MESSAGES 2014 :: DECEMBER 15, 2014

DECEMBER 15, 2014

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Dec. 15, 2014

As we near the Feb. 5 School Report Card release date, I encourage you to work with your principals, accountability coordinators and communication staff to consider how you want to communicate about your schools' performance grades and other report card information. Principals, of course, have the opportunity to draft a welcome letter unique to their schools' report card. It also is important to highlight what schools are doing that may not be reflected in a single letter grade. Special programs, extracurricular activities, community-school relationships and traditions are all important to parents and students. If you anticipate schools with low grades, it is important to highlight what the school faculty are doing to address performance concerns and also any areas that are strong. As we near a new legislative session, the topic of the school performance grades will likely come up, especially concerning the grading scale. For the 2013-14 school year, schools are being graded on a 15-point scale, but that is only applicable for one year. As the law stands now, grades for 2014-15 and forward will be on a 10-point scale.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

HB update
(pdf, 332kb)

Dec. 11, 2014
(doc, 83kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. Deadline Approaching to Comment on English Language Arts/Mathematics Standards
  2. State Board of Education Committee to Interview Virtual Charter Applicants
  3. Correctional Education Guidance Package Released
  4. NCVPS Spring Registration Still Open
  5. Spring Principal Training Series
  6. BB&T Leadership Program Update
  7. NC Middle School Selected to Participate in Mobile Learning Partnerships
  8. Four NC Schools Receive Verizon STEM Grants

Deadline Approaching to Comment on English Language Arts/Mathematics Standards

As a reminder, 5 p.m. Dec. 31 is the deadline to participate in the online survey on English language arts/mathematics standards. Per State Board policy (GCS-F-012), NCDPI staff have begun the standards review process for the English language arts and mathematics standards. Information provided through this survey will help inform the work of the NCDPI Standards Review Committee. The survey is available online at Teachers are highly encouraged to take this survey and provide specific feedback regarding the current English language arts and mathematics standards.

State Board of Education Committee to Interview Virtual Charter Applicants

A special committee appointed by the State Board of Education will meet Wednesday, Dec. 17, to interview the two virtual charter school applicants: NC Virtual Academy and NC Connections Academy. The meeting, which begins at 10:25 a.m., will be held in the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, Raleigh.
Committee members will interview representatives of NC Virtual Academy at 10:30 a.m. Following a break at 11:40 a.m., members will interview representatives of NC Connections Academy at 11:45 a.m. The meeting adjourns at 12:45 p.m.
The meeting will be audio streamed for those who cannot attend. To listen, please visit the State Board of Education's website at and click on the Live Audio Stream. Applications for these two virtual charters can be viewed online at Questions regarding this meeting may be directed to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's Communications division at 919.807.3450.

Correctional Education Guidance Package Released

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced the release of a Correctional Education Guidance Package to help states and local agencies strengthen the quality of education services provided to America's estimated 60,000 young people in confinement every day. This guidance package builds on recommendations in the My Brother's Keeper Task Force report released in May to "reform the juvenile and criminal justice systems to reduce unnecessary interactions for youth and to enforce the rights of incarcerated youth to a quality education." The guidance package includes:
- A Dear Colleague letter on civil rights of students in juvenile justice residential facilities;
- Guiding Principles for providing high quality education in juvenile justice secure care settings;
- A Dear Colleague letter on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for students with disabilities in correctional facilities; and
- A Dear Colleague letter on access to federal Pell Grants for students in juvenile justice facilities.

NCVPS Spring Registration Still Open

Please remember that NCVPS usually experiences high traffic in its registration system in January right before the spring semester begins. If your district has students that still need to enroll for spring, please have your schools go ahead and enroll them now. This will help avoid delays in January. If your district used its total allotments for NCVPS, the district coordinator can request access to NCVPS reserve funds. Visit to make that request. Using the reserve funds will not cost your district anything this year; although, you will likely see an increase in your allotment totals in next year's budget.

Spring Principal Training Series

Principal READY meetings for spring 2015 will continue to focus on instructional leadership and building capacity for all principals. Sessions will focus on two data sets – EVAAS and Teacher Working Conditions (TWC) – and how information informs Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Participants will engage in a tiered analysis of data and practice to address performance of their school, PLCs and individual teachers. Principals will collaborate with colleagues, and Educator Effectiveness staff will facilitate processes to connect learning directly to the consistent implementation of the North Carolina Educator Evaluation System. Please mark your calendars early. Also, remember if a date works better outside of your region, you may attend any of the following sessions.
Region 1 - Wednesday, April 22, at the Hilton Hotel, Greenville
Region 2 - Tuesday, April 21, Hilton Riverside, Wilmington
Region 3 - Thursday, March 12, Embassy Suite, Cary
Region 4 - Tuesday, March 10, Holiday Inn Bordeaux, Fayetteville
Region 5 - Tuesday, April 14, Embassy Suites, Greensboro
Region 6 - Monday, April 13, Speedway Club, Concord
Region 7 - Tuesday, March 24, Stone Center, North Wilkesboro
Region 8 - Wednesday, March 25, Crowne Plaza Tennis and Golf Resort, Asheville
To register, please visit

BB&T Leadership Program Update

If you attended last week's Superintendents' Quarterly meeting, you met Rosalind Guerrie with BB&T, who reviewed the new leadership development program provided by the BB&T Leadership Institute. They have completed the pilot sessions of Mastering Leadership Dynamics for Educational Leaders, and have new sessions for 2015. If you would like to attend one, program dates are available online at If you have questions, please contact Rosalind Guerrie at

NC Middle School Selected to Participate in Mobile Learning Partnerships

Congratulations to Ranson Middle School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) for being one of 12 schools nationwide selected to participate in Verizon Foundation's Mobile Learning Partnerships. The schools were selected based on an online application and innovative leadership within the school. Teachers and app developers will be paired together in 2015, the beta stage apps will be implemented in the classroom to be student and teacher-tested. The 12 schools and app developers are the first ever group to launch this nationwide mobile learning partnership.

Four NC Schools Receive Verizon STEM Grants

Congratulations to Angier Elementary, Coats Elementary and Harnett Primary (Harnett County Schools), and Hillcrest Elementary (Alamance-Burlington Schools) for each receiving $20,000 Innovate Learning Grants from Verizon. The grants highlight the importance of STEM education and promote opportunities to study STEM subjects and achieve in these fields. These schools are among 80 underserved public schools across the country to receive the grant. Schools will use the money for teacher professional development or programs that leverage new technologies like 3D printing and robotics, as well as coding.