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WEBINAR Q&As

QUESTIONS LOG


How do I determine if our school will receive any of this funding? Are there any criteria listed?
Charter schools are eligible to receive Race to the Top funding if they are eligible for Title I funds.


Improving Teacher-Principal Effectiveness - Is this only available for Title I Schools?
The activities related to improving teacher and principal effectiveness are available to all schools, although there may be some specialized interventions put in place in schools and districts that are required to participate in turnaround activities.


Where can one access the documents referenced in the Webinar?
All Race to the Top documents are now available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/rttt.


Please clarify that individual names will not be included in state report card data for effective educators.
Evaluation information about individual educators is not considered a public record in North Carolina. State report card data will list only percentages of educators in each category of performance. Individuals' names and performance ratings will NOT be published.


What involvement will the LEAs have in defining the technology initiatives?
The NC Technology Cloud will provide LEAs with a great deal of flexibility in determining which digital resources and tools they may use to support RttT initiatives. Students and teachers will have access to a variety of online courses, Web 2.0 tools (blogs, wikis, social networking), digital learning object libraries and online spaces to post and share work.


How will we link teacher evaluation to student test scores when the scores are not available until after the evaluations have been done?
NCDPI officials will convene a Teacher Effectiveness Work group soon to address all of the effectiveness issues.  We understand that this is a very complex issue and will work with teachers and administrators to ensure these issues are addressed.


How will you assess EC teachers using this model based on the growth model?
This also will be addressed in our Teacher Effectiveness Work group.


Development has been a key word in this section of the presentation. How will you use local expertise and involvement in developing these initiiatives at the state level?
Many local educators already have been involved in developing the accountability and curriculum reform effort work, participating in statewide committees revising the state's curriculum and setting the direction for new assessments and the new accountability model. In addition, educators have been an integral part of piloting the new evaluation models for teachers and principals. The experiences of local school districts and schools that have participated in local initiatives to recruit quality educators and to turn around low-achieving schools also have informed the activities outlined in the state's Race to the Top plan. OTHER IDEAS?


How do you propose to change the law so LEAs can require teachers to participate in the professional development during the summer?
There is no law that prohibits teachers from participating in professional development in the summer. LEAs will have to use incentives and creative measures to encourage teachers to participate in the summer.


How will LEAs ensure that teachers receive adequate professional development without hurting classroom instructional time?
LEAs will have flexibility in determining where and how PD activities will occur. The Professional Development Cadres will work with LEAs to determine how teachers' time can best be used to attend workshops and to collaborate. The impelementation of eLearning tools will provide a great deal of flexibility for those who prefer online PD activities.


Are the RttT funds now going to be given to LEAs based on a formula and not on a competitive basis?
Race to the Top funds will be distributed according to the Title I fund distributions.


If a district chooses to focus two pillars instead of all four, will they still be held responsible for the remaining two?
There are some statewide activities covered in the four pillars in which all school districts are required to participate. These are identified in the guidance documents that are provided alongside the Scope of Work application. The exception to this would be in the case of school and district turnaround. The turnaround activities are required for low-achieving districts and schools as identified in the plan. There are XX school districts in the state that do not have schools or districtwide performance that requires them to participate in turnaround activities.


Will DPI reformat the Common Core Standards to match the current Essential Standards format?
The Common Core standards – adopted in English language arts and in mathematics K-12 – will not be revised to match the language format of the Essential Standards.


How were the lowest-achieving schools determined (average of 3 years ++ low performing status for the 2008-09 school year?)
There are three ways that lowest-performing schools were identified for purposes of Race to the Top: the lowest 5 percent performing elementary schools, middle schools and high schools; high schools with a graduation rate below 60 percent; and districts with an aggregate performance composite below 65 percent.


Are Standards & Assessments and Instructional Improvement available only to Title I Schools?
No, funding is applied based on the Title I fund distribution, but these funds may be used for other schools as well.


Beddingfield High School was just released from the turnaround program. Before this school has the time to see its graduation rate incease, they will be back in turnaround?
According to the RttT guidelines, all schools in the bottom 5 percent will be in Turnaround. The program, however, will be customized for each school and the level of engagement will vary according to specific needs and issues.


Does every district need to have a turnaround plan? Are there districts without schools in the lowest 5 percent?
No, only districts with an aggregate performance composite below XX percent would be required to develop a turnaround plan for their district. The districts that need to develop a turnaround plan will receive a personal call from the District and School Transformation division at the NC Department of Public Instruction. There are XX school districts that do not have schools in the lowest 5 percent.


When will school districts be informed of their allocation amounts?
The Finance and Business Services area of the NC Department of Public Instruction will be providing this information WHEN.


If a school received ARRA funds, but not Title I funds in 2009-10, how will the initial 50 percent funding be distributed to these schools?
The US Department of Education directed states to distribute funding based on the 2009-10 Title I appropriations (regular and ARRA). To determine each LEA's and charter school's allocation, one would total the two statewide allocations (2009-10 regular and ARRA) and divide each receiving LEA and charter's total for that year by the grand total (2009-10 regular and ARRA) for all LEAs and charters. The resulting percentage of the total will be the exact same percent that will be applied to the LEA/charter 50 percent portion of the RttT grant to determine the RttT allocation for an LEA or charter.


If 50 percent of the funding goes to Title I schools, is the $34 million allocated for technology for any school, not just Title I?
Where would the remaining funds be allocated? The 50 percent being distributed to local districts or charter schools is based on the Title I distribution formula, but 50 percent of the Race to the Top funds are not earmarked only for Title I schools. These locally-directed dollars can be used across the school districts that receive them.


What about charter schools that do not file for Title 1 as they only qualify for a few hundred dollars in funding?
Will they receive only technology marked funds? Will this tech funding be enough to justify participation for small charters?


When do you envision the technology cloud be fully operational state wide? Do you plan on pilot LEA's?
NC is positioned to begin deploying Cloud services due to the State's investment of nearly $60 million in high-bandwidth connectivity to all schools across the state since 2006. We expect that access to many Cloud services will be available to all schools across the state upon implementation, with those services being increased over the grant's duration.


Why haven't NC teachers received a pay raise in 3 years, yet the expectations for these teachers continue to increase?
It is unfortunate that the economic situation in North Carolina and in the nation has precluded teacher pay increases in recent years, but the learning needs for students and the need to seek improvements in school performance cannot be put on hold while we wait for the economic upswing.


What do we have to have ready when we attend regional meetings?
The regional meetings are designed for local school districts to receive preliminary feedback on their Scope of Work applications and to receive clarification and answers to specific questions that they may have prior to finalizing their plan. It is recommended that district teams bring a draft of their Scope of Work application with them to the regional meetings.


Will schools that don't choose to file a Scope of Work Application eventually be offered access to the cloud as a fee-based service?
All public schools in North Carolina will benefit from the successful completion of the Race to the Top initiatives, whether or not they directly participate and receive funding. The NC Education Cloud will be free to all public schools.


Are the current ARRA requirements for purchases and PD in effect for this grant?
Yes. Expenditures of RttT funds must comply with the OERI Management Directives, especially as related to purchases of goods and services. The directives are found at http://www.ncrecovery.gov/Compliance/OERIDirectives.aspx


Will there be support for purchasing and sustaining technology devices?
LEAs/Charters may purchase hardware if needed to expand or create an educational opportunity linked to a Race to the Top initiative. Examples of valid purchases might include a laptop cart or other devices to use in delivering benchmark or interim online assessments, or for completing teacher evaluations online. Each LEAs/Charter should provide a justification for any such expenditure in its Detailed Scope of Work.


Can an NCAE president refuse to sign if he has been excluded from the team?
NCAE presidents or their teacher designees may choose not to sign their district's application, but it is important that district teams seek consensus on their RttT Scope of Work plan to optimize its effectiveness.


How can charter administrators access dates for regional meetings?
Dates for regional technical assistance meetings are available on the RttT website: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/rttt/dates/