NEWS RELEASES 2013-14 :: MAY 30, 2014


Although the deadline for opting in is July 15, many North Carolina school districts have begun committing $4 per student to purchase the optional, or "opt-in," portions of the statewide suite of technology tools known as Home Base. This statewide project is nearing the end of its year-long rollout to provide digital tools and learning resources for local educators and students, on top of the resources in the free, required portion of Home Base, such as PowerSchool.

All North Carolina school districts and charter schools have been encouraged to try out all the components at no cost this year and now have been asked to express their intent to opt in no later than July 15.

A growing number of school districts and charter schools have already opted in. Among them are:

  • Bear Grass Charter, Williamston
  • Bertie County Schools
  • Caldwell County Schools
  • Camden County Schools
  • Carter Community School, Durham
  • Charlotte Choice Charter
  • Cherokee County Schools
  • Clay County Schools
  • Cleveland County Schools
  • Clinton City Schools
  • Columbus County Schools
  • Crossnore Academy
  • Currituck County Schools
  • East Wake Academy
  • Edenton-Chowan Schools
  • Elkin City Schools
  • Franklin County Schools
  • Halifax County Schools
  • Harnett County Schools
  • Hertford County Schools
  • Hickory City Schools
  • Hoke County Schools
  • Hyde County Schools
  • Iredell-Statesville Schools
  • Lenoir County Schools
  • Lexington City Schools
  • Lincoln County Schools
  • Macon County Schools
  • Martin County Schools
  • Montgomery County Schools
  • Mount Airy City Schools
  • Nash-Rocky Mount Schools
  • New Hanover County Schools
  • Northampton County Schools
  • Pamlico County Schools
  • Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Schools
  • Pender County Schools
  • Perquimans County Schools
  • Randolph County Schools
  • Roxboro Community School
  • Sampson County Schools
  • Stanly County Schools
  • Stokes County Schools
  • Sugar Creek Charter School, Charlotte
  • Thomasville City Schools
  • Tyrrell County Schools
  • Voyager Academy, Durham
  • Watauga County Schools
  • Wayne County Schools
  • Whiteville City Schools
  • Wilson County Schools
  • Yadkin County Schools

"Such a diversified list shows there's something for everyone in Home Base," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "Smaller districts and charters have said these online tools are leveling the playing field for them, especially in remoter areas, while larger districts not only find Schoolnet and OpenClass attractive, but see efficiency in the system's ability to keep track of all their teachers' professional development online in the same system where teachers and administrators do their evaluations."

Atkinson said she encourages others to follow suit because Home Base is a true cost savings for those districts buying individual technology pieces. "By using our bulk buying power, which improves with the more opt-in we have, we multiply savings on those much-needed education dollars," she said.

Tracy Weeks, chief academic and digital learning officer for the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), said, "Home Base's user-friendly, resource-rich, instructional improvement system tools, Schoolnet and OpenClass, are two exciting opt-in components. Home Base employs a single sign-on so teachers can easily navigate the suite's applications saving valuable instructional time. The technology uses assessment data to guide and personalize instruction to each student's needs, which is the exciting frontier in education."

Randolph County's school district has about 18,000 students in its 31 schools. Superintendent Stephen Gainey said, "We're excited about having the resources in Home Base. I see a lot of great things going on instructionally in our school system. This only helps us by bringing more tools to the table. We wanted to get out in front and opt in to get our staff trained as early as possible."

Voyager Academy Middle School Principal Chris Bennett said, "We are very excited about opting in to Home Base because of all the services it will provide for our teachers, students and parents. From connecting with test banks to the professional development offered, Home Base simply allows us so much more flexibility. And we have many teachers who are looking forward to using OpenClass to connect with their colleagues at schools in our community and across the state, enabling them to share ideas and resources."

Harnett County Schools' Superintendent Tom Frye said, "We really buy into and believe in the vision for Home Base and what it will be for schools across North Carolina. We know this has been a frustrating year in terms of implementation; however, Harnett County Schools' staff, as always, has risen to the occasion. We see the inter-connectedness of all of the pieces, and how wonderful single sign-on is. We know the tools will be quality once fully developed. It is the expectation of our staff to use Home Base not for the sake of using technology but for the value of the data that drives the instruction." Frye's district has about 20,400 students and 27 schools with another planned.

For many educators, the resources they get through opt-in are a big draw: high-quality, standards-aligned instructional resources provided by the NCDPI, local districts, Open Education Resources (OER) plus NC educators' own best. NC teachers are being encouraged to upload their own tried-and-true lesson and unit plans via an approval process. Those can then be shared within a district bank or via a statewide bank. Also, there's the assessment delivery tool and items; the repository for student work; tools to help teachers and principals collaborate better with their peers; as well as data dashboards.

Home Base also features an educator effectiveness system that provides more streamlined, intuitive and user-friendly tools for educator evaluation and professional development. Teacher and principal evaluation tools rolled out in 2013 as part of the no-cost portions, while the opt-in piece, which has piqued many districts' interest, is now online, too, putting local professional learning management at their fingertips.

State funds and federal Race to the Top (RttT) grant money covered development and implementation costs for this ambitious technology project. The opt-in dollars will help cover ongoing subscriptions to these services. Among RttT goals is building robust data systems to improve instruction, which is at the heart of Home Base.

Governor Pat McCrory's budget request includes funds to support the opt-in portions of Home Base pending legislative approval.

For more information please visit the Home Base website.


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.