MESSAGES 2014 :: APRIL 31, 2014

APRIL 31, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Apr. 31, 2014

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The State Board of Education will hold a planning meeting this week at UNC-Pembroke to complete work on its strategic plan and to have time for issues sessions and deeper conversation on several key topics. The process of strategic planning is extremely important as a guide for the NC Department of Public Instruction as we do our work to support Board initiatives and direction. Many of your districts also use the state strategic plan as your guide for a strong local district strategic plan. You can view the Board's draft plan at by clicking on SBE Meetings in the top right corner of the page and selecting the March 31 meeting date to view background materials. We will be publicizing the final plan once that work is complete.

During the Board's formal meeting, the annual Consolidated Data Report will be presented. This includes annual school crime and violence data, suspensions and expulsions, and annual dropout data. We will send you a preview copy of the news release that we are preparing about the statewide information on Tuesday so that you can prepare for the Wednesday public release.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

HB Weekly Update
(pdf, 262kb)

March 27
(doc, 63kb)

March 28 Web Highlights
(pdf, 76kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. April 1 Home Base Project Update Webinar Cancelled
  2. Licensure System Update
  3. Community Eligibility Provision Webinars Scheduled
  4. Professional Development System Update
  5. Principal READY Spring Initiative: Coaching Conversations a Success
  6. Finance Officers' Newsletter Online
  7. Two Middle Schools Named Schools to Watch®; Eight Achieve Re-Designation

April 1 Home Base Project Update Webinar Cancelled

Superintendents are reminded that there will be no Home Base Project Update Webinar on Tuesday, April 1, due to the State Board of Education planning meeting. The next Home Base Project Update will be held Tuesday, April 8, from 11 a.m.-noon. To register, please visit

Licensure System Update

NCDPI staff are on track to migrate our internal operations to the new Licensure system this Friday, April 4. We then will begin our final tests on the external system. We anticipate training to begin in April with several local education agencies also assisting with testing the external system.

It was our expectation that we would have already migrated to the new system (at least as far as our internal operations). User Acceptance Testing however, discovered some problems with how experience is calculated. Also, we needed to ensure that "Part-Year Experience" was being addressed by the new system. Both of the aforementioned discoveries required additional development from our vendor, Iron Data, to ensure we had correct data exchange between our Licensure System and our Salary System. These development efforts spanned both our data extract file and the graphical user interface. These unanticipated delays interfered with our plans to have the new system available to both our internal operations and external user community. Rather than requiring districts and charters to undergo training and begin using the new system during the hectic end of the school year, we will continue to utilize the current system and processes for the foreseeable future. That way, you will have ample opportunity to become accustomed to the new system before we discontinue the old.

Our Licensure Division will present further detail at the PANC conference next week.

Community Eligibility Provision Webinars Scheduled

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act created a new initiative designed to promote participation in the school breakfast and lunch programs called the "Community Eligibility Provision" or CEP. The CEP provides an alternative to collecting, approving and verifying household eligibility applications for free and reduced-price eligible students in high poverty LEAs for schools that participate in both the school breakfast and lunch programs. Once approved, the provision enables eligible LEAs/schools to provide breakfast and lunch to all students at no cost. For a LEA or school to be eligible to participate in the CEP for the 2014-15 school year, the LEA/school must have one or more schools with an "identified student percentage" or ISP of 40 percent or greater as of April 1. The attached fact sheet provides additional details about the CEP.

The NCDPI Child Nutrition Services Section will host two webinars next week to review the CEP and the potential impact of the provision on the school nutrition program and other programs that have traditionally relied upon individual students' meal eligibility status to create the economically disadvantaged subgroup. The webinars are open to superintendents and school business officials.

Wednesday, April 2 (3-4:30 pm)

Friday, April 4 (3-4:30 pm)

For questions about the CEP, please contact the Child Nutrition Services Section at 919.807.3506 or email Lynn Harvey at or Janet Johnson at

Professional Development System Update

DPI staff are in the final stages of preparation for the official launch of the new Home Base Professional Development tool. You may have already noticed the addition of the professional development tab inside the Educator Effectiveness online tool. Many of you have taken advantage of the face-to-face overview training dates included on the Regional Education Services Alliances' partnership calendars. On April 15, the professional development catalog will go live enabling educators to sign up for available professional development modules. The catalog will continue to grow as new learning opportunities are added. Additional information about navigating the professional development system will be available on the regional wikis managed by the professional development leads. These wikis may be accessed at Regional wikis are located on the bottom right portion of the menu page. You also may listen to a recording from the Professional Development System Overview webinar at Questions about the professional development system may be directed to your regional professional development leads.

Principal READY Spring Initiative: Coaching Conversations a Success

Regional professional development sessions for principals were held in all eight regions of the state, concluding March 26. With the support of a grant from the national Cross-State Learning Collaborative, DPI staff were able to invite all principals to these sessions. Interactive sessions included video discussions, ratings activities, data studies and experiences providing specific and constructive feedback to teachers. Resources and tools for interactive staff meetings were shared to maximize the time leaders spend with teachers for continuous improvement. Feedback from these sessions indicates principals learned a great deal through these interactive activities with their peers and request this type of professional development to continue next year. Department staff will explore options in the coming months that would support continuation of this type of professional development. For more information, please contact Lynne Johnson at

Finance Officers' Newsletter Online

The March 28 edition of the Finance Officers' newsletter is online and contains the following items: Students Attending School Outside Their Administrative Unit, FY 2014-15 Allotted ADM, and Webinars Scheduled – The Community Eligibility Provision is Coming to NC. To read more, please go to the NCDPI's Financial and Business Services Web site at and click on Resources, then Newsletters.

Two Middle Schools Named Schools to Watch®; Eight Achieve Re-Designation

Congratulations to Charles W. Stanford Middle (Orange County Schools) and Mount Airy Middle (Mount Airy City Schools) for recently being named Schools to Watch® by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform in recognition of their emphasis on strong academics, sensitivity to young adolescents' needs and interests, and commitment to equal access to a high-quality education for every student. Their selection brings the total number of North Carolina middle schools recognized as Schools to Watch® to 45. In addition, eight schools achieved re-designation as Schools to Watch®: Piedmont Middle IB (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) and McGee's Crossroads Middle (Johnston County Schools) earned their first re-designation. Kernodle Middle (Guilford County Schools), Rogers-Herr Middle (Durham Public Schools) and West Pine Middle (Moore County Schools) were re-designated for a second time. Carmel Middle (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools), East Yancey Middle (Yancey County Schools), and Jay M. Robinson Middle (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) – first recognized nine years ago – were re-designated for a third time.