MESSAGES 2014 :: FEBRUARY 10, 2014

FEBRUARY 10, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014

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Hi, Everyone
Here's this week's Superintendents message and also the February FYI@DPI. Check it out and meet your new co-workers, read tips for increasing the safety in our workplace, find ideas for cleaning up (both in the physical world and in the online world) and more.

Weekly Message to Superintendents: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014

Earlier today you should have received an email about the fixes that have been applied to the Principals Monthly Report (PMR) software in PowerSchool (done over the maintenance weekend, Feb. 7-9). This email notes that we need your staff to re-run your PMRs and make necessary data corrections by the end of Thursday, Feb. 13. This will allow us to move forward with other key tasks for your school budgets. Thank you for your help to meet this timeline and help us move things forward.

Concerns about teacher pay, working conditions and the teaching profession in general are the focus of many this week. The Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh is bringing hundreds of people together today and tomorrow to hear from national and state experts on these issues. The Raleigh News & Observer yesterday published an article that gave voice to the concerns that many of us have on these issues, and General Assembly leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory announced a proposal this morning to begin to address teacher pay. It is hard to predict exactly how North Carolina’s lawmakers will meet these challenges, but at least the challenges are being acknowledged. As I told the News & Observer, it is not in our best interest to have a teacher corps that is a revolving door. Students need stability in the classroom.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

(pdf, 683kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. OpenClass: Getting Into the Collaboration and Course Management tool in Home Base
  3. Panic Alarm Grants
  4. Title III Monitoring Visits Scheduled
  5. Professional Development for TALAS Schools
  6. Career & College Promise Changes Coming
  7. Tuesday Charter Schools Advisory Board Meeting Cancelled; Evaluation Team C Webinar Scheduled
  8. Indian Education Advisory Council to Meet
  9. Governor Proclaims February Black History Month
  10. Schools and Districts to Recognize Drivers and Love the Bus in February
  11. February is CTE Month
  12. Third Annual National Digital Learning Day a Success
  13. Finance Officers' Newsletter Online

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

At last week’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 alternative tests for the General Assembly’sRead to Achievelaw 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 is posted online at

OpenClass: Getting Into the Collaboration and Course Management tool in Home Base

OpenClass offers an online space in which students and teachers can have 24-hour access to their courses. It’s a place for delivering multi-media assignments, creating collaborative spaces, uploading and downloading documents and giving descriptive feedback on student work.

One big benefit of this addition of OpenClass into the Home Base suite is the automatic roster sync between PowerSchool and OpenClass.Teachers will be able to log in and see all of their courses and students without having to manually enter or import them. Another benefit is the single-sign on functionality—students and teachers can access OpenClass through PowerSchool without having to sign in again or remember another password.

Since October 2013, the NCDPI and Pearson have been working with districts and charter schools interested in OpenClass training and implementation.Each “campus” is set up at the LEA level, with all schools in a district being a part of that campus.As of January, 41 LEAs have been trained on OpenClass.To view the list of those LEAs who have completed training go to

If interested in implementing Home Base’s OpenClass later this spring or early fall, superintendents or their designees should sign up for training and complete a short online form at form should only take a couple of minutes to complete.

Because we are supporting set-up at a district-level based on interest, sign up is limited to superintendents or their designees (the sooner districts express interest, the sooner they’ll have access).The link is only being provided to superintendents and curriculum and instruction leaders.

For more information about OpenClass, you can find the Jan. 15webinar archived at

Panic Alarm Grants

The next round of requests for Panic Alarm Grants for April 1 is quickly approaching.Visit for additional information or contact Jonathan Jones with School Planning 919.807.3556.

Title III Monitoring Visits Scheduled

The 2013 Title III Monitoring visits have been scheduled, andall participating LEAs/charter(s) have been notified.The list of LEAs/charter(s) that will be monitored are Pitt County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, Carter G. Woodson Charter school, Alamance-Burlington Schools, Cleveland County Schools, Wilkes County Schools and McDowell County Schools. For more information, please contact Christie Ebert

Professional Development for TALAS Schools

The District and School Transformation Division will provide Professional Development to approximately300 leaders of TALAS schoolsand SIG schools on Wednesday, Feb. 12. This session, Reaching ALL Students For Success, is the 14th in the on-going series of Professional Development for school leaders. It will focus on understanding the needs of diverse learners, including children of poverty, English Language Learners, African-American males, and Exceptional Children. The professional development is scheduled from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown on Wake Forest Road in Raleigh. For more information, contact Donna Miller

Career & College Promise Changes Coming

The Community College system and the University of North Carolina system have been redesigning the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA), which governs student transfers from the community colleges to the universities. As part of this effort, they have expended considerable effort to enhance Career & College Promise College Transfer pathways to benefit students with simplified and expanded options. The respective system boards will meet together to approve CAA changes in February. Once changes become official, we will share the impact of these changes on the Career & College Promise program. Please continue to watch this space for more information, and inform your high school principals and counselors that they will be hearing from us directly about the changes.

Tuesday Charter Schools Advisory Board Meeting Cancelled; Evaluation Team C Webinar Scheduled

Tuesday, Feb. 11, meeting of the NC Charter Schools Advisory Board has been cancelled. The meeting was to be held from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Education Building, Raleigh.

The Charter School Advisory Board’s Evaluation Team C has scheduled a webinar for tomorrow, Feb. 11, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., to continue its charter application reviews. The team will be reviewing charter applications submitted by Cabarrus STEM Academy, Charlotte Lab School and Felix A. Penn School. The public is invited to listen in by registering for the webinar at Notice will be given when the remaining evaluation team meetings are rescheduled.

Indian Education Advisory Council to Meet

The State Advisory Council on Indian Education will hold its Quarterly Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 13, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., in Room 152B of the Continuing Education Center at Guilford Community College, Wendover Campus, Greensboro.The Council's Annual Report to the State Board of Education will be discussed.For additional information, please contact Debora Williams 919.807.3912.

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 50thanniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Schools and Districts to Recognize Drivers and Love the Bus in February

The wheels on the bus could not go “round and round” without the bus drivers who navigate North Carolina’s roads to make sure students get to and from school safely each day. That is why State Superintendent June Atkinson is encouraging parents, teachers, school leaders and students to recognize these drivers during the national Love the Bus month in February. In addition, Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed Feb. 10-14 as “School Bus Driver Appreciation Week” in North Carolina and he urges all school communities and citizens to support the Love the Bus program and to recognize the excellence of the state’s school bus drivers and their record of safety. State Superintendent June Atkinson also is encouraging parents, teachers, school leaders and students to recognize these drivers during the national Love the Bus month in February. Atkinson will help Buncombe County Schools celebrate its bus drivers by riding (weather permitting) on a school bus taking students home from West Buncombe Elementary on Feb. 13.

February is CTE Month

February 2014 is Career and Technical Education Month. This year’s focus is on Celebrating CTE Superheroes, which provides an opportunity to explore the many amazing accomplishments, achievements and contributions of career and technical education professionals, students and alumni.

For example, nearly 94 percent of North Carolina’s CTE Concentrators in the 2013 graduation cohort graduated from high school within four years, according to data submitted to the U.S. Education Department as part of the 2013 NC CTE Consolidated Annual Report (CAR). Concentrators are students who earn four or more credits in a Career Cluster, at least one of which is in a second-level course. Other report highlights found that -

82.6 percent of NC secondary CTE participants in 2012-13 met technical attainment standards, which for the first time included earning industry credentials as well as performance on standardized CTE assessments. -

81.5 percent of concentrators met the standard for mathematics proficiency in the year they counted in ESEA high school accountability, an increase of 12.8 percent over the performance of the previous year’s concentrators.

Overall, NC secondary CTE met or exceeded the federally negotiated targets on seven of the performance indicators reported in the CAR and counted as met on the eighth because performance fell within an acceptable range. LEA results are available on the Local Planning System (, login with username=guest and password=guest, then click on the LEA map to select any district in NC).

Third Annual National Digital Learning Day a Success

North Carolina joined tens of thousands of educators and millions of students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to celebrate the third annual Digital Learning Day on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Spearheaded by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Digital Learning Day recognizes innovative teaching and common sense, effective applications of education technology that support teachers, improve learning, and help students achieve at their highest potential.

In addition, thousands of state and local events were held throughout the country, including the more than 1,000 local events that educators added to the Digital Learning Day website. North Carolina was 2ndfor the number of events posted on the Celebration Map( By selecting NC on the map, you can scroll to see all the events posted.

Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, said “Digital Learning Day was created to provide all educators—from those who are technology averse to the technology rock stars—with the support and guidance they need to feel comfortable using different types of technology to improve learning in their classrooms.”

In addition to the local events, Digital Learning Day included a national showcase event and virtual conference that was broadcast live on the Internet from the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Also highlighted were key initiatives to bring broader adoption of technology into classrooms, including an urgent need to update the federal E-rate program.

Thank you to all educators for helping make North Carolina a top participant this year!

Finance Officers' Newsletter Online

The Feb. 7 edition of the Finance Officers’ newsletter is online and contains the following items: Reminder: Impact Aid Applications for Fiscal years 2014 and 2015, Stop Arm Violation Cameras, Replacement School Buses and Panic Alarm Grants. To read more, please go to the NCDPI's Financial and Business Services Web site at and click on Resources, then Newsletters.