MESSAGES 2014 :: APRIL 14, 2014

APRIL 14, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Apr. 14, 2014

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Earlier today, the NC Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force presented its report to the General Assembly calling on lawmakers to "significantly increase the salaries for entering teachers and those teachers who are most likely to leave the profession in North Carolina, i.e., teachers with less than 10 years of teacher experience." A second, long-term goal in the report is to increase salaries for all teachers while "modernizing North Carolina's educator compensation system to more closely align compensation with student outcomes and educator responsibilities." A finding of the report, which comes as no surprise to any of you, is that base pay matters to teachers. I am pleased that there is formal recognition about these fundamental issues of teacher compensation and North Carolina's ability to recruit, retain and reward teachers of a proper quality for our students. I encourage you to continue this conversation locally with your lawmakers. Your experiences in recruiting and retaining the teachers your schools need are powerful in shaping lawmakers' views.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

HB weekly update
(pdf, 219kb)

April 11, 2014
(doc, 73kb)

NCDPI Web Highlights April 11
(pdf, 84kb)

Opting in to Home Base
(doc, 586kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. Course for Credit Policy Revision
  2. Home Base Project Update Webinar Reminder
  3. New Home Base Weekly Technical Update Starts April 16
  4. Opting-in to Home Base Features in 2014-15
  5. Home Base PD System Launched April 15
  6. Governor's Teacher Network Reminder
  7. AP/IB Updates
  8. NC TWCS Window Closes Tonight
  9. Critical Incident Response Training Update
  10. Finance Officers' Newsletter Online
  11. CFNC Adds New Resource for High School Students
  12. Anson County High School Receives National Grant

Course for Credit Policy Revision

Revisions to the Course for Credit policy (GCS-M-001) were presented to the SBE at their April meeting and will go before the SBE for action at the May board meeting. The policy revision provides districts with more flexibility in course scheduling by removing specific reference to the number of hours of seat time for a course for credit. Local school superintendents will continue to ensure that courses have sufficient rigor, breadth and depth to be awarded high school credit. In the policy revision, middle school students taking a high school course for credit are subject to the same requirements as high school students taking the same course for credit. Thus if a middle school student taking a high school course for credit passes the course but fails the EOC, the student may still receive credit for the course. Finally, the policy provides clarity in GPA calculations for courses repeated for credit. When a student repeats a failed course for credit, the grade made in the repeated course replaces the student's previous grade in GPA calculations. For more information, please contact Robin McCoy at

Home Base Project Update Webinar Reminder

Superintendents are reminded that the next Home Base Project Update Webinar will be held tomorrow, April 15, from 11 a.m.-noon. To register, please visit

New Home Base Weekly Technical Update Starts April 16

The Home Base team will begin hosting a new weekly webinar that focuses on the technical side of Home Base. The first Home Base Technical Update will be held the Wednesday, April 16, at noon; however, subsequent updates will be held on Tuesdays at noon, and will follow the already established Home Base Weekly Project Status Webinar (held Tuesday from 11 a.m.-noon). The technical update webinar will provide more details to users on technical issue resolutions, data imports, new page and functionality implementations, state reporting and timelines. Targeted audiences are NC SIS coordinators and data managers. Registration details will be sent when finalized.

Opting-in to Home Base Features in 2014-15

Beginning next school year, some components of Home Base will continue to be available to all districts and charter schools at no additional cost. These include PowerSchool, TestNav, Educator Evaluation and state-level professional development. If your district or school wishes to continue to have access to the remaining components of Home Base, you will need to opt-in at a cost. An information sheet on how to opt-in to certain Home Base features in 2014-15 is attached.

Home Base PD System Launched April 15

On Tuesday, educators will be able to access the Home Base professional development catalog by clicking on the Professional Development tab inside the Educator Evaluation tool. The catalog contains an initial collection of professional learning experiences, which includes existing online modules previously accessed through NC Education. This catalog will continue to grow as new learning opportunities are added, so you will want to check back often. Several new modules will upload June 30.

Governor's Teacher Network Reminder

he Governor's Teacher Network provides a great opportunity for strong teacher leaders to get rewarded for creating quality resources. Teachers may apply to serve for one year as content experts for North Carolina's Race to the Top initiatives. Their work will focus on providing instructional resources and professional development activities that will populate Home Base, a suite of web-based technology tools designed to elevate teaching. The state has established Home Base as part of the READY initiative, a comprehensive effort to remodel the state system of public schools to better prepare students for college and careers. Your curriculum leaders and principals can help identify these teachers. Please encourage your master teachers to apply as our most qualified educators are needed to develop these high quality resources. Approximately 450 outstanding teachers from across the state will be selected based on a rigorous application process that includes project proposals. Applications are due April 21. Details, including application steps, are available online at

AP/IB Updates

NC Advanced Placement Partnership (NCAPP). The NCDPI has entered into an official partnership and contract with the College Board to broaden successful participation in advanced courses. The NCAPP is a direct result of legislation from summer 2013. DPI will be officially announcing this partnership in June, but the work is beginning now.

Immediately, the NCAPP will be providing scholarships to some teachers for summer AP professional development. More details on this opportunity will be coming next week. As 2014-15 continues, NCAPP will be supporting school districts with local professional development as well as technical assistance to develop AP programs.

Please note that while NCAPP will begin communicating opportunities directly with AP district contacts to ensure effective implementation, the NCDPI will be working directly with the NCAPP to ensure that the work is connected to our state work and that we are all on the same page. Please see NCAPP as an extension of the NCDPI and part of our team. All local districts have been asked to verify your current AP contact through the AP/IB, AIG and CI listserves. It is critical that the NCDPI has the most accurate contact information for AP/IB. Funding Update. All AP/IB test fees for eligible low-income students are covered.

For this year's AP and IB exams, all fees for eligible low-income students will be covered through the College Board and the NCDPI. Please make appropriate adjustments and inform your students/families as soon as possible. We do not want any eligible low-income students to not take an AP/IB exam because of funding issues.

"Application to Participate" in the USED grant and receive funds are due to the NCDPI by COB April 23. This information has been sent through all AP/IB and CI listserves. Only school districts that apply for funding will receive support for their eligible low-income students. For more information, please contact Sneha Shah-Coltrane at

NC TWCS Window Closes Tonight

Thanks to the more than 92,000 educators who have already taken the 2014 NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey. The 2014 survey window was extended to 11 p.m. tonight to allow even more teachers and administrators to give their feedback. Survey results will be available in mid-May. For more information, please visit

Critical Incident Response Training Update

The NCDPI's Safe and Healthy Schools Division and the Department of Public Safety collaborated to provide Critical Incident Response training to local districts and charter schools. The trainings were held April 7 in Winston-Salem, April 9 in Enka, and April 10 in Kinston. A Train-the-Trainer model was used to provide training to 236 school administrators, charter school administrators and school resource officers. A new training module, inclusive of the previous module, was developed based on best practices. The trainers who completed the training will now return to their respective school districts and provide training to their local schools. In addition, plans are being developed with the Department of Public Safety to hold another series of the trainings in early August for those who were not available to attend. Details will be sent as soon as the plans are finalized.

Finance Officers' Newsletter Online

The April 11 edition of the Finance Officers' newsletter is online and contains the following items: Policy Clarification Pertaining to Capital Projects and MSA & Cash Management 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.

CFNC Adds New Resource for High School Students

College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) has added another free career and college access information service for high schools and students: a video called "Let Me Tell You" or LMTY for short. State Superintendent June Atkinson previews LMTY online at under Highlights. With the addition of the LMTY video platform, CFNC now offers more than 3,000 short videos on topics such as choosing the right high school courses for college, the college application process, financial aid, experiences of first-generation students, choosing a major, participating in college athletics and much more. With LMTY, schools can now deliver "blended counseling." Please make sure your high school principals and school counselors are aware of this resource, available online at, so they can inform students and parents.

Anson County High School Receives National Grant

Congratulations to Anson County Schools and, in particular, Anson High School, for being awarded the federal Youth Career/Connect Grant from the Department of Labor. The $2.24 million grant will be used over a four-year period to establish a STEM CareerConnect Academy at Anson High School. The academy will focus students on STEM careers in Pre-Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology and Pre-Med/Biomedical Science. In addition to high school credits, students will have the opportunity to earn selected college credits and career credentials. Anson County High was one of 24 recipients nationwide to receive the award.