SUPERINTENDENTS' MESSAGES 2014

MESSAGES 2014 :: DECEMBER 8, 2014

DECEMBER 8, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Dec. 8, 2014

At the January 2015 State Board of Education meeting and based on your feedback, we will recommend the changes we discussed concerning the ten-point grading scale. It will be important to prepare students, parents and teachers for the impact of the change on GPA calculation for some students should the Board modify the current policy. We also are moving forward with applying for another ESEA waiver and appreciate any feedback about the "double testing" option. I encourage you to read the alternative school grading policy that we distributed at the meeting. Thank you for your attendance.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent


In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Affordable Care Act and Retirees
  3. Superintendent Vacancy Announced: Brunswick County Schools
  4. State Board of Education Task Force on Summative Assessment Study Groups to Meet
  5. Closing Out NCVPS Fall Semester
  6. Textbook Evaluation Advisors Needed for Science
  7. New K-12 Open Education Resource (OER) Initiative for ELA and Math
  8. Principals' Webinar on Global Educator Digital Badge for Teachers
  9. Need Ideas and Feedback on Issues? Cross-district Strategic Solutions Sessions Are A Great Place to Start
  10. High Quality Professional Development Modules Available Online
  11. Ignite the Power of STEM Competitive Grant Program


State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

During the December meeting of the State Board of Education, members approved applications for Cooperative Innovative High Schools, accountability model options for alternative schools and revisions to alternative learning program policies and procedures. Reports approved by Board members included the annual reports on teachers leaving the profession, IHE performance, charter schools, the North Carolina Virtual Public School and final reports that highlighted the Race to the Top STEM Affinity Network, Distinguished Leadership in Practice and North Carolina's Future-Ready Leadership Program. Board members also discussed approval for 11 charter schools planning to open in 2015, policy changes needed to accommodate the Virtual Charter School pilots and request for waivers from Analysis of Student Work and North Carolina Final Exams. A complete list of Board actions is posted online at stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/minutes-actions/sbe-actions/2014-actions.


Affordable Care Act and Retirees

The NCDPI has been receiving a number of questions from districts about how the retirement system will handle retired employees who have temporarily returned to work and qualify for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The retirement system maintains that retirees (from TSERS) who meet the conditions of eligibility for the ACA will no longer be eligible for the retirement system-funded health plan and must be offered the high-deductible health (bronze) plan. There are many questions about how the retirement system will monitor retirees to ensure compliance with state law. At this time, the retirement system has issued nothing in writing about their policies or procedures in regard to this matter. Given that the NCDPI is not the authoritative agency on these matters, we are unable to provide districts with guidelines on how to ensure retirees do not jeopardize their state-funded health care coverage. Our recommendation would be to ensure that retirees do not average more than the federally-mandated 30 hours per week threshold over the locally-defined measurement period. If LEAs wish to have more flexibility in how they employ retirees, they should consult with an attorney who has expertise in the ACA legislation. We are working with legislators for a long-term solution to this issue, but this is the agency's best recommendation for LEAs at this time. If you have additional questions, please contact Tom Tomberlin at thomas.tomberlin@dpi.nc.gov.


Superintendent Vacancy Announced: Brunswick County Schools

he Brunswick 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 Brunswick County School District. The application deadline is Jan. 28. 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.


State Board of Education Task Force on Summative Assessment Study Groups to Meet

During December and January, the State Board of Education's Task Force on Summative Assessment will convene in three independent study groups to study assessment at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Each group will study and discuss the state and local assessments at their various grade levels, along with the creation of draft recommendations to be used to enhance the process of teaching and learning to most effectively utilize assessment data. The groups also will propose models for how assessments most suitably fit within their grade configurations.

Elementary Study Group
The State Board of Education Task Force on Summative Assessment Elementary Study Group will meet on Friday, Dec. 12, from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., in Room 224 North, Education Building, Raleigh. The meeting also is available through GoToWebinar. To listen, please register online at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/647950424. Once registered, you will receive an email confirming your registration with information on how to join the Webinar. For additional information, please contact Lou Fabrizio at Lou.Fabrizio@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3770.

Middle School Study Group
The State Board of Education Task Force on Summative Assessment Middle School Study Group will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 9, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., in the 7th Floor State Board Lounge, Education Building, Raleigh. The meeting also is available through GoToWebinar. To listen, please register online at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/828069560. Once registered you will receive an email confirming your registration with information on how to join the Webinar. For additional information, please contact Audrey Martin-McCoy at audrey.martinmccoy@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3402.

High School Study Group
The State Board of Education Task Force on Summative Assessment High School Study Group will meet via webinar on Friday, Dec. 12, from 1 – 3 p.m. The meeting is available through GoToMeeting. To listen, please register online at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/294764569. Once registered you will receive an email confirming your registration with information on how to join the Webinar. For additional information, please contact Martez Hill at martez.hill@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3404.


Closing Out NCVPS Fall Semester

NCVPS's early calendar courses end on Dec.12, and traditional calendar block courses end on Jan. 9. Let us help your schools and students successfully close out the fall 2014 semester. Please have your e-learning advisors visit our "End of the Semester: Tips and Reminders" webpage online at www.ncvps.org/index.php/end-of-the-semester-tips-and-reminders/


Textbook Evaluation Advisors Needed for Science

The 2015 calendar year is the year for adopting textbooks and instructional materials for science. Highly motivated, experienced teachers and instructional leaders are needed to work with the Textbook Commission to review and evaluate books and materials to ensure that they align with the NC Standard Course of Study for Science. Advisors are needed on the evening of March 17 and all day on March 18-21. The advisors will be trained to review textbooks and instructional materials using criteria developed by the NCDPI. Advisors must be certified in science and the grade level/course for which they are assigned to evaluate: Grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Earth/Environmental. Interested teachers and instructional leaders are invited go to tinyurl.com/textbookadvisors and complete an interest form and submit a letter of endorsement. Questions may be directed to Carmella Fair at carmella.fair@dpi.nc.gov.


New K-12 Open Education Resource (OER) Initiative for ELA and Math

North Carolina is one of 11 states leading an exciting initiative to create comprehensive, high-quality, open educational resources (OER) supporting mathematics and English language arts that are aligned with state standards. The goal is to make the resources available in Home Base once they are developed. LEAs and/or teachers may be interested in:

  • submitting a letter of intent by Jan. 9 to create math and English language arts resources or share with other states some already developed. Information about the request for proposal and other due dates may be found online at k12oercollaborative.org/;
  • reviewing above proposals for developing open education resources for math and English language arts in late February-early March 2015; or
  • reviewing the prototypes for the resources that are selected from the proposals in mid-late June 2015.

In any capacity, these activities can serve as excellent professional development opportunities, and in some instances carry with them a small stipend. For more information about the K-12 OER Collaborative, please contact Sarah McManus at sarah.mcmanus@dpi.nc.gov.


Principals' Webinar on Global Educator Digital Badge for Teachers

The State Board of Education approved the Global Educator Digital Badge for Teachers policy at the Oct. 2 meeting. Beginning in January, a candidate for the Global Educator Digital Badge should work with his or her principal to create a professional development plan focused on embedding global education in instruction. Candidates for the badge will be required to complete 100 hours or 10 CEUs of global educational professional development and meet a Capstone Project requirement within two years (including acceptance into Home Base as a statewide resource).

A webinar to address the principal's role in this process will be offered on Wednesday, Jan. 14. You only need to register for one webinar. Tuesday, Jan. 13, 1-2 p.m.: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/463551753
Thursday, Jan. 15, 10-11 a.m.: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/826270865
Once registered, you will receive an email confirming your registration along with information you need to join the Webinar. For additional information regarding the Global Educator Digital Badge for Teachers and other global education initiatives, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org/globaled.


Need Ideas and Feedback on Issues? Cross-district Strategic Solutions Sessions Are A Great Place to Start

Cross-district Strategic Solutions is a networking opportunity that allows education leaders to generate solutions to challenging issues either virtually or face to face. Facilitated by professional development leads, this process includes sharing a specific issue, describing current actions and having an opportunity to receive feedback and other ideas from peers. To learn more about this opportunity, you have several options:

Your regional professional development leads also may assist with questions. The list of regional leads are available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/profdev/directory/.


High Quality Professional Development Modules Available Online

Administrators are encouraged to take advantage of the NCDPI self-paced, facilitated modules and mini-modules available at no charge. Visit https://rt3nc.org/lib/cover/modules%20flyer%202014.pdf to access a printable version of the over 50 current modules available. All modules may be accessed through the Educator Effectiveness Professional Development System through Home Base. In addition, you may visit www.rt3nc.org to get ideas for staff and PLCs using the implementation guide. Please contact Geetanjali Soni at Geetanjali.soni@dpi.nc.gov with any questions.


Ignite the Power of STEM Competitive Grant Program

The Biogen Idec Foundation will award $125,000 in grants to support innovative science education programs and projects across North Carolina. Ignite the Power of STEM grants will be awarded to teachers, schools and non-profit STEM education programs. Teachers may apply for a grant up to $2,000. Schools and non-profits may apply for grant up to $5,000. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16. Grants will be awarded by Feb. 20, and are to be expended by Dec. 31. More information about the grant and the link to apply can be found online at biogenidec.com/ignitenc.