STATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS CURRICULUM REVISED;
CAREER AND COLLEGE: READY, SET, GO! WORK CONTINUES TO MOVE FORWARD
North Carolina reached a significant milestone this month when the State Board of Education approved the K-12 Essential Standards for Healthful Living at its meeting in Raleigh. These new standards represent the last set of curriculum revisions to be approved as a part of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's (NCDPI) five-year Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort (ACRE), which also includes the development of new assessments and a new accountability model. The ACRE work also is the main component of the "Quality Standards and Assessment" pillar in Gov. Bev Perdue's Career & College: Ready, Set, Go! initiative, which is supported by the federal Race to the Top grant.
"By adopting the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics and new Essential Standards in other subject areas, we have created a curriculum focused on the critical knowledge and skills students must have to graduate prepared for college and a career," said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison. "The completion of this work, along with the progress we are making in other areas of our Race to the Top plan, strengthens North Carolina's public education system and secures a brighter future for our children and our state."
The Career & College: Ready, Set, Go! initiative features four main pillars of work: Quality Standards and Assessments, Great Teachers and Leaders, Turnaround of the Lowest-Achieving Schools and Data Systems to Improve Instruction, each of which were required components of the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top grant application. Also as a part of the state's Race to the Top award, school districts and charter schools have developed creative plans on how to use a portion of the federal grant funds to meet specific professional development and technology needs of each LEA or school.
"The Race to the Top grant is driving groundbreaking education reform in North Carolina," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "These federal dollars have enabled us to step up our work in many important areas, not just curriculum and testing, and we are already seeing exciting changes as a result of this progress."
A sample of ACRE projects completed or ongoing since North Carolina received the Race to the Top grant in August 2010 include:
- Adoption of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics and new Essential Standards in Healthful Living, Social Studies, Arts, World Languages, Career and Technical Education, Information and Technology Skills and the Occupational Course of Study. The new content standards will be implemented in classrooms in the 2012-13 school year.
- Development of assessments (some online) to align with the new content standards.
- Creation of a "best practice" document to assist school districts in transitioning to online assessments. District-level assessments are being conducted to ensure the best use for technology and personnel and to support local strategic planning for future technology purchases and implementation.
- Coordination of six, two-day regional Summer Institutes for teachers to help kick-off professional development around the new standards.
- Development of online resources to help educators understand the differences between the current Standard Courses of Study and the new Essential Standards and Common Core. Additional online professional development resources are being developed to help teachers transition to the new curriculum in the 2012-13 school year.
- Agreement by members of the State Board of Education on the main components of the new school accountability model which is currently being studied and evaluated through simulations.
For more information about North Carolina's ACRE work, visit http://www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/. For more information about Career and College: Ready, Set, Go! visit http://www.ncpublicschools.org/readysetgo/.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 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.