MESSAGES 2014 :: FEBRUARY 17, 2014

FEBRUARY 17, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Feb. 17, 2014

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This year's weather patterns have been unpredictable and surprising with nearly all 100 counties being affected twice by winter snow and ice over the past three weeks. As a reminder as your district seeks ways to ensure adequate instructional time in your calendar, the current public school calendar law requires instructional time totaling 185 days or 1,025 hours. For many of you, 1,025 hours is less instructional time than you have scheduled even during the years of 180-day school calendar. You can see general information about school calendars at and the public school law governing calendars at While there was once a time, prior to 1998-99, when the State Board of Education had authority to provide local districts with additional flexibility under certain circumstances, that was removed in 1998-99. The changes that have occurred since then added five instructional days and changed total requirements to 185 days or 1,025 hours. There has been no increased authority allowing the State Board of Education to waive days.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

HB Weekly Update
(pdf, 281kb)

Feb. 13, 2014
(doc, 74kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. Summer Institutes 2014: Sustaining Success
  2. Driver Education Advisory Committee to Meet
  3. Virtual Charter School Study External Working Group to Meet
  4. Green Ribbon Schools Recognized
  5. Transformed Model Performance Indicators for ELL
  6. Support Materials for the World Language Essential Standards
  7. Jay Robinson Leadership Award Reminder

Summer Institutes 2014: Sustaining Success

Summer is only four months away! And after four years, we all know what that means: Summer Institutes 2014 will once again be held in all eight regions across the state. Regions 1, 2, 5 and 7 will meet simultaneously on July 7-8, while Regions 3, 4, 6 and 8 will meet simultaneously July 9-10.

This year’s theme is “Sustaining Success: Building on Achievement,” and we aim to do just that for educators from across the state. The overarching goal of the 2014 Summer Institutes is to provide educators with meaningful professional development that will take them to the next level in READY implementation (Common Core, New Assessments, Educator Effectiveness, Home Base and more). We will accomplish this by:

  • strengthening relationships among local school districts as they continue to plan and execute specific activities and initiatives around Race to the Top work;
  • assisting local school districts in assessing progress with their PD plans; pinpointing challenges that remain; and refining goals that will keep them moving forward in this effort;
  • identifying how the NCDPI can provide resources to address the needs of local school districts in taking the lead and crafting their plans for sustainability as Year 5 of RttT approaches; and
  • effectively capturing and sharing new knowledge derived from best practices among colleagues statewide.

Registration opens on April 1, but we invite our partners across the state to mark their calendars now! Also, we are asking for proposals from those who would like to present. The application for this, along with more information and a new video, is available at the Summer Institutes website, more information, please contact Cynthia Martin at

Driver Education Advisory Committee to Meet

The Driver Education Advisory Committee will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 18, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, Raleigh. Members will discuss updates to driver education policies, driver education salary ranges and instructor qualifications.

Virtual Charter School Study External Working Group to Meet

The State Board of Education’s Virtual Charter School Study External Working Group will meet this Friday, Feb. 21, from 9 a.m. – noon, in the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, Raleigh. Agenda items include discussion of application and quality control requirements, access, academic expectations and funding. The meeting will be audio streamed for those who cannot attend. To listen in, please visit and click on the live audio streams link to the right.

Green Ribbon Schools Recognized

Congratulations to Exploris Middle School (Wake County) and Nash-Rocky Mount Schools for recently being selected as Green Ribbon Schools by the NCDPI. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan started the Green Ribbon Schools Recognition Award program in 2011 to recognize schools and districts from across the country for exemplary achievement in the reduction of environmental impact and costs; student and staff health; and a strong environmental education program. Exploris Middle School and Nash-Rocky Mount Schools will represent North Carolina in the national competition. National award recipients will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in July.

Transformed Model Performance Indicators for ELL

The Common Core State Standards call for teachers to simultaneously provide academically rigorous content instruction while promoting English language development. In order to support NC content and ELL educators in this endeavor, NCDPI Title III/ESL staff have formed the "Common Core and ELL Collaborative Task Force." This task force has worked over the course of the last year to create and write transformed Model Performance Indicators (MPIs) based on ELA Common Core Standards (Reading for Literature and Reading for Informational Text) and WIDA Standards (Grades 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9-10, and 11-12). Staff are planning to release these resources to the field by the end of February. The original writers, reviewers and editors will conduct a series of webinar sessions to go through the development process and to provide some suggestions on how to utilize these resources. For more information, please contact Nadja Trez at

Support Materials for the World Language Essential Standards

NCDPI’s World Languages Collaborative Team is in the process of crafting additional tools for teachers and administrators to use as they implement the World Language Essential Standards.  Recently, a set of proficiency outcome posters were posted to the World Language wiki at, which can be used in classrooms or in communication with stakeholders to illustrate what students will be able to do with the language being learned once they complete a course. This spring, a set of Administrator Briefings are being drafted, which will include a short overview of a World Language program paired with an observation form aligned to the NCEES standards. For more information, please contact Ann Marie Gunter at

Jay Robinson Leadership Award Reminder

Just a quick reminder that March 3 is the deadline to submit nominations for the Jay Robinson Leadership Award.  To nominate an educator or a leader in recognition of their contributions to public education, please visit