MESSAGES 2014 :: OCTOBER 13, 2014

OCTOBER 13, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Oct. 13, 2014

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On Friday, the State Board of Education's Task Force on Summative Assessments met for the first time to begin its work reviewing summative assessments in North Carolina and considering recommendations that it may choose to make to the State Board of Education (SBE) and the NC General Assembly (if needed). Cumberland Superintendent Frank Till and Bladen Superintendent Robert Taylor are the local school superintendent representatives on the task force. Task force members also include other local educators, representatives from community colleges and universities, business people and two SBE members. SBE Vice Chairman Buddy Collins is chairing the task force and SBE member Olivia Oxendine also is serving. The group's first agenda is online at by clicking on the SBE Meetings link in the top right corner and then selecting the Task Force on Summative Assessments option from the dropdown menu. Future meeting agendas and other details will be posted there.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

Oct. 9, 2014
(doc, 0kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. Read to Achieve Reminders
  2. Education Value Added Assessment System (EVAAS): New Online Module in PD System
  3. Register Now for OpenClass - Opt-in Training
  4. Apply Now for 2014 -15 Green Ribbon Schools Award
  5. Districts/Schools Encouraged to Participate in Earthquake Drill
  6. Finance Officers' Newsletter Online
  7. Fall Science Supervisors' Meeting Scheduled for Nov. 5

Read to Achieve Reminders

We would like to commend all K-3 teachers in the state for having a tremendous statewide benchmark of 97% completion rate in mClass Reading 3D (DIBELS and TRC). We are confident that the data from these assessments will help teachers plan instruction that aligns with the individual needs of students in their reading development. As we move forward with year two of the implementation of Read to Achieve, please remember the following important components of the legislation:

  • All third-grade students from last year (2013-14) who were non-proficient at the end of the summer should have been placed in one of three situations for the current year. Students could have been retained in third grade completing third-grade standards and curriculum or placed in a 3/4 transition class or 4th grade accelerated class (with a retained reading label in PowerSchool) completing fourth grade standards and curriculum.
  • Students in the transition or 4th grade accelerated classes should be receiving 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction daily. The students remain in these classes and receive these supports the entire fourth-grade year.
  • Before Nov. 1, students in the transition or 4th grade accelerated classes may show proficiency on third grade standards and have the retained reading label removed by completing a portfolio, passing the local alternative assessment, or passing the Read to Achieve state alternative test. After Nov. 1, House Bill 230 states "principals shall use the provisions under G.S. 115C-288(a) to grade and classify students demonstrating reading proficiency." Students may demonstrate reading proficiency on third-grade standards by passing a local alternative assessment or by completing a portfolio. If students show proficiency by local alternative or a completed portfolio any time during the fourth grade year after Nov. 1, then the principal may have the label removed. Documentation of how the student achieved proficiency of third grade standards should be included in their cumulative records.

We will be collecting data throughout the year through the K-3 Literacy Division and through an outside evaluation conducted by the SERVE Center at UNC Greensboro on instructional strategies from reading camps and in the transitional and accelerated classes. The results of these observations should help inform best practices that can be shared across the state. ​ If you have any questions, please contact K-3 Literacy Director Carolyn Guthrie at or 919.807.3762.

Education Value Added Assessment System (EVAAS): New Online Module in PD System

The new mini-module "EVAAS Basics," available through Home Base to all North Carolina educators, explains the EVAAS growth model of evaluating teachers, including the differences between growth and efficiency, how projections and predictions are calculated and used, and how statistical concepts like normal curve equivalents and standard error contribute to making Standard 6 a fair assessment of teacher growth. This self-paced mini-module requires approximately two hours for completion. For more information, please contact any member of the Educator Effectiveness Instructional Design Team noted online at

Register Now for OpenClass - Opt-in Training

OpenClass, the Collaboration and Course Management Tool in Home Base, offers an online space in which students and teachers can have 24-hour access to their courses. It's a place for delivering multi-media assignments, creating collaborative spaces, uploading and downloading documents and giving descriptive feedback on student work. Each "campus" is set up at the LEA level, with all schools in a district being a part of that campus. One big benefit of this addition of OpenClass into the Home Base suite is the automatic roster sync between PowerSchool and OpenClass, while benefiting from the single sign on capability of Home Base. Since we are supporting set up at a district level based on interest, registration for training is limited to superintendents or their designees. Your designee or you can register for an upcoming training session at Note: A similar message has been sent to LEA curriculum and instruction leaders. For more information about OpenClass, you can find a recent webinar archived at

Apply Now for 2014 -15 Green Ribbon Schools Award

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) Green Ribbon Schools' award program for 2014-15 is now open. The award recognizes schools and districts from across the United States that excel in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and providing effective environmental and sustainability education that incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways. Three North Carolina schools have received this outstanding national award. LEAs or their principals should apply directly to the NCDPI. Up to four North Carolina schools can be nominated by the department and sent to the USED for national consideration. Additional information and applications are available online at under "Green Ribbon Schools." For more information, please contact Ron Collier at

Districts/Schools Encouraged to Participate in Earthquake Drill

Since February, the state has had four minor earthquakes – three in western North Carolina and one in Pamlico County. While all of these ranked less than a 3.0 on the Richter scale, they provide a reminder that all North Carolinians need to be ready for everything from ice and snow to flood and earthquakes. That is why North Carolina is joining six other states and the District of Columbia for the Great Southeast Shakeout. The third annual earthquake drill will be held this Thursday, Oct. 16, at 10:16 a.m. If this date and/or time do not work for your districts or schools, you may select another date/time as long as it is before Dec. 31. Schools need to be ready for any type of emergency. Practicing earthquake preparedness only takes a few minutes and can ultimately save lives. During the drill, participants practice "Drop, Cover and Hold On," the recommended procedure for what to do during an earthquake. Participation instructions are available online at You also will need to visit the above web site to register. By registering, please have your staff and students perform at least the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" drill on the designated date and time or by Dec. 31. If you have any questions, please contact Laura Leonard, NC Emergency Management, at 919.825.2599.

Finance Officers' Newsletter Online

The Oct. 10 edition of the Finance Officers' newsletter is online and contains the following items: Installment Collapse (LEAs Only), PRC 045 – Compensation Bonus (Legislated) – (LEAs Only), ABC Transfers. To read more, please go to the NCDPI's Financial and Business Services Web site at and click on Resources, then Newsletters.

Fall Science Supervisors' Meeting Scheduled for Nov. 5

NCDPI's 2014 Fall Science Supervisors' Meeting, "Thinking Outside the (Classroom) Box," will be held Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 8:30 a.m.-noon, at the Winston-Salem Marriott, 425 N. Cherry Street, Winston-Salem. Registration information will be forthcoming. Questions may be director to Ragan Spain at