MESSAGES 2015 :: JANUARY 20, 2015

JANUARY 20, 2015

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015

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This summer, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will be transitioning to a new automated licensure system. Our goal in automating the licensure system is to increase access to information for all key stakeholders, including individual teachers, local school districts, and colleges and universities. I know that licensure is a key service that we provide educators and the school community to ensure that quality individuals are in our classrooms. We anticipate that the new system will expedite the processing of licensure requests and simplify and streamline the submission process. NCDPI staff are working with key groups to perform quality assurance checks on the system's capabilities. We will continue to update you on our progress over the coming months.

Also, as mentioned in the Legislative webinar held Friday, all public schools receiving a School Performance Grade of D or F must notify parents/guardians of students attending that school. Department staff will be drafting a letter and posting it on the TNN website if schools would like to use this in communicating with parents. We will let you know when this resource and other resources for communicating information regarding the School Performance Grades are available online.

On a final note, we have some good performance statistics to share on Home Base. Last week there was strong use of Schoolnet with more than 70,000 concurrent users and no reported outages. This is positive news for the system's stability moving forward.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

Jan. 15, 2015
(doc, 92kb)

Jan. 16 Web Highlights
(doc, 36kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. Schools Receiving School Performance Grades of D or F Must Notify Parents/Guardians
  2. Services and Support Survey Responses Sought
  3. Legislative Update Webinar Scheduled
  4. Regional NC Teachers of the Year Announced
  5. NC Textbook Commission Schedules to Meet; Publishers Meeting Also Scheduled
  6. Webinars Focus on Cross-District Strategic Solutions
  7. K-12 Testing in NC Public Schools Focus of Analysis
  8. School Bus Driver Appreciation Week is Feb. 9-13

Schools Receiving School Performance Grades of D or F Must Notify Parents/Guardians

Per North Carolina General Statute (G.S. 115C-47 (58); G.S. 115C-238.29F; and G.S. 115C-238.66), all traditional, charter and regional schools with School Performance Grades of D or F must provide notice of the grade in writing to the parent or guardian of all students enrolled in that school. During the Jan. 14 webinar, staff stated that this requirement was for charter schools and regional schools only. As agreed upon during the webinar, Accountability Services staff will provide a draft template school principals may use/modify to communicate with parents. The template is not required, but is provided as a resource.

Services and Support Survey Responses Sought

The NCDPI has asked the Southeast Comprehensive Center to gather information about how the department currently provides support and how it can better assist with instructional and other services to meet your district's needs. So far, less than a third of the 115 local superintendents have responded. Your perceptions are important to improving the agency's technical assistance to effectively support you in your work. This is especially important since with the inclusion of positions funded by Race to the Top the department will have lost more than 300 positions over a five-year period. If you have not done so, please visit to complete the survey. It should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. We need your response to make this survey as accurate as possible. Also, there is a separate survey link for central office staff. I hope you will encourage your central office staff to complete this survey by forwarding them the following link

Legislative Update Webinar Scheduled

The next Legislative Update webinar will be held Friday, Feb. 6, beginning at 11 a.m. To register, please visit Once registered, you will receive an email with participation instructions.

Regional NC Teachers of the Year Announced

Congratulations to the following nine teachers who were recently named 2015 North Carolina Regional Teachers of the Year and will now compete for the state title:

  • Region 1: Jami Dickerson, Eastern Elementary (Pitt County Schools);
  • Region 2: Joshua Gaskill, Pamlico County High (Pamlico County Schools);
  • Region 3: Jeremy Tucker, James B. Hunt High (Wilson County Schools);
  • Region 4: Mariel Barker Sellars, East Columbus High (Columbus County Schools);
  • Region 5: JoAnna Massoth, Chatham Middle (Chatham County Schools);
  • Region 6: Jennifer Whitley, Forest Hills High (Union County Schools);
  • Region 7: Keana Triplett, Ashe County High (Ashe County Schools);
  • Region 8: Randy Pressley, Tuscola High (Haywood County Schools); and
  • Charter Schools: Elizabeth Padgett, Lake Norman Charter (Mecklenburg County).

The 2015 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year will be announced on April 7 during an awards luncheon to be held in Cary. The recipient will succeed the state's 2014 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, James E. Ford, a World History teacher at Garinger High (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools).

NC Textbook Commission Schedules to Meet; Publishers Meeting Also Scheduled

The NC Textbook Commission will meet Friday, Jan. 23, from 9 a.m.-noon, in the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, Raleigh. On the agenda is an overview and discussion of the science content, potential science advisors and an update on the evaluation process. This meeting will be audio streamed for those who cannot attend. To listen, please go online to and click on the live audio streams link to the right.

In addition, a separate meeting will be held for publishers to ask questions about the textbook adoption process for science in 2015 that afternoon from 1-2:30 p.m., in Room 150 of the Education Building. Publishers who cannot attend this meeting may instead participate in a webinar to be held later that afternoon from 3:30-4:30 p.m. To register, visit Once you register, you will receive directions as to how to participate.

Webinars Focus on Cross-District Strategic Solutions

Looking for feedback from your peers? Districts or individuals may participate in Cross-district Strategic Solutions statewide topic based forums. The purpose of Cross-district Strategic Solutions sessions is to build a problem-solving, solution-generating Professional Learning Network of educators open to district leaders, administrators, teachers, counselors and coaches across the state.

During the forum sessions, district teams, individual teachers, administrators and other educators may introduce or acquaint others with a challenging issue and receive feedback from other participants across the state by asking clarifying questions and sharing strategies for success. Each forum session will be facilitated by Professional Development Consultants from the NCDPI, using a consultancy protocol. To view an example of a Cross-district Strategic Solutions forum, visit To download the protocol, visit

Following is a schedule of webinar topics and registration links. Each webinar is scheduled from 3:15-4:30 p.m.:

Jan. 20 – Effective Implementation of a Comprehensive School Counseling Program,
Jan. 22 – PLCs and Common Assessment Development,;jsessionid=abckvCjJBN72t_wA0BVRu
Jan. 29 – Progress Monitoring in Elementary School Science,
Feb. 17 – Differentiation for All Learners,
Feb. 18 – Instructional Diversity for Differentiation in Grades 3-8,
Should you have any questions, please email Heather Stewart at

K-12 Testing in NC Public Schools Focus of Analysis

The NCDPI Financial and Business Services' Research Intern Program conducts research to supplement and supply data for discussions related to procedural, process, and policy changes. The interns are graduate students from local universities who have an interest in education policy. One of the topics addressed by this year's interns focused on testing in North Carolina public schools and analyzed federal, state and local requirements. The report is available online at

School Bus Driver 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. This week provides an excellent opportunity to generate positive media attention on the whole system of safely transporting students to school. More information is available online at