MESSAGES 2012 :: MAY 3, 2012

MAY 3, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message

What is happening in your school that might surprise the taxpayers and the residents of your community? Do they realize how many students in your schools are taking college courses while they are in high school? Do they know about the student artists who are busy creating new visions of our world? Do they hear about the young scientists who are studying problems in the world? Do they know the great odds that many of your students are beating every day just to make it to school?

Many in our state are eager to believe the worst that they hear about public schools without checking out the source or its accuracy. Just last week, polling results from Public Policy Polling showed that 38 percent of our state's residents think that our high school graduation rate is getting worse. In fact, our graduation rate is better than it has been at any time and sits at 77.9 percent, an all-time high. When you hear the "conventional wisdom" about schools, I encourage you to ask for a source of that fact. Memorize a few facts of your own, and make sure that your community understands how schools really are performing. It's important the public hears the truth!

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. State Board Meeting Highlights
  2. New Standards and Assessments in 2012-13
  3. NC Educator Evaluator Assistance
  4. NC Education Evaluator System Webinars
  5. Henderson County Elementary School Named 2012 Intel Schools of Distinction Finalist
  6. Watauga County Schools' Teacher Named NC Teacher of the Year
  7. Win a Scholastic Reading Counts! Subscription for Your School
  8. Openings are Still Available for 2012 Summer Biotechnology Workshops

State Board Meeting Highlights

At today's State Board of Education meeting, members approved the State Literacy Plan, the RttT Teacher Preparation Report Card (Institutes of Higher Education/ABC Report Card), LEA-based calendar waivers for weather-related causes and school-based waivers for educational purposes, and changes to the Academic Scholars Program so that it aligns with the Future-Ready Core graduation requirements. Board members also heard two presentations from Duke University students from the Sanford School of Public Policy on North Carolina middle schools' strategies for success and the effectiveness of the North Carolina Virtual Public School. A summary of Board action items, the full agenda and executive materials are available online at

New Standards and Assessments in 2012-13

During the 2012-13 school year, new standards will be taught in all content areas across North Carolina. The assessments for 2012-13 will be aligned to the new standards (Common Core State Standards and NC Essential Standards) so that the same set of curriculum standards are both taught and assessed in the classroom. You can reference the timeline for standards and assessments online at . If you have questions regarding the new standards, please contact Tracey Greggs at If you have questions regarding the new assessments, please contact Kayla Siler at

NC Educator Evaluation Assistance

In an effort to provide a high degree of support for administrators and district leaders, NCDPI's Educator Recruitment and Development Division has established a wiki that contains many helpful resources to address and support the various phases of the North Carolina Educator Evaluation System. You may access the wiki by going online to

NC Educator Evaluation System Webinars

Educators will want to take advantage of upcoming webinars on the North Carolina Educator Evaluation System. Webinars include: Summary Rating Form for Principals/Assistant Principals and Other End of the Year Information (May 9); Understanding Standard 6 for Teachers and Standard 8 for Administrators (May 10); Rating Observations and Evaluations (May 15, 17); Creating an Effective Professional Development Plan (May 21); and Creating Effective Summary Goal Forms (May 29, June 4). Descriptions and registration information may be found on the wiki at . For additional information, contact Lynne Johnson at or Elizabeth Colbert at

Henderson County Elementary School Named 2012 Intel Schools of Distinction Finalist

Congratulations to Dana Elementary School (Henderson County Schools) for recently being named a 2012 Intel Schools of Distinction finalist. Dana Elementary is one of 18 schools nationwide selected for this honor and one of three elementary school finalists being honored for excellence in innovative math programs. Every year the Intel Corporation honors schools in the U.S. for demonstrating excellence in math and science education through innovative teaching and learning environments. To be considered as an Intel School of Distinction, schools must develop an environment and curricula that meet or exceed benchmarks put forth by national mathematics and science content standards. Up to three schools at each level-elementary, middle, and high school-are named as finalists in the math and science categories. Dana Elementary along with the 17 other finalists will receive a $5,000 award from the Intel Foundation and a trip to Washington, D.C. (for a four-member team from their school and district) in September, where six schools will be named Intel Schools of Distinction. These six schools will each win an additional $5,000 from the Intel Foundation and a package of goods and services with a total value of approximately $500,000 to be split among the schools.

Watauga County Schools' Teacher Named NC Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Darcy Grimes, a third grade teacher at Bethel Elementary School (Watauga County Schools) who today was named the 2012-13 North Carolina Teacher of the Year. As North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Grimes will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. She will receive an automobile to use during the year thanks to Flow Automotive in Winston-Salem, a one-time cash award of $7,500, the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment at the North Carolina Center for International Understanding, and a technology package valued at more than $11,000 from SMART Technologies. She also will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two years and as a board member for the NC Public School Forum for one year. To read more about her select, please visit and click on the appropriate link under "News."

Win a Scholastic Reading Counts! Subscription for Your School

Every spring, State Superintendent June Atkinson promotes the READ NC campaign to give principals and teachers additional tools to enable students to use Lexile measures to boost their summer reading. As a part of the campaign, Atkinson visits schools and speaks about the importance of summer reading and shares letters, fliers, bookmarks, reading certificates and other resources available on the READ NC web page ( with educators, parents and librarians. This year, if you are using the READ NC materials in your classroom or school, organizing a book drive, story hour, or leading other efforts to promote summer reading, you could win a one-year subscription to the Scholastic Reading Counts! program for your school. Submit your school name and a short description of the summer reading program to to enter into the drawing for a free subscription to this Lexile®-based independent reading program that tracks student success on the books they read, in and out of school. All entries should be submitted by May 31 and the winning school will be announced in June.

Openings are Still Available for 2012 Summer Biotechnology Workshops

Seats are still available for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center's 2012 Summer Biotechnology Workshops for Educators. A non-refundable $75 registration fee is required. Workshop participants receive free workshop tuition; free room and board (double-occupancy; 2 meals/day); and a $50 per day stipend. To register, please visit .