MESSAGES 2014 :: APRIL 28, 2014

APRIL 28, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Apr. 28, 2014

Last week's draft legislation regarding the Common Core and my message in response have prompted a few of you to respond to me with your own observations about the content standards that are now in our Standard Course of Study. The standards are simply statements of what students should know and be able to do in all of our subject areas with math and English language arts based on the Common Core. I hope that you will share your views about the Common Core State Standards with your lawmakers and your community.

As education leaders, I hope you will join me in reminding your constituents that the new standards were adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010, that nearly $22 million in state funds and $44 million in local funds from the Race to the Top grant have been spent on professional development to prepare teachers to help students reach these new standards.

The State Board of Education's policy reflects a five-year cycle of review for the Standard Course of Study, which is an orderly and reasonable pace for revisions. Teachers should not have to wonder from one year to the next about the standards their students are expected to reach. That is why we began work in 2008-09 on the standards reform effort that resulted in Common Core adoption and Essential Standards development and adoption. That was a full five years before teachers were expected to implement these in the classroom. I am concerned that any change in standards over the next three years will only add to the pile of uncertainty teachers are facing.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

April 25, 2014
(doc, 75kb)

HB Update
(pdf, 426kb)

(pdf, 122kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meets This Week
  2. Summer Institutes 2014: Sustaining Success
  3. READY IV Info Online
  4. National Board Certification Window Open
  5. ELA/Mathematics Overview Focused on Parent Understanding
  6. Better Buildings Summit

State Board of Education Meets This Week

The State Board of Education will meet this Wednesday and Thursday, April 30-May 1, in the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, Raleigh. Action items include various charter requests, LEA and charter requests for Standard Six flexibility, and Course for Credit policy revision recommendations. Discussion items include the process for awarding new teacher contracts for the Early Learning Sensory Support program, AP/IB courses satisfying graduation requirements, and an update on Grade Point Average calculation. Members also will receive special presentations on the Digital Learning Assessment Plan, NC Center for the Advanced of Teaching, and implementation of the State Board's Healthy Active Children Policy. The complete agenda as well as supporting executive summaries are available online at The meeting is audio streamed for those who cannot attend. To listen in, please visit the above link and click on the live audio streams link to the right.

Summer Institutes 2014: Sustaining Success

Summer is only two months away, and after four years, we all know what that means: Summer Institutes! Summer Institutes 2014 will once again be held in all eight regions of the state. Regions 1, 2, 5 and 7 will experience this myriad of professional development experiences simultaneously on July 7-8, while Regions 3, 4, 6 and 8 will participate simultaneously on July 9-10. This year's theme is "Sustaining Success: Building on Achievement," and the overarching goal 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.
Important dates to note:
- April 15-May 15: Participant Registration (registration is occurring through your district/charter's Home Base PD tool. Visit and click on the Registration link at the bottom of the page.
- May 1-15: Presenter and Volunteer Registration (this link will soon be posted on the Summer Institutes web page at

For more information, please contact Cynthia Martin at

READY IV Info Online

The fourth round of READY Regional Outreach Meetings wrapped up earlier this month, and we want to thank the hundreds of superintendents and central office administrators who attended. The purpose of these meetings was to provide updates on the priority activities of the READY initiative work and a look toward the future after the RttT grant is completed. Key topics for these meetings were Home Base (where we are to date, what it means to opt-in), educator effectiveness and the General Assembly's A-F Accountability Model (reported for first time in fall 2014).

National Board Certification Window Open

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards application window for 2014-15 is now open. The state offers a low-cost loan program for eligible candidates. The certification process also has been revised to make the process more flexible and efficient for teachers. Please visit for details. Questions may be directed to Sonja Brown at or 919.807.3358.

ELA/Mathematics Overview Focused on Parent Understanding

The NCDPI has published "English Language Arts and Mathematics in North Carolina Public Schools: An Overview for Parents." This publication outlines the new standards in the state's public schools and delineates what children should know and be able to do at various grade levels. The overview also provides examples of standards at every grade level, K-12. Visit and click on the appropriate link under Highlights to view this helpful guide.

Better Buildings Summit

The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) is holding its Better Buildings Summit May 7-9 in Washington, D.C., to catalyze investment in energy efficiency across all public and private sectors. Scholarships are now available (two per organization) to cover the cost of the registration fee for representatives who do not have the available administrative funds or an existing grant agreement with DOE. Please use the promotional code "PUBLICSCHOL" to request a registration scholarship. Once you complete the registration process, you will be notified within two business days whether your scholarship has been approved. To register or for additional conference information, please visit Be sure to register prior to April 30.