SUPERINTENDENTS' MESSAGES 2014

MESSAGES 2014 :: NOVEMBER 3, 2014

NOVEMBER 3, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Nov. 3, 2014

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This week the State Board of Education will receive the annual report describing teacher turnover patterns through March of the 2013-14 school year. This report receives heightened scrutiny along with widespread concerns about teacher pay, teacher satisfaction and staffing shortages in some specialties and regions. While the turnover rate improved slightly in 2013-14, more than 5,000 teachers left because of dissatisfaction with teaching, to teach in another state, to change careers or to retire early with reduced benefits. Lawmakers did begin work this year to address the concerns of low teacher pay, but we still have much work to do to give teachers respect for their work and the key role they play for our state's future. I also want to point out that the report listed 1,123 teachers who left because they were terminated, resigned in lieu of non-renewal or dismissal, did not obtain/maintain their license or were not rehired at the end of their probationary contract. While this is a small percentage of all teachers in North Carolina, it does show that school districts do dismiss teachers who are poor performers or for whom teaching is not the best professional fit.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent


Oct. 30 HB-RttT Biweekly Message
(pdf, 528kb)


In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meets This Week
  2. Special Committee on Global Education to Meet
  3. EVAAS Briefing Scheduled
  4. School Counselor Role
  5. Home Base (Schoolnet) Instructional Materials and Assessment Survey for Teachers
  6. New Mini-Module Released: What The Best NC Teachers Do
  7. Superintendent Vacancy Announced: Orange County Schools
  8. Governor Proclaims November American Indian Heritage Month
  9. National School Psychology Week Celebrated Next Week


State Board of Education Meets This Week

The State Board of Education will meet this Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 5-6, in the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, Raleigh. Action items include local options for measuring student growth for Career and Technical Education, requests for waivers from NC Final Exams, and the Board's 2015-17 Biennial Budget request. Discussion items include the Annual Report on Teachers Leaving the Profession, the accountability model for alternative schools, charter schools' process for the assumption of inadequately performing charter schools, and the cooperative innovative high school application. The complete agenda as well as supporting executive summaries are available online at stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/. The meeting is audio streamed for those who cannot attend. To listen, please visit the above link and click on the live audio streams link to the right.


Special Committee on Global Education to Meet

The State Board's Special Committee on Global Education will meet Thursday, Nov. 6, from 1:30-4 p.m., in the 7th Floor Board Lounge, Education Building, Raleigh. Agenda items include an update on the implementation guidance for the digital global education teacher badge and information on the global ready schools designation timeline. A discussion of the Global Schools Network and communication strategies surrounding global education activities will also be presented. For additional information, please contact Audrey Martin-McCoy at audrey.martinmccoy@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3402.


EVAAS Briefing Scheduled

At the request of some superintendents, NCDPI staff will hold an Educator Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) briefing on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 1:30-3 p.m., on the SAS Campus – 100 SAS Campus Drive, Cary. You must RSVP by 5 p.m., Nov. 4 in order to be cleared by SAS security. Once you RSVP, you will be provided with the exact location of the event as well as check-in procedures with security at the front gate of the SAS complex.

SAS personnel will join the briefing to provide an overview of EVAAS as the state growth model. The following items will be discussed:

  • how EVAAS became the state model for measuring student growth;
  • how EVAAS measures student growth and teacher effectiveness; and
  • the implications for districts, schools, and educators.

If you are unable to attend this briefing, additional EVAAS briefings will be scheduled in each of the eight regions where your staff members in Accountability and Testing, and Teacher Effectiveness also may attend. Please RSVP to Tom Tomberlin at Thomas.Tomberlin@dpi.nc.gov by 5 p.m., Nov. 4.


School Counselor Role

Since there seems to continue to be some confusion on the roles of school counselors in relation to G.S.§ 115C-316.1, staff wanted to revisit the information you received in the memo from Tracy Weeks, Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer, dated Oct. 2.

  • School counselors must spend at least 80 percent of their time providing direct counseling services, as listed in the law.
  • School counselors may not coordinate testing.
  • The remaining 20 percent of the school counselor's time is for counseling program management and system support, a portion of which may be used to assist others with testing.

It is expected that school counselors be team players and engage in fair-share responsibilities, the many things that are needed for all school staff to participate in order for a school to run smoothly, such as serving on a school committee, assisting with testing, etc. School counselors may assist with testing as any other teacher or staff member in order to support the testing program or the Testing Coordinator, which would be a portion of the remaining 20 percent.

The ultimate goal of the school counseling program is to support the school's academic mission through a comprehensive school counseling program. You can find additional clarification on the roles of school counselors in supporting your school's success in the North Carolina Professional School Counseling Standards and Job Description at www.ncpublicschools.org/studentsupport/counseling/standards/ on which the state school counselor evaluation rubric is based. If you need further clarification or assistance, please contact Cynthia Floyd at cynthia.floyd@dpi.nc.gov.


Home Base (Schoolnet) Instructional Materials and Assessment Survey for Teachers

Superintendents are asked to invite their teachers to take a few minutes and participate in the Home Base (Schoolnet) Instructional Materials and Assessment Survey. The purpose of this survey is to gather information about teachers' knowledge, use, and perception of the quality of the instructional materials and classroom assessment items in Schoolnet. We understand that there is a wide range of use of Schoolnet. Whether teachers have used the materials or not, the information they provide through this survey will be very useful for helping us communicate with other teachers about the system and will provide some important baseline data. The survey should take between five and 15 minutes to complete, depending on the teacher's use of Schoolnet. All responses are confidential.

Throughout the month of November, information about the survey will be communicated directly with teachers, administrators, and district leadership via various DPI distribution groups and conferences. However, anything superintendents can do to promote awareness and participation among teachers is greatly appreciated. The survey is online at survey.sedl.org/efm/wsb.dll/s/1g1b6 and will be available through Nov. 24. For additional information, contact Sarah McManus at sarah.mcmanus@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3776.


New Mini-Module Released: What The Best NC Teachers Do

Educator Effectiveness staff have released a new mini-module, "What The Best North Carolina Teachers Do," in the Home Base online professional development system. This informational mini-module features a series of interviews with NC Teachers of the Year discussing what makes them successful in the classroom. This project was influenced by the book, "What the Best College Teachers Do," by Ken Bain (Bain, 2004). For the video series, staff asked teachers a series of questions about effective classroom practices. Each teacher in this series has been chosen as a district, regional or state teacher of the year in North Carolina. The goal of this project is simple: to share the insights, skills and advice from our state's best teachers with educators with the hope of helping them gain insight and inspiration for their own teaching. This module is available through the Home Base System Professional Development tab, or directly at rt3nc.org/ncvideo/.


Superintendent Vacancy Announced: Orange County Schools

The Orange County Board of Education is seeking a superintendent to lead the school system in its continuing pursuit of excellence. Candidates must have or be qualified to hold a North Carolina superintendent license. Central office and building-level experience are preferred. A doctorate degree or progress toward a doctorate degree is preferred but not required. The individual chosen will be required to live in the Orange County School District. The application deadline is Jan. 5. An electronic version of the application is available by going to the N.C. School Board Association's website at www.ncsba.org and clicking on the appropriate link. Inquiries and requests for applications also can be directed to Allison Schafer, Legal Counsel/Director of Policy, North Carolina School Boards Association, PO Box 97877, Raleigh NC 27624-7877, telephone 919.841.4040, fax 919.841.4020, e-mail aschafer@ncsba.org. All inquires will be kept confidential.


Governor Proclaims November American Indian Heritage Month

Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed November as American Indian Heritage Month to celebrate and commemorate the culture, heritage and traditions of North Carolina's first citizens – American Indians. Educators are encouraged to celebrate North Carolina's American Indians, their tribes and cultures.


National School Psychology Week Celebrated Next Week

Nov. 10-14 is National School Psychology Week to raise awareness of the key role that school psychologists play in the health of students and school environments. This year's theme is "Strive. Grow. THRIVE!" and highlights a focus on engaging students to promote personal achievement, growth, and resilience, as well as a sense of connectedness and well-being. Schools around the state and country will be participating in activities designed to engage students to promote personal achievement, growth, and resilience, as well as a sense of connectedness and well-being.

North Carolina's school psychologists provide a range of services related to students' academic achievement and well-being. These contribute significantly to the development of a healthy, safe, caring, and supportive learning environment by advancing awareness and understanding of the social, emotional, psychological, and academic needs of students. In addition, school psychologists promote a respectful environment for diverse populations, use their knowledge of the school environment, child development, and curriculum and instruction to improve student achievement, and support student learning through the use of a systematic problem-solving approach that involves the school system staff. During School Psychology Awareness Week this year, North Carolina schools and districts will be hosting a number of events and distributing materials to meet these goals. Please take a moment to recognize the important role that school psychologists play in your schools' success.