MESSAGES 2013 :: APRIL 18, 2013

APRIL 18, 2013 - Principals' Biweekly Message

It is hard to believe but the end of another school year is less than two months away for many schools operating on a traditional calendar. While many of you are focused on testing during this time every year, I begin thinking about summer loss. Many of our students lose ground over the summer because they may not be encouraged to read or engage their minds in ways that keep their academic skills sharp. To address this challenge, we are launching the Give Five - Read Five initiative ( as one way to raise awareness about the importance of summer reading and to make sure every elementary school student has access to books while they are away from school. As a part of this effort, I am asking parents, business leaders and members of our communities to donate five new or gently-used books to their local elementary school. Your help in getting the word out to your school community about this initiative will go a long way toward the success of this program. Thank you for your partnership and support.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. New Assessment Item Types: Gridded Response
  2. April is "Financial Literacy Month"
  3. School Facilities' Shared-Use Survey Reminder
  4. Survey Focuses on Physical Activity at the Middle Grades
  5. Educator Effectiveness Update Webinar Reminder
  6. Genesis of the Common Core State Standards
  7. Four Receive ACT College and Career Readiness Awards
  8. Registration Open for Summer Leadership Conference 2013
  9. ELA Common Core Summer Seminar
  10. 2013 Stop Rx Abuse PSA Competition Targets High School Students

New Assessment Item Types: Gridded Response

Mathematics end-of-grade assessments at grades 5-8 and the Algebra I/Integrated I end-of-course assessment consist of multiple-choice items and about 20 percent gridded-response items. A gridded-response item requires the student to record a numerical answer into a field rather than to select an answer from several choices. There are guideline documents and examples posted on the testing website at . Look for the heading "Guidelines, Practice and Examples for Math Gridded-Response Items" and you will find four documents to download. You can find additional examples of new online item types in the Online Assessment Tutorial ( Released test forms may also be used to acquaint students with the new item types. Released test forms for 2012-13 are available in an online assessment version and in a paper-and-pencil version. Online released forms and Online Assessment Tutorial forms are presented in the same interactive environment as the actual online assessment and are available at . For more information, please contact your LEA test coordinator or your regional accountability coordinator.

April is "Financial Literacy Month"

Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed April as "Financial Literacy Month to encourage the instruction, activities and initiatives provided by state agencies, public and private institutions, regional agencies and community organizations to develop and enhance financial literacy knowledge and skills to ensure economic success.

School Facilities' Shared-Use Survey Reminder

In early March, all principals received 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 provide critical baseline information about the extent of public school facilities shared with community organizations and residents. To date, only about 30 percent of schools have responded. Full participation is vital if we are to help provide an accurate assessment of school facility shared use within North Carolina. If you've completed the survey…thanks! If you have not completed the survey, please visit April 26. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the principal investigator for this project, Dr. Michael Kanters at

Survey Focuses on Physical Activity at the Middle Grades

In partnership with the SBE and the NCDPI, an East Carolina University pediatrician is conducting a survey to help evaluate physical activity in middle schools since the passage of the Board's Healthy Active Children policy. Please visit and provide your input so we can maximize what is learned from this effort. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Principals are asked to complete the survey by May 6.

Educator Effectiveness Update Webinar Reminder

As a reminder, the NCDPI and NCAE are sponsoring an Educator Effectiveness Update webinar on Thursday, April 25, from 4-5:30 p.m. Topics to be discussed include the sixth standard, overall effectiveness status, EVAAS, and the Measures of Student Learning (including the Common Exams and pilot programs in other grades and content areas). To register, please visit . Once you register, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.

Genesis of the Common Core State Standards

In her latest blog entry, Common Core - It's About Reading and Math, State Superintendent June Atkinson addresses the origin of the Common Core State Standards and in the process debunks a number of myths that are currently circulating. Read about how these standards got started by visiting .

Four Receive ACT College and Career Readiness Awards

At the April State Board of Education meeting, four awards were presented under the ACT's College and Career-Readiness Campaign. The awards celebrate achievement and create awareness around the Campaign's goal of college and career readiness for all. North Carolina is one of seven states (others are Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Wisconsin) participating in the Campaign's inaugural year. The award recipients are Jaquesha Stokes (Mt. Tabor High School/Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools), Student Readiness Award; Parkland High School (Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools), College and Career Transition Award; Edgecombe Community College, Career Preparedness Award; and Catawba Valley Community College, Workplace Success Award. A national selection committee will review all state recipients and select an honoree for each award for national recognition. Recipients will be recognized at the ACT National Gala on College and Career Readiness in Washington, D.C. in May.

Registration Open for Summer Leadership Conference 2013

The Summer Leadership Conference 2013, Collaborating for Success, will be held June 23-26 at the Grove Park Inn, Asheville. The NCSSA Superintendents' Retreat will be a part of the conference and will begin on Sunday, June 23. Conference information, hotels, a tentative agenda, and online registration can be found at John Hodge, President/Co-Founder of the Urban Learning and Leadership Center, Paul Bloomberg and Ray Smith from The Leadership and Learning Center, and Justin Karkow from Discovery Education are the keynote speakers. There also will be updates from the NCDPI, a legal update and a State Board of Education update. If you have questions, please contact Jan Webster (; 828/418-0011 ext. 21 or Vicki Wilson (; 828.418.0011 ext. 22).

ELA Common Core Summer Seminar

The NCDPI's ELA Section announces a wonderful opportunity for classroom teachers to deeply explore the ELA Common Core State Standards. Teachers will participate in professional development and work with DPI Consultants in creating lessons aligned with the ELA Common Core. There will be two regional sessions: one held in the west June 17-18, and one held in the east June 20-21. For all the details, including expectations and how to apply, download the flyer at .

2013 Stop Rx Abuse PSA Competition Targets High School Students

Attorney General Roy Cooper and the NC Department of Justice have partnered with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, the North Carolina Parent Resource Center, and the Governor's Institute on Substance Abuse to sponsor the 2013 Stop Rx Abuse contest. Students are asked to create a brief public service announcement video on teen prescription drug abuse. The contest winner will receive an iPad donated by the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. The first runner-up will receive an iPod touch donated by the North Carolina Parent Resource Center. The second runner-up will receive a gift card donated by the Governor's Institute on Substance Abuse. Winning videos will be featured on the NC Department of Justice website and Facebook page, and last year's winners also were featured on local television. Students enrolled in grades nine through 12 in North Carolina are eligible to enter the contest. The contest entry deadline is April 26. Contest details are available online at .