SUPERINTENDENTS' MESSAGES 2015

MESSAGES 2015 :: FEBRUARY 16, 2015

FEBRUARY 16, 2015

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Feb. 16, 2015

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Thanks to all of you who participated in one of the webinars about the conceptual framework regarding the next generation of testing. Approximately 80 percent of superintendents participated. Please remember to send your questions and comments about the framework to Jamie Woodlief (jamie.woodlief@dpi.nc.gov). A copy of the framework is attached to this email.

The issue of testing and accountability is still on the front burner as the legislative session gains traction. I have been heartened by the frank and direct conversations that the School Performance Grades have generated. Your outreach to news media in your community has shifted the conversation to focus on where do we go from here to help students who come to school from difficult circumstances. I hope that you will join me in continuing to have this conversation with your lawmakers. In addition, I think it is clear that a more balanced grading system that would reflect growth evenly with performance should be implemented. I hope you will take a look at my letter to the News and Observer on this issue (www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/12/4551283/june-atkinson-school-grades-just.html?sp=/99/108/165/). Regards,

June Atkinson
State Superintendent


Feb. 12, 2015
(doc, 80kb)

Testing and Accountability Proposal Model
(pdf, 488kb)


In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. Latest Security Updates Required for Online Testing; Windows XP Computers Banned for Online Testing
  2. Legislative Webinar Reminder
  3. 2015 Science Textbook Adoption Update
  4. High-Quality, Free Instructional Resources
  5. DPI Events Cancelled due to Forecasted Inclement Weather
  6. Parents and Education Stakeholders Invited to Give Feedback on English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards
  7. Finance Officers' Newsletter Online
  8. Cabarrus County Schools' Students Receive National Volunteer Award


Latest Security Updates Required for Online Testing; Windows XP Computers Banned for Online Testing

District testing coordinators recently received information regarding online testing and security updates. For the purpose of online testing (i.e., School net-CTE Middle Schools, CTE Elements, NCTest) and accountability data collection, all computers must have the latest security updates installed before testing.

As a reminder, Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and security updates stopped in April 2014. Therefore, Windows XP computers will not be allowed for online testing and data collection effective Monday, Feb. 16. In addition to security updates, Windows XP fails to meet compliance obligations. Windows XP must not be used for assessments administered through the NCTest online platform effective with the 2015-16 school year.

Technology directors are encouraged to provide NCDPI IT Manager Kenneth Barbour (kenneth.barbour@dpi.nc.gov), a migration plan for when testing computers comply with current security updates.


Legislative Webinar Reminder

As a reminder, the next Legislative Update webinar will be held this Friday, Feb. 20, beginning at 11 a.m. To register, please visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/8745386108999121409. Once registered, you will receive an email with participation instructions.


2015 Science Textbook Adoption Update

As many of you know, 2015 is the year for selecting textbooks and materials for science as part of our Textbook Adoption process. NCDPI staff have been working with the Textbook Commission to develop an efficient process to produce a recommended list by May. The State Board of Education has approved the process and corresponding policies; and we have begun implementation.

We ask that you support this process by encouraging participation of selected advisors, representing all regions, who will evaluate books and materials in Durham during the period of March 17-21. These advisors have been endorsed and recommended by their principals and textbook commissioners. Their knowledge and expertise in the NC Standard Course of Study for Science are essential to recommending appropriate books (digital and non-digital) and materials to facilitate the teaching and learning process for all public school students.

From Dec. 4, 2014 - May 7, publishers may not sell, promote or otherwise advertise any product that will be part of or substantially similar to any product that will be submitted to be reviewed for this year's science adoption. This is the period starting from the date that the State Board of Education approved the textbook adoption process to when the State Board is expected to approve the recommended list of textbooks and materials.

More information about the textbook adoption process, advisors, the criteria for evaluation, schedule and publisher information may be found on the Textbook Adoption website at www.ncpublicschools.org/textbook/.


High-Quality, Free Instructional Resources

Teachers are invited to attend two webinars to learn more about high-quality, free instructional resources that are available in Home Base. On Wednesday, March 4, from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., teachers will learn about the resources available for English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science/STEM. To register, visit attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6995959755642103553.

On Wednesday, March 25, from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., teachers will learn about resources available for Mathematics, ESL, Arts, Healthful Living, and World Languages. To register, visit attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6995959755642103553.


DPI Events Cancelled due to Forecasted Inclement Weather

Due to forecasted inclement weather, the following NC Department of Public Instruction events have been cancelled. These events will be rescheduled.

Greenville Public Hearing on Proposed Changes to IDEA. The Greenville public hearing to receive comments regarding proposed amendments to specific sections related to the definition, evaluation and identification of Specific Learning Disabilities of the Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities pursuant to Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) has been cancelled. This event was scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. tonight, Feb. 16, at Sadie Saulter Elementary School, Greenville. Updates will be posted on the Exceptional Children Division's website at ec.ncpublicschools.gov/. The public is encouraged to visit the website to comment on the proposed amendments.

Driver Education Advisory Committee. The Driver Education Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 11 a.m., in the Education Building, Raleigh has been cancelled. This meeting will be rescheduled later this month.

Wilmington Public Hearing on Proposed Changes to IDEA. The Wilmington public hearing to receive comments regarding proposed amendments to specific sections related to the definition, evaluation and identification of Specific Learning Disabilities of the Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities pursuant to Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) has been cancelled. This event was scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, in the Board Room of the Dale K. Spencer Building, Wilmington. Updates will be posted on the Exceptional Children Division's website at ec.ncpublicschools.gov. The public is encouraged to visit the website to comment on the proposed amendments.


Parents and Education Stakeholders Invited to Give Feedback on English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards

NC public school parents and community members are invited to go online and give their feedback on the standards for English language arts and mathematics instruction for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The NC Department of Public Instruction has launched the online survey for parents and community members to provide feedback on the standards currently in place for students. The survey is available at ncdpireview.weebly.com until April 30. To read more about the survey, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org and click on the appropriate link under "News." We would appreciate your assistance in highlighting this survey to your school community.


Finance Officers' Newsletter Online

The Feb. 13 edition of the Finance Officers' newsletter is online and contains the following items: 2015 Charter School Membership by LEA, PRC 143 ARRA – School Improvement 1003 (G) Closed PRC (LEAs), Title I NBPTS Instruction Coach Form – Revised, and recent FBS Website postings. To read more, please go to the NCDPI's Financial and Business Services Web site at www.ncpublicschools.org/fbs and click on Resources, then Newsletters.


Cabarrus County Schools' Students Receive National Volunteer Award

Congratulations to Cabarrus County Schools' Jay M. Robinson High Junior Davis Dawson and Harris Road Middle Seventh Grader Samuel Park for recently being named North Carolina's top youth volunteers in the national Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in early May. There they will join the top two honorees from each state and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events.​