MESSAGES 2012 :: FEBRUARY 2, 2012

FEBRUARY 2, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message

You are to be commended for the trendlines that were reported today showing that crime and violence were down overall in our public schools last year, that the annual dropout rate had decreased for the fourth consecutive year to its lowest point ever, and that suspensions and expulsions also were down. I know that you and your staff work diligently to maintain a safe and productive environment for students and staff while also responding appropriately when students misbehave. The number of placements for alternative schools and programs increased, which is a positive way to deal with behavior issues, special student needs and also the requirement to maintain school safety. I know that you join me in celebrating that more students are staying in school and that our schools continue to be safe places to learn and to work.

On a separate note, I look forward to seeing you at some point between Feb. 28 and March 23 when we will be traveling to each region for the READY initiative meetings. As you know, the 2011-12 school year is the final year of the ABCs model. In 2012-13, the new accountability model will begin alongside the new Essential Standards and the Common Core. The READY initiative meetings are designed for you and for a teacher representative from each school to get first-hand information about how all of the new items fit together. If you have not already sent in your RSVP survey, or if you need the survey link sent to you again, please reply to this email and we will ensure that you receive the link. I know that we are all working through significant challenges, but we also have some very exciting opportunities ahead.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. State Board Meeting Highlights
  2. Governor Proclaims February Black History Month
  3. Feb. 6-10 National School Counseling Week
  4. Feb. 13-17 is School Bus Driver Appreciation Week
  5. Webinar Focuses on "Making Mathematics Accessible for All"
  6. 2012 Teacher Working Conditions Survey
  7. Regional Wells Fargo NC Principals of the Year Announced
  8. Summer Leadership Conference 2012 Reminder
  9. Distracted Driver PSA from NCDOT Now Available
  10. Burroughs Wellcome Fund Afterschool Grants Available
  11. LGFCU Scholarship Opportunity
  12. NASA Opportunity for Female High School Juniors

State Board Meeting Highlights

At today's State Board of Education meeting, members approved Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver requests, Governor's School Task Force recommendations for the Summer 2012 program, re-visioned teacher education programs, and revisions to Career and Technical Education Licensure requirements. Board members also received the annual "Consolidated Data Report: Crime and Violence, Suspensions and Expulsions, Corporal Punishment, and Dropout Rates and Counts" and heard presentations on "Maximizing Success for Exceptional Children Through Blended Learning." A summary of Board action items in addition to the full agenda and executive materials are available online at .

Governor Proclaims February Black History Month

Gov. Bev Perdue has proclaimed the month of February as Black History Month in recognition of the numerous outstanding accomplishments, past and present, that African Americans make to our state, nation and world. The national theme this year is "Black Women in American Culture and History."

Feb. 6-10 National School Counseling Week

State Superintendent June Atkinson has proclaimed Feb. 6-10 as National School Counseling Week in recognition of school counselors' efforts to help: - students explore their abilities, strengths, interests and talents; - teachers and other educators to help students explore their potential and set realistic goals for themselves; and - parents focus on ways to further the educational, personal and social growth of their children.

Feb. 13-17 is School Bus Driver Appreciation Week

Gov. Bev Perdue has proclaimed Feb. 13-17 as School Bus Driver Appreciation Week (SBDAW) in North Carolina. The proclamation is available online at . This is a change from the traditional SBDAW the first week in May to coincide with the national LOVE THE BUS campaign. LEAs and schools can register their LOVE THE BUS events at . For more information, please contact Derek Graham, NCDPI Transportation Services, at or 919.807.3570.

Webinar Focuses on "Making Mathematics Accessible for All"

The Mathematical Practices in the Common Core State Standards emphasize learners being able to be more active in the problem solving and communicating process rather than finding solutions. Many teachers and students struggle with this shift. The "Making Mathematics Accessible for All" webinar scheduled for Feb. 9 focuses on strategies that make high leverage tasks accessible for all students. To participate in the webinar, please register online at . Once registered, you will receive an email message with participation instructions. The webinar will be held at 3:30 p.m. and last one hour. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the Department's website at .

2012 Teacher Working Conditions Survey

In 2010, 105,688 licensed educators completed the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey! Districts and schools can use the data collected through the survey for continuous school improvement and professional development planning. The Teacher Working Conditions website ( is rich with school data, resources and tools for school teams. The 2012 Teacher Working Conditions Survey is set for March 26-April 20. Anonymous access codes will be distributed via the same process as in previous years to the NCAE association representative in each school. The survey also may be accessed online at The Help Desk will be available to answer all your questions via phone, IM or email during that week. If you have lost or have not received an access code, the help desk will be available to assist. We will publish the help desk number prior to the survey release date. For more information, please contact Lynne Johnson at or Eliz Colbert at

Regional Wells Fargo NC Principals of the Year Announced

Congratulations to the following eight principals who were recently named 2012 Regional Wells Fargo North Carolina Principals of the Year:

  • North Central Region: Drew Cook, Garner High (Wake County Schools);
  • Northeast Region: Clay Wagner, Riverside High (Martin County Schools);
  • Northwest Region: Kelly Withers, Jesse Carson High (Rowan-Salisbury Schools);
  • Southeast Region: Glenn Reed, Blue Creek Elementary (Onslow County Schools);
  • Southwest Region: Hilda Batts, AT Allen Elementary (Cabarrus County Schools);
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Sara Bigley, Pinehurst Elementary, (Moore County Schools);
  • Piedmont-Triad/Central Region: Patrice Faison, Oak Hill Elementary (Guilford County Schools); and
  • West Region: Brad Teague, East Rutherford Middle (Rutherford County Schools).

Each recipient will receive $1,000 for personal use and $1,000 for their schools. The 2012 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year will be announced this spring during a luncheon ceremony in Raleigh. The winner will succeed 2011 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year Rob Jackson who is principal of Cutherbertson High (Union County Schools).

Summer Leadership Conference 2012 Reminder

As a reminder, the 2012 Summer Leadership Conference/NCSSA Superintendents' Retreat will be held June 17-20 at the Grove Park Inn, Asheville. All conference information can be found online at . If you register before Feb. 20, you can take advantage of an early registration fee. The keynote speakers are Ron Clark (Monday, June 18), Lee Hurren (Tuesday, June 19) and Jim Johnson (Wednesday, June 20). We also will have the latest NCDPI and legislative updates. If you have any questions, please contact Jan Webster (, ext. 21) or Vicki Wilson (, ext. 22).

Distracted Driving PSA from NCDOT Now Available

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has developed a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) about the dangers of distracted driving. Driving instructors and other teachers are encouraged to share this video with high school students. To access the "JUST DRIVE" PSA, visit: . Copies also are available for distribution in driver's education classes. To obtain copies, contact Jonathan David Phillips at or 919.707.2677.

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Afterschool Grants Available

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF)'s Student Science Enrichment Program (SSEP) supports out-of-school time programs with a common goal: to enable primary and secondary students to participate in hands-on scientific activities and pursue inquiry-based exploration. Since 1996, BWF has awarded 150 grants totaling $22 million to 70 organizations that reach nearly 35,000 North Carolina students. Programs range from afterschool programs, year round science experiences, Saturday academies or summer camps. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three years. For grant information, please visit BWF's website at . April 16 is the deadline to apply.

LGFCU Scholarship Opportunity

High school principals are asked to pass along the following to their counselors and seniors: Each year, the Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) awards 120, $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school students, as well as to those currently attending, or planning to attend, an accredited college, university or graduate school on a full-time basis. The scholarships are payable in one installment to the school and may be applied to tuition, textbooks, computers or other fees. Applicants must have achieved an overall unweighted grade point average of 3.0 or higher to be eligible. Extracurricular activities and financial need also are considered. Applicants must be members of LGFCU and have an individual account or hold a joint account with a parent. Winners are selected by a committee of the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation and are announced each year in May. Feb. 10 is the next application deadline. Visit for more information or to download an application.

NASA Opportunity for Female High School Juniors

Dream. Engineer. WISH (Women In STEM High School Aerospace Scholars). NASA's WISH project offers female high school juniors the opportunity to explore the possibilities of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related major or career. The WISH adventure begins in 2012 with an online community and culminates with a summer experience at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Summer 2012. Collaborate with girls from across the country and female NASA engineers and interns. For specific project information, visit . Interested female juniors must apply before Feb. 22.