MESSAGES 2014 :: APRIL 7, 2014

APRIL 7, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Apr. 7, 2014

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The US Department of Education is visiting the NCDPI this week to review our work to date with Race to the Top funding and the initiatives we have underway. Each year since we received the federal grant, the USED representatives have visited our state to review first hand how the department is using the funds to meet the project goals of Race to the Top and of our state's Detailed Scope of Work. As a part of that visit, these federal representatives also visit local school districts to speak with superintendents and other staff about their experiences with this grant and our work. If your district is one that will be visited or that has been visited in the past, thank you for welcoming these visitors and for being candid about how Race to the Top has affected your schools and district. One of the strengths of this grant is in the oversight component.

Also, at the State Board meeting last week, a proposed revision to the Course for Credit Policy was discussed. Please read that proposal, which is available online at / (scroll down to GCS 2, click on the Course for Credit agenda item and then the attachments), and give us your feedback.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

Capital Project Procedures
(doc, 26kb)

April 3
(doc, 67kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Home Base Project Update Webinar Reminder
  3. Policy Clarification Pertaining to Capital Projects
  4. TWC Survey Deadline Extended to April 14
  5. NCDPI Requests ESEA Flexibility Extension
  6. French Film Director Looks at MGSD 1:1 Digital Initiative
  7. CMS Teacher Named 2014-15 Burroughs Wellcome North Carolina Teacher of the Year Named
  8. Superintendent's Art Showing Scheduled for Friday
  9. Finance Officers' Newsletter Online

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

During the Board's meeting last week on the campus of UNC-Pembroke, State Board of Education members participated in two days of planning sessions during which they finalized their Strategic Plan. This plan, which is available online at /, reflects input from superintendents across the state and will guide the work of the Board and the Department of Public Instruction in the coming years. At their formal meeting on Wednesday, Board members accepted the Report to the North Carolina General Assembly on the Virtual Charter School Study. This report will now be presented to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee. State Board members also approved the Report to the General Assembly on the Public School Procurement of Information Technology and the State Advisory Council on Indian Education's annual report. Requests from four school districts and two charter schools for flexibility around Standard Six also were approved along with amendments to the Corporal Pruitt Rainey Brass-to-Class Act. Board members also received the 2012-13 Consolidated Data Report containing data on School Crime and Violence, Suspensions and Expulsions, the Use of Corporal Punishment and the Dropout Rate and continued to discuss changes to the Course for Credit policy (GCS—M-001).

Home Base Project Update Webinar Reminder

Superintendents are reminded that the next Home Base Project Update Webinar will be held tomorrow, April 8, from 11 a.m.-noon. To register, please visit

Policy Clarification Pertaining to Capital Projects

Please review the attached document regarding G.S. 115C-521(c) as it relates to the submission of plans to the NCDPI for review before investing any money in a capital project. If you have any questions, please contact Ken Phelps at

TWC Survey Deadline Extended to April 14

As a result of the numerous inquiries and interest from across the state to extend the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey deadline because of the weather and its impact on school openings, staff have extended the deadline for this year's survey. The NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey will now remain open through 11 p.m., Monday, April 14.

NCDPI Requests ESEA Flexibility Extension

Notice is hereby given that the NCDPI will submit a request to the US Department of Education to extend North Carolina's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility so that the state can continue to implement ESEA flexibility through the end of the 2014-15 school year. As part of the extension process, North Carolina proposes to incorporate the following legislative and State Board of Education actions into its currently approved ESEA flexibility request: - Implement the A-F accountability model for grading schools (§ 115C-83.11. School performance scores and grades); - Apply academic achievement levels and descriptors as levels one through five for state end-of-grade/end-of-course assessments; - Delay participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) until at least 2016-17; and - Implement changes in the State Report Card. The state believes that the requested extension will provide educators and state and local leaders with continued flexibility regarding specific requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) in exchange for the state's rigorous and comprehensive plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity and improve the quality of instruction. This flexibility is intended to build on and support the significant state and local reform efforts already underway in critical areas such as transitioning to college- and career-ready standards and assessments; developing systems of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support; and evaluating and supporting teacher and principal effectiveness. The public is invited to review and comment on the extension of ESEA flexibility being requested by April 25. Interested persons may submit their written comments to the attention of Lou Fabrizio via email at or by US Mail to Lou Fabrizio, director of Data, Research & Federal Policy, NCDPI, 6367 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6367.

French Film Director Looks at MGSD 1:1 Digital Initiative

A French film crew visited three schools in the Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) for its Ed Tech Documentary to be aired on the Canal Pluse channel, which is similar to HBO. The film's director, Pascale Labout, said France's education system is looking at beginning a 1:1 digital initiative like MGSD. The one-hour documentary will highlight the MGSD's 1:1 digital initiative as well as Florida's virtual school and MIT's Massive Open Online Course classes as it showcases what schools are going to look like as more technology is embraced.

CMS Teacher Named 2014-15 Burroughs Wellcome North Carolina Teacher of the Year Named

Congratulations to James Ford, a World History teacher at Garinger High School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) who was recently named the 2014 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year. Ford succeeds Karyn Dickerson, an English teacher at Grimsley High School (Guilford County Schools). In receiving the honor, Ford said, "I am excited to use this stage to fulfill my life's work by doing just what I have been called to do - educate. My message to the general public is simple: It all begins with education. What we do every day may very well be the only profession every other profession is dependent upon." As Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Ford will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. Ford will receive a number of things including a one-year leased vehicle from Flow Automotive, LLC, a mobile device from Lenovo valued at approximately $1600, a one-time cash award of $7,500, the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment through the North Carolina Center for International Understanding, and a technology package valued at more than $11,000 from SMART Technologies. In addition, he will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two years and as a board member for the NC Public School Forum for one year.

Superintendent's Art Showing Scheduled for Friday

Superintendents are invited to attend the State Superintendent's Art Showing scheduled for this Friday, April 11, from 4-5:30 p.m., in the Lobby of the Education Building, 301 N. Wilmington Street, Raleigh. On display will be student artwork representing 110 of the state's 115 school districts. If you are in the Raleigh area, please stop by for this reception celebrating the creative achievements of North Carolina public school students. Students' artwork will be on permanent display in the Education Building.

Finance Officers' Newsletter Online

The April 4 edition of the Finance Officers' newsletter is online and contains the following items: School Bus Stop Arm Cameras, Cash Management and MSA Training (Charter Schools Only) and Cash Management and MSA Training (LEAs Only). To read more, please go to the NCDPI's Financial and Business Services Web site at and click on Resources, then Newsletters.