SUPERINTENDENTS' MESSAGES 2014

MESSAGES 2014 :: AUGUST 11, 2014

AUGUST 11, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Aug. 11, 2014

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As we near the beginning of the traditional school year, I hope you will join me in reminding motorists in your communities to follow the law when it comes to stopped school buses. In the past two years, North Carolina has had five student fatalities – all involving students getting on or off the bus and none involving students who were already on the bus itself. Motorists who are distracted by their cell phones and other activities can fail to stop for buses and students boarding or exiting the bus. This year, thanks to a grant, every school district has at least two school buses with stop arm cameras installed, and motorists who pass a stopped school bus will be photographed by these cameras for proper legal followup. On Aug. 21, the NC Department of Public Instruction is holding a news media event here in Wake County to highlight the stop arm cameras and bus safety. We will send you the materials for this event, and I encourage you to underscore this message with your students, parents and communities. Student safety is a primary goal for us each year, and that begins with bus safety.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent


August 8, 2014
(doc, 71kb)

HB Update
(pdf, 325kb)


In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Panic Alarm Grants
  3. Fall 2014: Facilitated Online Professional Development Courses in Home Base
  4. New Professional Development MOOClet: Effective Digital Strategies for Teaching and Learning in the K-12 Classroom
  5. State Advisory Council on Indian Education Meets Thursday
  6. Finance Officers' Newsletters Online
  7. Register Now for Bridging the Gap STEM Education Conference


State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

In their August meeting held last week in Raleigh, members of the State Board of Education approved changes to weighting for AP, IB, College and Honors courses. Under the new policy, students will receive 5 quality points for earning an 'A' in AP, IB and college courses, including dual enrollment and North Carolina community college transfer courses from the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement. Students will receive 4.5 quality points for earning an 'A' in honors courses and 4 quality points for A's earned in standard courses. The changes in course weighting will be implemented starting with the freshman class entering the 9th grade in the 2015-16 school year and it will be phased in over the course of four years. Board members also approved Race to the Top Evaluation Reports that focused on NCVPS blended learning STEM courses, Regional Leadership Academies and performance incentives as well as a report to the General Assembly that covered care for students with diabetes in districts and charter schools. Other items that received Board approval included a one-year delay for Carolina STEM Academy in Mecklenburg County, 68 recipients for Twenty-First Century Community Learning Center Grants and one new member of the State Advisory Council on Indian Education.


Panic Alarm Grants

The next deadline to request a Panic Alarm Grant is Sept. 10. The last deadline for grants is Dec. 1. As noted in legislation, every school is required to have a panic alarm system by July 1, 2015. Visit schoolclearinghouse.org for additional information or contact Jonathan Jones with NCDPI School Planning at jonathan.jones@dpi.nc.gov or 919/807-3556 for additional information.


Fall 2014: Facilitated Online Professional Development Courses in Home Base

In our continuing effort to provide online professional development that is flexible and meets the varied need of teachers across the state, the NCDPI Educator Effectiveness Division is now offering several facilitated courses along with our self-paced modules. These courses are FREE in the PD system (in Home Base) and are facilitated by DPI's Educator Effectiveness staff. The courses are completed entirely online and participants are expected to meet all weekly deadlines in order to receive CEUs. Partial credit will not be given so we recommend educators accordingly. Registration is limited to 35 participants per section and is now open. The following courses begin Monday, Sept. 8:

  • Introduction to Data Literacy
  • Responsibilities of the 21st Century Educator
  • Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects: Part I
  • NC Professional Teaching Standards
  • Connecting with our 21st Century Learners
  • Digital Literacies in the K-12 Classroom (Self Paced)
  • Building and Sustaining Professional Development To learn more about each course, follow the instructions for logging into TNL to self-register for an online course.
  • Log in to the NCEES system using your usual PowerSchool login or the alternate log in at https://ncees.homebase.ncpublicschools.gov/alternateLogin.html.
  • Click the Professional Development tab.
  • Search for the course or list all opportunities to find the course you wish to register for.
  • Notice the course screen and click on the desired section.
  • Click the register button.

Directions also are available at https://ncees.homebase.ncpublicschools.gov/content/Searching%20and%20Registering%20for%20Courses.mp4. There will be additional courses starting in October. Contact Beth Williams at beth.williams@dpi.nc.gov if you have any questions regarding registration.


New Professional Development MOOClet: Effective Digital Strategies for Teaching and Learning in the K-12 Classroom

Registration is now open for the MOOClet [Massive Open Online Course; Limited Educational Trajectory]. Sept. 8 is the start date and the class will run for six weeks (20 hours). This course focuses on using digital tools and strategies to support teaching and learning. It will enrich individuals' knowledge through developing subject area/grade level communities of practice across the state. Participants will examine the 4Cs – Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration – the keystones for the 21st century classroom through collaboration. This course is intended for K-12 classroom teachers and other interested instructional personnel.

How is this DPI MOOClet like a MOOC?

  • Learner-centered, focusing on participants' professional needs in different disciplines and grade levels.
  • Participants are creators of content as much as they are "consumers" of content.
  • Extensive peer-to-peer communication.
  • Larger number of students than a typical facilitator-led course.
  • Starts and ends on fixed dates; participants are in a cohort and stay on schedule with weekly assigned readings and assignments.

How is this DPI MOOClet different from most MOOCs?

  • Enrollment is not open to all; only North Carolina educators (150–200 participants).
  • Facilitator presence; MOOCs can be overwhelming, requiring a high degree of learner independence.
  • Participants will complete all assigned activities; with plenty of choices and alternate options.
  • CEUs awarded for completion of the professional development MOOClet requirements.

Who should participate?

Active, collaborative learners who are self-driven, motivated, flexible and enjoy sharing information and resources! Be courageous and try something new and different. To register:

  • Log in to the NCEES system using your usual PowerSchool login or the alternate log in at https://ncees.homebase.ncpublicschools.gov/alternateLogin.html.
  • Click the Professional Development tab.
  • Search for the course or list all opportunities to find the course you wish to register for.
  • Notice the course screen and click on the desired section.
  • Click the register button.

Directions also are available at https://ncees.homebase.ncpublicschools.gov/content/Searching%20and%20Registering%20for%20Courses.mp4. Two CEUs will be awarded. Please note that there is a limit of 200 registrants. Contact Beth Williams at beth.williams@dpi.nc.gov if you have any questions regarding registration.


State Advisory Council on Indian Education Meets Thursday

The State Advisory Council on Indian Education will hold its Quarterly Meeting this Thursday, Aug. 14, from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., in Room 504, Education Building, Raleigh. Agenda items include the Council's roles and responsibilities, a review of bylaws, membership endorsements and various updates. The full agenda is available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/americanindianed/advisory/meetings.


Finance Officers' Newsletters Online

The Aug. 6 and 8 editions of the Finance Officers' newsletter are online and contain the following items: Longevity Payments and PRC 030 Funds (Aug. 6 edition); and 2014-15 Salary Schedules, FY 2014 – 13th Month MFR File – Reminder (LEAs) and Federal Overspent Programs (LEAs) (Aug. 8 edition). To read more, please go to the NCDPI's Financial and Business Services Web site at www.ncpublicschools.org/fbs and click on Resources, then Newsletters.


Register Now for Bridging the Gap STEM Education Conference

As you start planning for the new school year, NCDPI staff wanted to make sure you're aware of an important upcoming conference and how it can benefit educators from your districts and schools. The 3rd annual Bridging the Gap STEM education conference, "Uniting North Carolina K-16 STEM Education," will be held Oct. 28-29 in Raleigh. It will feature more than 80 presentations from nearly 150 presenters who represent all corners of the STEM education community: K-12, higher education, industry, state government, and other STEM groups like museums and nonprofits. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the conference will feature a special opportunity for schools to apply for funding to support K-12 STEM education programs and resources. To register, please http://bridgingthegapnc.com/. For every three registrations purchased as part of a single order, districts or schools will receive an additional registration for free.