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PRINCIPALS' MESSAGES 2013

MESSAGES 2013 :: MARCH 7, 2013

MARCH 7, 2013 - Principals' Biweekly Message

In February, the first meeting of a think tank on early learning and how to measure student learning in kindergarten through third grade was held at Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy. This group includes child development scholars from public and private universities across the state, including Duke, UNC- Chapel Hill, N.C. State University, Meredith College and others. The early learning assessment effort was authorized by the N.C. General Assembly, and is being implemented by the state Department of Public Instruction with funding from a $70 million federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant that North Carolina won in 2011. The think tank will make recommendations in August. That work will be followed by work from a task force of stakeholders - to include public school teachers and principals among others - who will create the assessment design. We will communicate the work of these groups and opportunities for you and your colleagues to participate throughout the process. The goal is to improve the process of assessing the development and learning of our youngest students. If we can do this better, I believe we can teach students better in the critical early grades and also as they move toward graduation.

Regards,
June Atkinson


In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. State Board Meeting Highlights
  2. Algebra II/Integrated III Indicator Clarification
  3. Constructed Response Items from Fall 2012 Common Exams Now Available
  4. School Facilities' Shared Use Survey
  5. Grades 6-12 Credit by Demonstrated Mastery Survey
  6. Public Notice for Participation and Comments on the North Carolina Application for Grant Award Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as Amended in 2004 for Federal FY 2013
  7. K-3 Assessment Think Tank Meeting Summary
  8. Career & College Promise Webinar Online
  9. #NCed Chat Allows Teachers to Collaborate Statewide
  10. Educator Recruitment and Development Division Renamed
  11. Exceptional Performance Earns National Recognition for Three Middle Schools
  12. NCCSM Offers Tuition-Free Courses
  13. Raising Achievement/Closing Gaps Conference Part of Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement
  14. Middle/High Video Competition Focuses on Pedestrian Safety
  15. National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest Rules Online
  16. Military Kids' Website Helps Educators/Parents


State Board Meeting Highlights

Among the items approved by State Board of Education members at their meeting this morning were the General Assembly's Read to Achieve Program, the 2013 invitation to submit textbooks for evaluation and adoption in North Carolina, and changes to policy providing annual performance standards under the READY model. Members also gave final approval for 24 charters and heard presentations on teacher salary issues, educator effectiveness policies and Regional Leadership Academies. A summary of all Board action items is available online at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/highlights/2013 .


Algebra II/Integrated III Indicator Clarification

There has been some confusion regarding the Algebra II/Integrated III indicator for the accountability model. The definition for this indicator has been stated as graduates who successfully complete Algebra II/Integrated III. To clarify, students who participate in the Occupational Course of Study (OCS) and students who participate in NCEXTEND1 will not be included in the accountability calculation. We will review our communication to state the definition of the Algebra II/Integrated III indicator to note the exclusion of the most seriously cognitively disabled students and the Occupational Course of Study students.


Constructed Response Items from Fall 2012 Common Exams Now Available

The NCDPI has released the constructed response items and scoring rubrics that were used on the fall 2012 Common Exams. Districts can use these items as practice for students, and also can use them to provide teachers with more experience in using rubrics to assess the student work. The released items are available at www.ncpublicschools.org/effectiveness-model/measures/released-items/ .


School Facilities' Shared Use Survey

In the coming days, you will receive an e-mail from Dr. Michael Kanters at N.C. State University requesting your participation in a brief survey about the shared use of your school's facilities. The survey will take about 3-5 minutes of your time and will provide important information about the status of public school facility use shared within your community.

The NC Division of Public Health (NC DHHS) is working with communities across the state to reduce chronic diseases and promote healthy lifestyles. With funding from the CDC, NC DHHS is planning projects on how to make public places such as schools and parks more accessible for physical activity programs. This survey will provide critical baseline information about the extent of public school facilities shared with community organizations and residents.

Your participation is vital to help provide an accurate assessment of school facility shared use within North Carolina. Participation in this study is entirely voluntary. If you have any questions or concerns after you receive the survey please contact the principal investigator for this project, Dr. Michael Kanters via email at mkanters@ncsu.edu.


Grades 6-12 Credit by Demonstrated Mastery Survey

NCDPI Academic Services has opened a short survey instrument on the new State Board of Education Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) policy. This policy goes into effect in 2013-14 with the understanding that most LEAs will implement the policy in spring 2014, impacting student placement in courses in fall 2014.

This voluntary survey is designed for superintendents, curriculum and instruction leaders, principals, Academically Gifted staff, and counselors as well as anyone else who will help manage or participate in the implementation of this policy. Responses should be completed by 5 p.m., March 15. The survey is short and should take only 5-10 minutes to complete but your feedback will be invaluable as the CDM Committee begins crafting the guidelines for policy implementation as required by the Board. The Committee, made up of NCDPI, NCVPS and school district personnel, expects to complete and distribute the guidelines document this summer.

If you would like to offer your input to this process, please visit https://s.zoomerang.com/s/CDMSurvey2013 . If you have questions about this survey, please contact Rob Hines at 919.807.3244 or Sneha Shah-Coltrane at 919.807.3849.


Public Notice for Participation and Comments on the North Carolina Application for Grant Award Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as Amended in 2004 for Federal FY 2013

The NCDPI is making available its annual State Application for receiving grant award under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as amended in 2004. The proposed application will be available for public review March 7-May 5. Comments will be accepted March 21-April 21.

A copy of the State Application will be available on the NCDPI website at http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov under "For Your Information." Also, each LEA will receive a copy of the State Application for public review.

Interested citizens may submit comments via e-mail to IDEAGrant2013@dpi.nc.gov or by mail to: NCDPI, Exceptional Children Division, ATTN: Valerie Herndon/Ira Wolfe, 6356 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6356.


K-3 Assessment Think Tank Meeting Summary

State Superintendent June Atkinson has convened the first session of a six-month "Think Tank" on Feb. 15 on the Duke University campus. Twenty-two education leaders were invited to participate on the group, which is co-chaired by John Pruette, who directs the NCDPI's Office of Early Learning, and Center for Child and Family Policy Director Ken Dodge.

The panel will explore what is critical to assess within multiple domains of learning and development (e.g. emotional/social, health and physical, academics) and how these areas can be appropriately and efficiently assessed in the early grades beginning at kindergarten entry. The group's recommendations will be used to craft formative assessment that will be implemented in grades K-3 across North Carolina. Consistent with the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant and law passed in the previous legislative session, the goal is to create assessment that will guide daily instructional practices tailored to each child's needs. For more information on this group's activities, please contact John Pruette at john.pruette@dpi.nc.gov.


Career & College Promise Webinar Online

If you, your school counselor or Career Development Coordinator were unable to attend any of the February webinars sponsored by the NCDPI and College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) on Career & College Promise you may want to access the Feb. 4 presentation now available online. The webinars introduced and explained the process students and schools will need to use next spring to complete community college applications required for Career & College Promise. The webinar is available at https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/career-and-collegepromise/ id602450826?mt=10 . The presentation is online at www.ncpublicschools.org/ccpromise/counselors . High school principals are asked to share this information with appropriate staff.


#NCed Chat Allows Teachers to Collaborate Statewide

#NCed Chat is a new bi-weekly Twitter chat for North Carolina educators. #NCed Chat will provide an opportunity for North Carolina educators to grow and develop their personal learning network (PLN) by connecting with other NC educators throughout the state. The chat will create a forum for North Carolina educators to come together once every other week in a public Twitter conversation around topics that pertain to their work and connect with other educators with similar interests. School and district level practitioners will moderate the chats.

The first chat is Tuesday, March 26, from 8 - 9 pm. The topic is the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning. Andrew Thomasson, a high school English teacher from Gaston County, will lead the discussion, co-moderating with Region 7 Professional Development Lead Heather Mullins of the NCDPI Educator Effectiveness Division.

For more information on how to participate, please visit https://smore.com/gg3f . If you have additional questions, please contact Lynne Johnson, Educator Effectiveness Division director, at Lynne.Johnson@dpi.nc.gov.


Educator Recruitment and Development Division Renamed

The NCDPI Educator Recruitment and Development Division has been renamed to Educator Effectiveness Division. The original website, www.ncpublicschools.org/recruitment/, will redirect you to the new site automatically. The new site is www.ncpublicschools.org/educatoreffectiveness. Please update your bookmarks. In addition, the former Educator Effectiveness site, www.ncpublicschools.org/educatoreffect/ has been renamed to Educator Effectiveness Model and the new site is www.ncpublicschools.org/effectiveness-model. Although you will be redirected automatically, please update your bookmarks. The information is still the same as only the titles have changed.


Exceptional Performance Earns National Recognition for Three Middle Schools

A.L. Stanback Middle School (Orange County), Hamlet Middle School (Richmond County), and Randleman Middle School (Randolph County) are the latest North Carolina middle schools to be named Schools to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. They were recognized because of their emphasis on strong academics, sensitivity to young adolescents' needs and interests, and commitment to providing all students equal access to a high-quality education. To read more about their selection and what it all means, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org and click on the appropriate link under "News."


NCCSM Offers Tuition-Free Courses

Registration is now open for tuition-free courses from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, delivered via interactive videoconference. These courses, which include honors and Advanced Placement courses in mathematics, engineering, physics, environmental science, and biology, meet daily with a NCSSM instructor, all while the students remain on their local school campus. The catalog of 2013-14 offerings and registration forms are available at http://www.ncssm.edu/learn/ . Contact Ross White, dean of Distance Education, at rosswhite@ncssm.edu or 919.416.2833 with questions about courses, registration, or adding your school as a videoconference site.


Raising Achievement/Closing Gaps Conference Part of Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement

As a reminder, the former Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps Conference has been folded into the Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement. This conference continues to focus on issues of academic achievement for all students and has expanded to provide more global perspectives of education reform and initiatives. Registration is now open for the third annual Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement. The conference will be held March 25-27 at the Sheraton Four Season/Koury Convention Center, Greensboro. For conference information, including registration, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org/academicservices/conference .


Middle/High Video Competition Focuses on Pedestrian Safety

NCDPI's Transportation Services is co-sponsoring a youth video contest entitled "Making Tracks" for middle and high school students across the state. The purpose of the video contest is to help students teach others the importance of pedestrian safety to and from school and in particular, to and from the bus stop. The online submission period is from April 22-May 5. Online voting will be held May 6-May 12. Complete contest information is available online at www.ncbussafety.org/makingtracks . For more information, please contact Derek Graham at derek.graham@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3571.


National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest Rules Online

Rules for the 2013 National School Bus Safety Week poster contest have been posted on the School Bus Safety Web site at www.ncbussafety.org/Poster. The contest is open to students in grades K-8. For 2012, Johnston County fourth grader Jennifer Sieredzki won third place nationally! The deadline for submission to the state (through your district transportation department) is May 24.


Military Kids' Website Helps Educators/Parents

The Defense Department website for military children has added new features to help parents and educators explain difficult topics of the military lifestyle to children. Since its launch in January 2012, MilitaryKidsConnect.org has served more than 125,000 visitors. To mark its one-year anniversary, the website added new content including:

  • military culture videos and lesson plans for teachers, school counselors, and educators to better understand the differences between military and civilian youth;
  • graphic novels and mini-documentaries by military kids sharing their experiences; and
  • new modules for children and parents on handling grief, loss and physical injury.