MESSAGES 2015 :: FEBRUARY 26, 2015

FEBRUARY 26, 2015 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

February is Career Technical Education month, and we have marked the month in a variety of ways including recognitions at the NC State Board of Education meeting earlier in February. Over 90 percent of students take some CTE course during their K-12 education, and last year students earned 115,000 business and industry credentials. To all of you CTE teachers in our state, thank you for your dedication to your students and their future careers. It takes all of our teachers working together to ensure that students have the life skills necessary to succeed after high school graduation.

Also, the State Board of Education Task Force on Summative Assessments has been meeting since October to explore options for the administration of state summative standardized tests beginning in the 2016-17 school year. The State Board is to report its decision to the North Carolina General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by July 15. The General Assembly will ultimately approve the summative assessments used by the state's public schools. These tests are to be nationally normed, aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and field tested. We will keep you posted as this process evolves.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. March 13 is Digital Learning Day
  2. March 6 is Last Day to Comment on Proposed Amendments to Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities
  3. Create a “my Social Security” Account
  4. Parents and Education Stakeholders Invited to Give Feedback on English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards
  5. High-Quality, Free Instructional Resources
  6. NCVPS Offers Professional Learning Course
  7. Engaging Students in Secondary Math
  8. NC Middle Level Education Conference Scheduled for March
  9. Cabarrus County Schools’ Students Receive National Volunteer Award

March 13 is Digital Learning Day

Help us make a difference in education by joining the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Digital Learning Day nationwide celebratory event on March 13! This nationwide celebration, started in 2012, is a great way to highlight innovative teaching and learning. This day is set aside to promote "the effective use of modern day tools afforded to every other industry to improve the learning experience in K-12 public schools."

In today's interconnected world, the way students learn is increasingly reliant on digital technologies. This doesn't just mean having the newest resources and gadgets, it means fully integrating digital learning throughout the entire educational experience. In order to fully prepare students for success in college and career, schools and libraries everywhere need to embrace digital learning. We can't prepare every child for the digital future without your support. Help us build the wave of innovation this March 13 by ensuring every child has the opportunity to learn in an innovative, digital environment.

In addition to the national celebration of Digital Learning Day, the NCDPI has once again partnered with the NC School Library Media Association and the NC Technology in Education Society to offer a statewide NC Digital Learning Day Contest to highlight innovative digital learning in schools across the state. We are looking for examples of innovative digital learning. All approaches, grade levels, subject areas, geographic locations and levels of expertise are welcome. To find out how you can participate, visit NCDPI’s Digital Learning Day wiki page. All entries must be submitted by Friday, March 6.

March 6 is Last Day to Comment on Proposed Amendments to Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities

March 6 is the last day to submit comments 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 are available for review at the NCDPI Exceptional Children Division office (Education Building, Raleigh), and on the web at When submitting 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 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.

Create a “my Social Security” Account

Anyone over 18 may create a “my Social Security” account where you can access your Social Security Statement to check your earnings and get your benefit estimates. You also can change your address and phone number, start or change your direct deposit, and get your benefit verification letter. To sign up, visit then select “Create An Account” to get started.

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 until April 30. To read more about the survey, please visit and click on the appropriate link under “News.” We would appreciate your assistance in highlighting this survey to your parents and school community.

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

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

NCVPS Offers Professional Learning Course

Teachers: have you ever questioned the relevance and rigor of online and blended courses in comparison to brick-and-mortar courses? Do you believe that online courses create an environment where learners simply read content and click “next”? Do you believe that online courses produce an environment where relationships cannot be developed and connected to the learning? If so, you will want to register for Shattering the Myths of Online and Blended Learning, a six-week, facilitator-led, professional learning course now available through the North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS). Join NCVPS staff as they shatter nine myths of online and blended learning. Two session dates are available. To register, visit Contact Don Lourcey at for questions or comments.

Engaging Students in Secondary Math

Learn how to reconnect your students to a subject that is relevant and important for their future productivity and well-being. The program (number 13893) will run April 27-May 1 in Ocracoke. NCCAT (North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching) covers lodging, meals and programming. Participants are responsible for travel cost and substitute teaching fees. For more information on how to apply, visit

NC Middle Level Education Conference Scheduled for March

Registration is now open for the 40th Annual NC Middle Level Education Conference, “Accelerating Achievement in the Middle,” scheduled for March 15-17 at the Koury Convention Center/Sheraton Four Seasons, Greensboro. The conference has over 140 breakout sessions focused on strategies that can be taken and put into play immediately. Participants can earn up to 1.5 CEU in a specific strand – Math, English Language Arts, Reading, Science, or Social Studies as well as a full two hours of renewal credit by completing the content-specific renewal credit module at no additional cost. Visit for conference details, including registration.

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.