SUPERINTENDENTS' MESSAGES 2015

MESSAGES 2015 :: FEBRUARY 12, 2015

FEBRUARY 12, 2015 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

Last week when the State Board of Education received North Carolina’s first School Performance Grades, many trends were highlighted. The most important from my point of view was the analysis of student academic growth across all grades. Among elementary schools, nearly 80 percent met or exceeded academic growth goals. That figure was 73 percent for middle schools and nearly 70 percent for high schools. Even among schools receiving grades of D or F, more than 55 met or exceeded expected growth. For schools receiving a C grade, more than 76 percent met or exceeded growth expectations. That tells me that the teachers in these schools made sure their students were growing academically over the course of the school year. However, their letter grade is more heavily weighted toward performance as opposed to growth, and that lowered their overall School Performance Grade. As we work with lawmakers this session, I hope to convince them that growth should also be given a letter grade as it is the most important indicator of a school’s impact on students’ learning.

Regards,
June Atkinson


In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Comment Now on Proposed Amendments to Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities, Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act-Part B
  3. Severe Weather Preparedness Week March 1-7
  4. Two School Districts are Latest “Green Ribbon” Award Recipients
  5. Register Now for NC Reading Conference
  6. Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT): Digital Learning with NCCAT
  7. Stop Rx Abuse Public Service Announcement Competition


State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

At last week’s State Board meeting, members approved Teacher Observation Requirements, the 2013-14 School Performance Grades, the 2014-16 State School Technology Plan, and the Virtual Charter School Pilot recommendations. A complete list of Board actions is posted online at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/minutes-actions/sbe-actions/2015-actions.


Comment Now on Proposed Amendments to Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities, Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act-Part B

The NCDPI Exceptional Children Division is accepting comments from interested persons regarding the Department’s proposed amendments to specific sections of Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities (Policies) pursuant to Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA).

The amendments to the North Carolina policies are available for public review and comment Feb. 4 - March 6. The amendments may be reviewed at the NCDPI Exceptional Children Division office (Education Building, Raleigh), and on the web at http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov.

Interested citizens are invited to comment on the proposed amendment to the Policies. In making comments, please give the citation for the section(s) on which you are commenting (e.g., NC 1504-2.9); and provide comments in the form of statements. Comments may be submitted via email to ecpolicies2015@dpi.nc.gov or mailed to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Exceptional Children Division, ATTN: Carol Ann Hudgens or Lynne Loeser, 6356 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6356.


Severe Weather Preparedness Week March 1-7

Spring is peak tornado season in North Carolina. North Carolina Emergency Management and the National Weather Service want your school community and you to know how to be safe when severe weather threatens. The statewide tornado drill will take place on Wednesday, March 4, at 9:30 a.m. Most NOAA weather radios will NOT sound an audible alert to mark the beginning of the drill. As such, schools are encouraged to self-initiate their tornado drills at 9:30 a.m. as if an alert had been broadcast. The drill will conclude when participants complete their drill activities. No all-clear message will be issued. If this time is not convenient for your school’s instructional program, principals may reschedule the tornado drill on another day close to March 4. For more information about tornado and storm safety, go to www.ReadyNC.org or download the free ReadyNC mobile app.


Two School Districts are Latest “Green Ribbon” Award Recipients

Congratulations to Cherokee County Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for recently being awarded Green Ribbons from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Safe and Healthy Schools Support Division. These districts will now represent the state in national competition. The Green Ribbon Schools Award is the first comprehensive federal policy for schools related to environment, health and education.


Register Now for NC Reading Conference

Don't miss the 2015 NC Reading Conference scheduled for March 15-17 at the Raleigh Convention Center. 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. Hear speakers like Kelly Gallagher and Jan Richardson, as well as many NC and other award-winning authors. Teachers can earn up to 1.5 reading CEUs. Program information including a preliminary list of sessions as well as registration information are available online at http://www.ncreading.org. For more information, please contact ncra.execassist@gmail.com.


Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT): Digital Learning with NCCAT

In the time between a total implementation of 1:1 technology and the present, many teachers are faced with a charge to integrate technology into the curriculum. One answer is the technology students bring with them to school. Join NCCAT staff to learn more about how a teacher, a school, or a district can more effectively leverage BYOT (also called BYOD-Bring-Your-Own-Device) in order to meet academic goals on a budget and relate with your students on common ground. The program will be held March 10-13 in Cullowhee. For more information, visit http://www.nccat.org/events/13874-%E2%80%A2-bring-your-own-technology-digital-learning-%E2%80%93-cullowhee or call NCCAT Teacher Services at 828.293.5202.


Stop Rx Abuse Public Service Announcement Competition

The North Carolina Attorney General’s office is holding its 4th Annual Stop Rx Abuse competition to increase awareness about the dangers of youth prescription drug abuse. All students enrolled in grades six through 12 in North Carolina are eligible to enter by creating a short public service announcement. The competition will run from March 2 - April 15, and winners will receive prizes. In the coming weeks, each school will receive detailed rules and guidelines about the competition, as well as a promotional poster to display via the U.S. Mail. To learn more, visit www.ncdoj.gov or contact StopRxAbuse@ncdoj.gov with questions.