MESSAGES 2012 :: SEPTEMBER 6, 2012

SEPTEMBER 6, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message

Today I had the opportunity to recognize two schools that have leveraged federal school improvement grant funds to make a very positive difference in school performance for students. Woodhill Elementary School (Gaston County Schools) and West Mecklenburg High School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) are being recognized in a U.S. Department of Education publication for their turnaround efforts. Both schools have made significant improvements in student performance by charting a new course to support students. Congratulations to Woodhill Principal Cindy Hester and to West Mecklenburg Principal Elizabeth Ashurst for their leadership and creativity. They have led their schools to break out of their past patterns and the result is significant for the students they serve. That is the type of leadership that is especially valuable in this time when we are raising standards for students and for educators. It also supports our work to increase our graduation rate from over 80 percent to nearly 100 percent.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. State Board Meeting Highlights
  2. Back to School Message from State Superintendent June Atkinson
  3. Press Releases Focus on New School Year
  4. America's Legislators Back to School Week
  5. NCDPI Curriculum & Instruction Updates
  6. North Carolina Teacher Standards and Evaluation Process: Facilitated Course for Teachers
  7. Labor Law Posters Available Free of Charge
  8. LEARN NC Fall Professional Development Courses Open for Enrollment
  9. 2012 NCaeyc 59th Annual Conference Scheduled for September
  10. NC Arts Education Coordinators Schedule Fall Meeting
  11. Annual Mathematics Conference Set for October
  12. Exemplary Reading Program Award
  13. "Stop Bullying" Video Challenge
  14. Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest

State Board Meeting Highlights

At today's State Board of Education meeting, members approved the NC Public Charter School Advisory Council's recommendations for 25 schools to receive a preliminary charter and start a one-year planning process, the removal of five Supplemental Educational Services providers from the list of approved providers, the State Personnel Development Grant and the Title V State Abstinence Grant, and Hickory City Schools' request for a cooperative innovative high school. Board members also discussed their 2013-15 Biennial Budget Expansion request and received a report from the State Superintendent on the first statewide ACT and WorkKeys test administrations. A summary of Board action items will be available online at .

Back-to-School Message from State Superintendent June Atkinson

As a principal, you know that the 2012-13 school year brings with it many changes. State Superintendent June Atkinson welcomes you, your teachers, staff members, parents and community supporters back to school with a message encouraging everyone to work together to ensure that these changes ultimately mean higher achievement for all public school students. Please take a moment to view Dr. Atkinson's welcome back video at (scroll down to "Back-to-School Message from State Superintendent June Atkinson." We also encourage you to add this link to your school's website.

Press Releases Focus On New School Year

The following press releases are available in their entirety at under "News."

School Buses Roll Across the State; Motorists Reminded to Watch out for Children. For the majority of the state's almost 1.5 million public school students, Monday is the first day of school. To help ensure students make it to and from school safely, motorists are strongly urged to be especially cautious as school buses stop to pick up or drop off students.

"Every day in North Carolina nearly 14,000 yellow school buses transport over 790,000 students to and from school. The number one concern of school bus drivers and school transportation staff is the safety of their young passengers," State Superintendent June Atkinson said. "We need for every North Carolina motorist to make student safety a top priority by exercising a high level of vigilance while school buses are on the roads."

New School Accountability Model Focuses on Career and College Readiness. Ask parents what they want for their children after high school graduation and they will tell you for him or her to be prepared for life's next step. North Carolina public schools' new accountability model, which goes into effect this school year, focuses on measures of career and college readiness so that the school community can see clearly how many students are prepared for what lies ahead after high school graduation.

Parents Play Major Role in Ensuring Students Succeed in School. Backpack…check! Pencils…check! Three-ring binder…check! Making sure that your child has everything he or she will need for school is important, but there are a number of other things parents should do to ensure that their child has a successful school year. "Whether your child is in kindergarten or a senior in high school, it is important for parents to be involved in their education," State Superintendent June Atkinson said. "By meeting with your child's teachers, asking your child what they are doing in school and supporting their classroom activities, you are telling your child that their education matters."

Great Teachers and Principals Key Ingredients to Student Success Teachers and principals across the state began preparing for the 2012-13 school year long before many of them welcomed students to their classrooms this week. Thanks to North Carolina's READY initiative, many educators have gone through extensive training and received new tools to help them transition to the state's new Standard Course of Study. In addition, aspiring teachers and principals now have two innovative new programs to help them take the next step in their careers in education.

America's Legislators Back to School Program

America's Legislators Back to School Program, sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures, will kick off Sept. 17 and run throughout the school year. Educators are encouraged to extend invitations to their local representatives to visit and talk with students about the legislative process and what it's like to be a state legislator: the processes, the pressures, and the debate - the negotiation and compromise that are the fabric of representative democracy. Classroom discussions are being encouraged over school-wide assemblies. North Carolina has actively participated in the America's Legislators Back to School program since its inception in 1999. For the 2011-12 school year, 38 North Carolina legislators spoke to over 9,000 students throughout the state.

NCDPI Curriculum & Instruction Updates

The following updates are from NCDPI's K-12 Curriculum and Instruction Division.

Student Achievement Partners' Modules on the Common Core State Standards. Student Achievement Partners, a nonprofit founded by three of the contributing authors to the Common Core that develops tools for effective standards implementation, released four professional development modules designed to support district and school leadership in their transition to the Common Core. The four modules cover the Common Core Shifts in Math, the Common Core Shifts in ELA/Literacy, Creating Text Dependent Questions in ELA/Literacy, and Instructional Leadership in the context of the Common Core. The modules are available online at .

Common Core Resources from America Achieves the Core. America Achieves the Core has a number of social studies, English language arts, and mathematics lessons that illustrate the Common Core shifts. Users have to set up an account to view the lessons but they are free and available online at .

NC Common Core Mathematics K-8 Week-by-Week Essentials and Strategies Coming Soon. The NCDPI has begun the process of selecting high cognitively demanding tasks from the K-8 Week-by-Week Essentials and Strategies to create a new support document that aligns with the Common Core State Standards. With the support of North Carolina educators and other public school partners, we anticipate the release of this new document in late fall. Updates regarding this new document will be posted on the K-8 NCDPI math e-mail lists and NCDPI Math Wiki at .

Reading Foundations Crosswalk Linking to the Common Core State Standards & Foundations of Math Crosswalks Linking to the Common Core State Standards. These documents are available online at

Possible Scenarios for Compacting the CCSS-M in Middle School. Possible scenarios for compacting the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics in middle school are available online at . Two models are available: A 3:2 model, which begins compacting in the 7th grade, and a 4:3 model, which begins compacting in the 6th grade. With each model is a 6-8 overview of the standards (this document was previously posted; however, revisions have been made), a possible grouping of standards by units for each grade level, and a document with all grade levels together. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Robin Barbour at

North Carolina Essential Standards Assessment Examples Available for Review - What is the purpose of this tool? Assessment is a vital component of the teaching and learning process. These assessment examples are aligned to new content standards and reinforce teaching the standards to their intended level of deep mastery. The purpose of providing examples is to illustrate ways in which the standards or part(s) of the standards might be assessed in the classroom. These are not examples of Measures of Student Learning (MSLs). These examples can be found on the NC Essential Standards Content Specific Wiki Spaces at

K-5 Unpacking Documents. All K-5 Unpacking Documents have been updated with the latest information provided by the Common Core State Standards Writing Team. These may be accessed on the Mathematics Wiki at .

K-2 Assessment. Two K-2 Assessment Instructional videos have been added to assist with implementation of the K-2 Formative Instructional and Assessment Tasks for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. In addition, all assessment tasks are provided as Word documents for your convenience. You may access these resources on the K-2 Assessment Wiki at .

K-2 Mid-Year Benchmark Assessments. The NCDPI is currently developing the K-2 Mid-Year Benchmark Assessments and will release these assessments to district leaders by late fall.

North Carolina Teacher Standards and Evaluation Process: Facilitated Course for Teachers

The North Carolina Teacher Standards and Evaluation Process is a six-week, facilitator-led module designed specifically for teachers. This module will be offered four times with the first section beginning Sept. 17. The course offers an in-depth look at the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards and will help teachers deepen their understanding of the six professional teaching standards and their role in the new evaluation process. The module is available at no cost to North Carolina teachers and will be facilitated by the NCDPI Professional Development Leads. The course will take approximately 20 hours to complete, and teachers will earn 2 CEUs upon completion. Learn NC will host the course. Teachers can register at Registration is now open for the September and October sections. There is a limit of 23 participants per section so early registration is strongly encouraged. Course start dates are Sept. 17, Oct. 8, Jan. 14, 2013 and Feb. 4, 2013. For additional information, please contact Lynne Johnson at

Labor Law Posters Available Free of Charge

The N.C. Department of Labor provides Labor Law posters free of charge to public schools and other businesses. There is absolutely NO reason why schools should be purchasing these posters from a company. The posters, which are required under North Carolina law, carry information on the state's Wage and Hour Act and what are commonly referred to as OSHA regulations. Schools that need to order new posters can visit the Department of Labor website at or call 1-800-625-2267.

LEARN NC Fall Professional Development Courses Open for Enrollment

LEARN NC fall professional development courses are open for enrollment. Course offerings include the Carolina On-line Teacher (COLT) program as well as Moodle training, content-area courses, and courses designed to help teachers work with special populations. All courses are aligned to the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards. Visit for details and registration. In addition, LEARN NC's August blog welcomes you to the start of a new year with resources you need to sustain your new-year excitement all year long! Visit to read LEARN NC's latest blog.

2012 NCaeyc 59th Annual Conference Scheduled for September

The 2012 NCaeyc 59th Annual Conference, "Lead Where You Are Located: Making the Most of Every Leadership Opportunity," will be held Sept. 13-15 at the Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh. For conference details, including registration, please visit .

NC Arts Education Coordinators Schedule Fall Meeting

The fall meeting of the NC Arts Education Coordinators will take place on Friday, Sept. 28, at Meredith College, Raleigh. Sharing of resources and professional development, as well as discussion of policies, legislation, and issues impacting arts education will highlight the meeting. Invitations and registration information are posted online at . For more information, please contact Christie Lynch Ebert at

Annual Mathematics Conference Set for October

The 42nd Annual State Mathematics Conference, "Common Core: The Journey Begins," will be held Oct. 25-26 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center, Greensboro. For information regarding sessions, workshops, accommodations, registration instructions, registration fees and other information please visit . The pre-registration deadline is Oct. 12 by mail and Oct. 19 online.

Exemplary Reading Program Award

Does your school have a unified and successful reading program? If the answer is yes, you may want to apply for the Exemplary Reading Program Award. Visit the North Carolina Reading Association ( or the International Reading Association ( websites for guidelines and an application form. One school is selected from each state for the award. The NCRA provides an outdoor banner, registration to IRA annual convention, and recognition at the NCRA conference to the winning school. The deadline to submit to IRA is Nov. 28. Please contact Jane Kline at for more information.

"Stop Bullying" Video Challenge

The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention invite youth ages 13 to 18 to create 30- to 60-second public service announcements as part of the Stop Bullying Video Challenge. Video submissions should showcase ways the youth are taking action against bullying and promoting kindness and respect within their communities. The grand prize is $2,000 and two runner-ups will each receive $500. The three winning videos will be featured on the Stop Bullying website at . Entries must be received by 11 p.m., Oct. 14. View complete contest details at .

Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest

The N.C. Arts Council, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and the Greensboro Public Library, invites high school students to participate in the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation contest to gain a deeper appreciation of great poetry through memorization and recitation. The contest begins in the classroom. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a district and/or state competition, and ultimately to the national finals in Washington, DC. The state winner's school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the national finals. Contest registration forms must be completed and submitted by teachers by Oct. 19. For registration and additional information, including a timeline, please visit or contact Banu Valladares, Arts In Education director at the North Carolina Arts Council, at or 919.807.6502.