grade class. Coaches will provide research-based teaching practices and professional development to assist teachers.
  • Work begins this year to enhance the technology infrastructure for public schools. The General Assembly provided $12 million to support the implementation of a new state-funded and supported information technology infrastructure for local school districts.

  • The 2007-08 school year also is one of transitions.
  • Kindergartners in North Carolina have been required to turn 5 on or before Oct. 16 for decades. That is changing in 2009-10 when kindergartners will be required to turn 5 on or before Aug. 31. For the 2007-08 school year and for the 2008-09 school year, the old Oct. 16 birthday deadline remains in place.
  • High school students who began ninth grade in 2006-07 came in under new graduation requirements. In addition to having to complete one of four courses of study – College Prep, College Tech Prep, Career Prep or the Occupational Course of Study – this group of students is required to pass the five core end-of-course tests (Algebra I, Biology, English I, US History, and Civics and Economics) and successfully complete a graduation project. These standards will be in place for high school students who enter ninth grade in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09. To view these standards, please go to http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/graduation.
  • Ninth graders who enter high school in 2009-10 will have a new set of standards to meet. Beginning with this group of students, high school standards have changed to the Future-Ready Core. These standards require students to complete 21 units/courses including four units of English, four units of mathematics, three units of social studies, three units of science, one health/physical education unit and six elective units. Within their electives, students are strongly recommended to take a core concentration of four units within one focused area that is aligned with the student's interests and goals after high school. The requirement to pass the five core end-of-course tests and a graduation project remains. Also, the Occupational Course of Study continues to be an option for some students with disabilities, just as it is today.

For more information on these changes and the new school year, please contact the Communications division, NCDPI, 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.