MESSAGES 2012 :: OCTOBER 18, 2012

OCTOBER 18, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message

Feedback from the March READY regional meetings across North Carolina was very positive, and many of you have indicated that face-to-face communication is very important to you, especially in a time of rapid change. In light of that, we are planning a November-December series of READY meetings to again come to your regions to directly speak to the following topics: educator effectiveness, the new Instructional Improvement System, the General Assembly's new school accountability model that will apply A-F grades to every school, and questions and answers from you and your colleagues. As with the last cycle of regional meetings, we will be sending you an email invitation that asks you to respond to an online survey in order to register. Again, we ask that you identify a teacher representative or assistant principal to attend with you. While it is not necessary that this person be the same person who attended the March regional meetings, it might be helpful for continuity's sake. I look forward to seeing you again between Nov. 19 and Dec. 11.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. New CPR Graduation Requirement
  2. 2012-13 READY NCEXTEND2 Online Assessments
  3. Accommodations and Online Assessments
  4. Resources Address Extended Content Standards
  5. New Formative Assessment Plans Available
  6. Missed the Principal Webinar on Common Exams?
  7. ASCD Launches Free Digital Common Core Implementation Tool
  8. Accountability, Testing and Common Exams Update Webinar Reminder
  9. Webinars Scheduled on "Advanced Content for Teachers of Advanced Math and Science Learners"
  10. Inter-Rater Reliability (IRR) Training Opportunities for Principals
  11. Students@Work Webinar
  12. Seats Still Available in Professional Development Online Courses
  13. Speak Up National Research Project
  14. "A New Mission for Middle Grades: Preparing Students for a Changing World"

New CPR Graduation Requirement

At this month's State Board meeting, members approved an update to the State Graduation Requirements policy, GCS-N-004, to include the new CPR graduation requirement. Related resources, including a checklist of the required components of CPR instruction, are available online at . Questions should be directed to Les Spell at

2012-13 READY NCEXTEND2 Online Assessments

For the 2012-13 school year, all NCEXTEND2 assessments will be delivered in an online format. This includes the NCEXTEND2 assessments for Biology, English II, Algebra I/Integrated I, Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics, and Grades 5 and 8 Science. In the fall of 2007, the NCDPI conducted a feasibility study for both the end-of-grade and end-of-course assessments for online delivery of the NCEXTEND2 assessments. Teachers also suggested features that would ensure an optimal testing environment for the students. During the spring 2011 item tryouts, the NCEXTEND2 assessments were administered completely online. The success observed and lessons learned with the administration of the NCEXTEND2 assessments helped move NC forward in the transition to online assessments.

NOTE: Districts have the option of administering NCEXTEND2 assessments in the online or paper and pencil format; however, online testing is strongly encouraged. For more information, please contact Kayla Siler at or visit .

Accommodations and Online Assessments

The online assessment system (NCTest) not only meets the needs of students with disabilities and students identified as limited English proficient who require accommodations, but also offers several universal design features to all students such as large font, adjustable background colors and one test item per page. Online assessments are available to all students in regular or large font and in different background/foreground colors; however, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) recommends these options be considered only for students who routinely use similar tools (e.g., color acetate overlays, colored background paper, and large print text) in the classroom.

Students with the documented accommodation of Computer Reads Test Aloud-Student Controlled have access to audio files of item content for all online assessments except those that measure reading comprehension. To activate the read aloud option, the student must click a speaker button . Speaker buttons are located by every block of text for which there are audio files available. Each speaker button activates an audio file for that particular block of text. The files are streaming mp3 audio files that are delivered from the host server when the student clicks the speaker button. The audio files are human vocalization and not computer-generated modulation. In some cases this will reduce the need for separate settings for certain students, because they can use headphones and take the assessments in the same class as other students.

For more information about accommodations for assessments please visit . For more information, please contact Kayla Siler at or visit .

Resources Address Extended Content Standards

There are a number of resources available online to support the Extended Content Standards. The standards are available at and support tools at . Please refer back often to the support tools' page as additional information will continually be added. Additional information including training information can be found online at . Also there is an email group for teachers of students with significant cognitive disabilities where trainings and other information regarding the standards are announced. Please contact Claire Greer at if you would like to be added to this email group.

The Literacy Website (much of North Carolina's work is featured on this site) at has some tools on Extended Standards. Although the website is supported by the National Consortia on Deaf-Blindness, the information is intended for students with significant cognitive disabilities as well as students with dual sensory loss. Other outside resources can be found at the Tar Heel Readers website,

Finally, an online Livebinder for information on the Extended Content Standards will soon be available. An announcement will be sent when this resource is available. For more information, please contact Claire Greer at

New Formative Assessment Plans Available

New formative assessment plans developed by North Carolina teachers aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the NC Essential Standards have been created to support the formative assessment principles outlined in NC FALCON. Formative assessment plans are available for the following content and program areas (at various grade levels/subjects):

  • Arts Education
  • Career and Technical Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • English Language Arts
  • Healthful Living
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • World Languages
  • Pre-Kindergarten

After logging into NC FALCON (, the plans can be found under the heading "Formative Assessment Plans." Please share this information with other educators. Any questions should be directed to Carmella Fair, NC FALCON coordinator, at

Missed the Principal Webinar on Common Exams?

On Oct. 10, the NCDPI and the NC Principals and Assistant Principals Association held a webinar on educator effectiveness, with a focus on the Common Exams. While over 700 school administrators tuned in to the webinar, we know that others were not able to attend. For those who were unable to attend or would like to re-visit the webinar, the webinar has been archived online at . You will need to complete a form that looks like you are registering to attend the webinar, but completing the form will provide you with access to the recording. For more information, please email

ASCD Launches Free Digital Common Core Implementation Tool

ASCD is introducing its new, free EduCoreā„¢ digital tool for educators implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in both mathematics and literacy. Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the EduCore tool is a repository of evidence-based strategies, videos, and supporting documents that help educators transition to the CCSS. The EduCore tool supports CCSS implementation for mathematics and features a variety of formative assessment lessons and videos ready for classroom use, including more than 20 formative assessment mathematics lessons. Developed by the Shell Centre, these middle and high school Classroom Challenges include problem-solving and content-development formative assessments on subjects such as solving linear equations in two variables and applying angle theorems. Useful plans, student materials, PowerPoint slides, and other materials round out the many mathematics resources available. Visit the EduCore tool at Additional ASCD resources that aid educators who are implementing the Common Core State Standards can be found at For more information, please contact Maria Pitre-Martin at

Accountability, Testing and Common Exams Update Webinar Reminder

As a reminder, on Oct. 25 from 3:30-5 p.m., the NCDPI's Accountability Services staff and the Race to the Top Project Coordinator for Educator Effectiveness will host an informational webinar on the state's new accountability model, the new end-of-course and end-of-grade assessments, and the Common Exams (formerly referred to as Measures of Student Learning). The primary audience for this webinar is principals and classroom teachers. The webinar will be recorded and made available, along with any documents/resources presented during the webinar, on the Accountability Services web page. To register, please visit: .

Webinars Scheduled on "Advanced Content for Teachers of Advanced Math and Science Learners"

The NCDPI will host professional development webinars focused on "Advanced Content for Teachers of Advanced Learners in Math and Science." This series is developed in partnership with NC School of Science and Mathematics. These one-hour webinar sessions are open to all interested personnel and do not require registration. For the most part, the sessions are geared toward grades 6-12. Topics range from Recursion to Biomimicry to Integrating "E" in STEM. The series will run from October through April 2013 with the first science session on Oct. 9 and the first math session on Oct. 23. Attend one or all sessions. Sessions will be archived and posted on NCDPI iTunesU site ( if you cannot attend. Please see attached flier for more information and registration links.

Inter-Rater Reliability (IRR) Training Opportunities for Principals

Administrators are invited to come together to collaborate and build their understanding and skills to better assess teachers on the North Carolina Professional Teacher Standards using the Teacher Evaluation Rubric. The Inter-Rater Reliability professional development will ensure that all observers are more uniform in their ability to identify and mark observations with consistency. Each session will examine a case study of a teacher. The deliveries will include profiles, scenarios, and/ or video to provide a common lens of observation. These sessions are for anyone who evaluates teachers and wants to build their expertise marking the rubric. Participant collaboration will guide the facilitated process of examining teacher behaviors and data to ensure inter-rater reliability.

  • IRR Session 1: Inter-rater Reliability - Evaluating and Coaching Teachers. This three-hour refresher session is designed for experienced administrators to review the ratings, elements of a 21st century classroom, teacher coaching, and using the online tool with Inter-rater reliability.
  • IRR Session 2: Inter-rater Reliability Teacher Evaluation Process. This full day session will review the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards and Teacher Evaluation Process. Participants will develop inter-rater reliability of standards 1-5 through the use of classroom observation with video and a full scenario. Professional coaching techniques will be covered. Through the analysis of observation notes, observers can plan for crucial conversations with teachers to help them grow professionally.
  • IRR Training 3: Discussion based on Trainings 1 and 2. Based on the data gathered from Trainings 1 and 2, we will purposefully navigate the facilitation of inter-rater reliability Training 3.

To register for these training sessions as well as obtain additional information on professional development opportunities, please visit the RESA Calendar available online at (click on NC Educator Evaluation System PD under "By Title" then click on the calendar date for details). Users can search by region or by topic. For more information, please contact Kim Simmons at

Students@Work Webinar

Students@Work, a project of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education and the NCDPI, will be held Feb. 25-March1, 2013. The initiative's goal is for businesses to help middle school students in their community see the opportunities that exist in the workplace. A webinar to discuss the 2013 program will be held Monday, Oct. 22, from 2-3 p.m. To register, please visit . After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar. Central office and middle school career technical education leaders are encouraged to participate.

Seats Still Available in Professional Development Online Courses

LEARN NC has seats open in their online professional development course sections. Whether you are interested in picking up credit hours in the Common Core, technology, literacy, ESL, or American history, there is something for you. LEARN NC's online courses, which are aligned to North Carolina Educator Technology Competencies, NETS, and INTASC standards, eliminate travel expenses and substitute-teacher costs normally associated with staff development. Online professional development allows teachers to participate at a time and place most convenient to them, and collaborate with colleagues via a variety of easy-to-use electronic forums. For more information, including registration, please visit .

Speak Up National Research Project

The Speak Up National Research Project provides participating schools, districts and non-profit organizations with a suite of online surveys and reports to collect authentic feedback from students, educators and parents. In addition, the Project summarizes and shares the national findings with education and policy leaders in Washington DC and in North Carolina. The top three reasons schools and districts participate in Speak Up are to:

  • collect unique data from their stakeholders;
  • conduct a needs assessment and create a vision for 21st century learning; and
  • use the data to create and inform technology initiatives or create strategic plans.

Across the nation, educators say that Speak Up:

  • gives them a better understanding of issues important to their stakeholders;
  • provides a mechanism to empower students to voice their opinions;
  • provides meaningful input into their planning process;
  • enhances their ability to implement technology initiatives more closely aligned to students' expectations and needs; and
  • helps identify meaningful benchmarks for measuring success.

Register at today to participate in Speak Up. For more information, contact Ouida Myers Additional registration assistance is available online at as well as other Speak Up resources.

"A New Mission for Middle Grades: Preparing Students for a Changing World"

The NCDPI and the NC School Counselor Association (NCSCA) would like to invite teams of middle school counselors and principals to this exciting session at the NCSCA Annual Fall Conference on Thursday, Nov. 8, from 10:50 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (lunch provided). This session will focus on the initiatives put forth in the SREB Middle School Commission Report, "A New Mission for Middle Grades: Preparing Students for a Changing World." Register for this "lunch and learn" session at . This session is free to all administrators, counselors, superintendents, full conference participants, or Thursday-only conference attendees. (If counselors want to attend any of the other sessions on Thursday there will be a charge.) Dr. Gene Bottoms from the Southern Regional Education Board; Dr. June Atkinson from the NC Department of Public Instruction; and Broad Creek Middle School Principal Dr. Cathy Tomon, Assistant Principal Marylene Vines, and School Counselor Joann Norman will lead this "lunch and learn" session for middle school counselors and principals. For more information, please contact Linda Brannan at or 919.807.3834.