SUPERINTENDENTS' MESSAGES 2015

MESSAGES 2015 :: JANUARY 15, 2015

JANUARY 15, 2015 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

The State Board of Education last week revisited its earlier decision regarding the transition plan for the high school grading scale. In the fall of 2015, all students in high school will transition to a 10-point grading scale at the same time. This should address concerns expressed by educators and parents regarding equity within classrooms and athletic eligibility. If you are a high school teacher, please assist us in communicating this change so that parents and students understand the standards for grades beginning in 2015-16. We will not alter grades earned prior to this time. Changes to quality points or course weights will be phased in next year beginning with ninth graders as planned.

Also, this week the North Carolina General Assembly returns to Raleigh for the long session. This session is extremely important as legislators will be setting the budget for the next two years, and establishing our state’s education and other priorities. Look for updates from us regarding legislation throughout the next several months.

Regards,
June Atkinson


In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. State Board Modifies Transition Plan for New GPA Process
  3. Gov. McCrory Appoints New State Board Member
  4. Spring 2015: Instructor-Facilitated Online Courses
  5. English/Language Arts and Mathematics Standards Review Survey Update
  6. Textbook Evaluation Advisors Needed for Science
  7. PD MOOClet: Effective Digital Strategies for Teaching and Learning in the K-12 Classroom
  8. Home Base Weekly Webinar Series
  9. North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) Professional Development Opportunities
  10. School Bus Drive Appreciation Week is Feb. 9-13
  11. NC Reading Conference to be Held in March


State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

Among the items passed by State Board of Education members at their meeting this morning were changing the course name for Civics and Economics to American History: The Founding Principles, Civics, and Economics, requests for waivers from Analysis of Student Work and North Carolina Final Exams, and charter schools set to open in 2015. Board members also endorsed the working definition for what it means for a student to graduate college and career ready. A complete list of Board actions will be posted online later today at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/minutes-actions/sbe-actions.


State Board Modifies Transition Plan for New GPA Process

The State Board of Education modified the transition plan for the new grade point averaging process effective in 2015. Freshmen in 2015 will be using a ten-point scale as well as a new weighting system that will allow one extra quality point for all college level courses, including AP and IB courses for a maximum of five quality points for a course. Honors classes will carry .5 additional weight for a maximum of 4.5 quality points for a course. Beginning in 2015 all upperclassmen, including grades 10-12, will use the current weighting system, but will transition to a 10-point grading scale. Final grades should be recorded numerically rather than by letter effective in 2015.


Gov. McCrory Appoints New State Board Member

Gov. Pat McCrory in December appointed Eric Davis to serve on the State Board of Education. Davis is a senior vice president with Wells Fargo Corporate Real Estate Group and a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. He replaces Marcella Savage of Union County. His term expires March 31, 2021.


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. For more information about the role of advisors, visit http://www.ncpublicschools.org/textbook/advisors/. Interested teachers and instructional leaders are invited go to http://tinyurl.com/textbookadvisors and complete an interest form and submit a letter of endorsement. An Advisors Webinar for those interested in being considered for evaluation advisors will be held Jan. 15 from 4-5 p.m. You may register at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/ojoin/170806880. Questions may be directed to Carmella Fair at carmella.fair@dpi.nc.gov.


English/Language Arts and Mathematics Standards Review Survey Update

On Dec. 31, the educator survey for our North Carolina K-12 English/Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Standards Review closed. Staff are thankful for the feedback received from the 8,703 surveys completed by educators across the state. In all, 4,711 surveys were completed for the K-12 ELA Standards survey and 3,992 surveys were completed for the K-12 Mathematics Standards survey.

Preliminary data analysis indicates that overall North Carolina educators are pleased with the standards. The survey asked for comments/suggestions if improvements to the standards were needed. The standards that educators indicated needing revision, both minor and major, will be carefully reviewed in the coming months as the NCDPI Standards Review Committee completes the review/revision process. In addition, staff will use the feedback to plan professional development and to identify instructional resources to support educators in the implementation of the standards in the classroom. The data from the survey also will be shared with the Academic Standards Review Commission. A similar survey to gather community stakeholder input on the ELA and Math Standards will be launched later this month. Until the NCDPI Standards Review Process is completed and the State Board of Education adopts revisions to the standards (a two- to three-year process), the current NC Standard Course of Study in ELA and Mathematics will remain in place and should be implemented in state classrooms. If you have any questions or comments, please email Robin McCoy at robin.mccoy@dpi.nc.gov.


Spring 2015: Instructor-Facilitated Online Courses

Are your teachers looking for high-quality professional development and an opportunity to interact with peers? Please refer them to the below list of online instructor–facilitated courses that are being offered for Session 1: Spring 2015. These courses start Monday, Feb. 9. Registration opens Monday, Jan. 26. For a description of the courses and associated CEUs visit https://rt3nc.org/.

  • Digital Literacies in the Classroom (6 weeks)
  • Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects: Part 1 (5 weeks)
  • Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects: Part 2 (6 weeks)
  • Introduction to Data Literacy (5 weeks)
  • Data Literacy in Action (6 weeks)
  • Introduction to Universal Design for Learning (4 weeks)
  • Universal Design for Learning: Part 2 (4 weeks)
  • Connecting with our 21 Century Learners (6 weeks)
  • North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards (6 weeks)
  • Building and Sustaining PD (6 weeks)

These courses are available at no cost to North Carolina educators and will be facilitated by DPI professionals. The courses are completed entirely online. Participants are expected to meet all weekly deadlines in order to receive CEUs. Partial credit will not be given. Registration is limited to 35 participants per section. To register, follow the instructions below to log into Home Base:

Contact Geetanjali Soni at Geetanjali.soni@dpi.nc.gov if you have any questions.


PD MOOClet: Effective Digital Strategies for Teaching and Learning in the K-12 Classroom

Due to this course’s continued popularity, the NCDPI’s Educator Effectiveness Division will offer another session of Effective Digital Strategies for Teaching and Learning in the K-12 Classroom: A PD MOOClet, starting Feb. 9. This six-week course (20 hours) is intended for K-12 classroom teachers and other instructional personnel. It focuses on using digital tools and strategies to support teaching and learning and enriching individuals’ knowledge through developing communities of practice across the state. In this course, participants will look at the 4Cs - Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration; keystones for the 21st century classroom. This MOOClet:

  • focuses on participants’ professional needs in different disciplines and grade levels and is learner centered;
  • focuses on participants as creators of content as much as they are “consumers” of content;
  • involves extensive peer-to-peer communication; and
  • includes a larger number of students than a typical facilitator-led course

This course is available at no cost to North Carolina educators and will be facilitated by DPI professionals. Registration opens Monday, Jan. 26. Successful participants will receive 2 CEUs. The maximum registration is 300.

To register, follow the instructions below to log into Home Base to self-register for a course:

Contact Geetanjali Soni at Geetanjali.soni@dpi.nc.gov if you have any questions.


Home Base Weekly Webinar Series

NCDPI staff invite teachers to take advantage of our weekly Home Base Webinar Series, which invites system users to discuss timely topics. Webinars are designed to assist users with PowerSchool, Educator Evaluation/Professional Development System, and Schoolnet/OpenClass on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays respectively. These webinars are always free and offer attendees the opportunity to hear best practices, tips for success or simply learn more about a new aspect of the system. Participants also are given a chance to ask questions and connect with experts, access that may not otherwise be available. Upcoming topics include: Mid-Year Graduates in PowerSchool, North Carolina Educator Evaluation System, What Does Quality Online PD Look Like, Creating Classroom Assessments, KPI’s and Pre-Formatted Reports, etc. For a full list of upcoming topics, webinar start times, and registration links, please visit http://www.ncpublicschools.org/calendar/ and click webinars on the left navigation bar. The calendar is being updated daily with new opportunities so check back often.


North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) Professional Development Opportunities

The NCCAT, a nationally recognized leader in professional development programming for teachers, has opened its spring registration for courses scheduled January - June. Course descriptions (which focus on Early Grades Literacy and Digital Learning) and dates are available online at www.nccat.org under Programs. NCCAT covers lodging, meals and programming. Participants are responsible for travel costs and substitute teaching fees. Questions may be directed to NCCAT Teacher Services at 800.922.0482 or 828.293.5202.


School Bus Drive Appreciation Week is Feb. 9-13

Feb. 9-13 is School Bus Driver Appreciation Week in North Carolina. It also is the week when schools are encouraged to celebrate LOVE THE BUS and talk with students about school bus safety. More information is available online at www.ncbussafety.org/lovethebus.


NC Reading Conference to be Held in March

The annual NC Reading Conference will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center March 15-17. This year’s conference focuses on the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and North Carolina Essential Standards, evidence-based practices in literacy education, integration of standards, and practical strategies for all students. Teachers earn up to 1.5 reading CEUs. Program information with a preliminary list of sessions and additional conference and registration information are available online at http://www.ncreading.org. For more information contact ncra.execassist@gmail.com.