MESSAGES 2014 :: FEBRUARY 6, 2014

FEBRUARY 6, 2014 - Principals' Biweekly Message

The State Board of Education today approved local options for third graders to demonstrate their reading capabilities under the Read to Achieve law. With this action, any local school district will be able to use these new options to meet requirements of the law. The Board also authorized the Department of Public Instruction to approve other local options submitted by local school districts if the options have been approved by the local school board and if that board has authorized that their option is a valid and reliable way to measure third grade reading as required by the Read to Achieve law. This additional flexibility will benefit schools and districts immediately. In addition, an advisory group of local educators met with me last week and indicated their agreement with several key recommendations about Read to Achieve that we are asking the General Assembly to consider. I am very pleased with the focus that Read to Achieve brings to the need for all children to read by the end of third grade, but as sometimes is the case, we have seen unintended consequences of this law that could be taken care of with some improvements to the law. We will be preparing additional detailed information for those working directly with Read to Achieve.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. Read to Achieve Recommendations for Improvement
  2. State Board Meeting Highlights
  3. Home Base Weekly Webinar Reminder
  4. Spring READY Regional Principals Trainings Registration Reminder
  5. North Carolina Teacher Standards and Evaluation Process: Facilitated Course for Educators
  6. Governor Proclaims February Black History Month
  7. Regional Wells Fargo Principals of the Year Named
  8. NC Reading Conference Set for March

Read to Achieve Recommendations for Improvement

Last week, State Superintendent June Atkinson and two local superintendents presented to the General Assembly's Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations Committee on what the Department and local districts were doing to implement its Read to Achieve law. On Friday, the State Superintendent's Read to Achieve Advisory Group met and received information about the law and its requirements, discussed concerns about the impact of the law on the classroom and agreed to several recommendations to the General Assembly to improve the law. Among the recommendations: reduce the number of required passages in the portfolio option, provide flexibility to local school districts regarding details of the summer reading camps, allow school districts to have balanced school calendars to avoid summer reading losses, treat charter schools and non-charter public schools equitably, and count the 2013-14 school year as a trial run year only for Read to Achieve.

State Board Meeting Highlights

At today's State Board of Education meeting, members approved the staff recommendation that schools continue to use current state tests for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, and that they establish an advisory group to help determine testing in future years. Board members also approved locally developed tests for the General Assembly's Read to Achieve law with the stipulations that the requests be approved by the local board of education and contain a statement verifying that the local board has determined that the alternative assessments are valid and reliable. Board members also approved enrollment and grade expansion requests for eight charter schools and charter renewals 10 schools. They voted not to renew charters for PACE Academy and Coastal Academy for Technology and Science. A summary of Board actions will be posted online later this afternoon at

Home Base Weekly Webinars Reminder

Following are the Home Base and Instructional Improvement System online professional development opportunities for principals for the next two weeks.

On Tuesday, Feb. 11 and 25, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m., staff will provide opportunities to explore the Online Evaluation Tool: Getting Started for New Teachers. Webinar topics include learning targets, reviewing the new NCEES platform and terminology, reviewing professional development plan types and teacher plan types, and demonstrations on how to complete the teacher self-assessment, initial professional development plan and formal observation. To register for this webinar, please visit

The Instructional Improvement webinars are every Thursday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. The next IIS webinar for administrators will be held Thursday, Feb. 20, and will focus on the Test Item Review Process. This will include item vetting and the school, district and state submission process to item banks. To register for this webinar, please visit For a complete list of the Thursday webinars for administrators and teachers, please visit If you have additional questions, please contact LaVerne Weldon at

Spring READY Regional Principal Trainings Registration Reminder

Principals are reminded that the registration deadline to attend the Spring READY Regional Principal training sessions is quickly approaching. The spring trainings, which help support principals with their use of the NC Educator Evaluation System, will address NC Professional Teacher Standards 1 and 5, coaching conversations for teacher growth and educator evaluation data analysis. If you've already registered, thanks! For those of you who have not, you can register online at The registration deadline is Feb. 15. In addition, if you have to cancel or have a change of plans that prevents your attendance, please e-mail Sid Baker at as soon as possible, so that we are not charged for your lunch and break expenses. For more information, please contact Kim Simmons at

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

Principals, please share this opportunity with teachers. Due to continuing demand, NCDPI's Educator Effectiveness staff will offer two additional sessions of the six-week, facilitator-led online course: North Carolina Teacher Standards and the Evaluation Process. This course, provides an in-depth look at the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards and will help educators understand their role in the new evaluation process as well as deepen their understanding of the six professional teaching standards.

The course is available at no cost to North Carolina educators and will be facilitated by DPI professionals. The course is completed entirely online. Each session will start and end on specific dates. Participants are expected to meet all weekly deadlines in order to receive CEUs. Partial credit will not be given. Each session will take approximately 20 hours to complete, and educators will earn 2.0 CEUs upon successful completion. LearnNC will host the sessions. Educators should visit to register for a session. (If clicking on the link does not take you to the site, please cut and paste the URL address into the web browser address window.) Registration is now open for the Feb. 12-March 25 session and the Feb. 19-April 1 session. There is a limit of 35 participants per session.

Governor Proclaims February Black History Month

Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed February as Black History month in recognition of the many contributions African Americans have made to our state and country. In addition, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Regional Wells Fargo Principals of the Year Named

Congratulations to the following eight outstanding public school principals who were recently selected as regional Wells Fargo North Carolina Principals of the Year:

  • Northeast Region: Billie Berry, Camden County High (Camden County Schools);
  • Southeast Region: Frances Herring, Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School (Lenoir County Schools);
  • North Central Region: Larry Webb, Eaton-Johnson Middle (Vance County Schools);
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Robin Calcutt, New Century Middle, (Moore County Schools);
  • Piedmont-Triad/Central Region: Amy Rickard, Morris Grove Elementary (Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools);
  • Southwest Region: Brad Breedlove, Monroe High (Union County Schools);
  • Northwest Region: Carrie Tulbert, Mooresville Middle (Mooresville Graded School District); and
  • West Region: Brad Richardson, Forest City-Dunbar Elementary (Rutherford County Schools).

The regional winners will receive $1,000 for personal use and $1,000 for their schools. The Wells Fargo Principal of the Year will be announced on May 1. He or she will succeed the 2013 recipient, Dale Cole, principal of Chocowinity Middle (Beaufort County Schools).

NC Reading Conference Set for March

The 45th NC Reading Conference, "Pathways to Literacy: Looking Back to Move Forward," will be held March 16-18 at the Raleigh Convention Center. The conference has a strong focus on elements of the Common Core State Standards and includes sessions by DPI staff. Teachers can earn up to 1.5 reading CEUs for attending. Visit for complete conference information.