MESSAGES 2015 :: APRIL 9, 2015

APRIL 9, 2015 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

Our state has welcomed many new teachers into the classroom since 2008 when North Carolina began developing the new standards that comprise the state’s Standard Course of Study. If you have recently entered the classroom, you may wonder where did our standards come from and how did we get to this point?

North Carolina went through a development process to identify and develop new standards in 2008, a process that took two years and involved many teachers across the state. When the State Board of Education approved the new standards in 2010, a two-year cycle of professional development was initiated before the new standards were taught in classrooms in 2012-13. With the exception of a few school districts, 10 days of professional development were made available for all teachers during 2010-11 and 2011-12.

If you read the standards, as I’m sure all of you have, you know that the standards are silent on the question of accountability measures, student assessments or data collection. While our state assessments are aligned with our standards, we have had student assessments and school accountability in place since the mid-1990s.

We commend local school districts for providing opportunities for teachers to work together in developing quality lesson plans and resources. Many of these plans and resources will soon be available in Home Base.

All of this background work is in place to ensure that North Carolina public school students benefit from a Standard Course of Study that is current and aligned with college and career expectations. If you want to read more of the history on this work, please visit

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Ashe County High School Teacher is 2015 Burroughs Wellcome Fund NC Teacher of the Year
  3. April 10 is the Deadline to Submit Application for NC Teacher Voice Network
  4. Give Five – Read Five 2015
  5. What the Best North Carolina Teachers Do: A Video Series
  6. Global Educator Digital Badge for Teachers Webinar Online
  7. Register Now for Second Annual ELL Support Conference

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

At today’s State Board meeting, members approved Race to the Top Wireless Infrastructure Initiative allocations, a policy addressing athletic injury prevention and management of athletic practices and games, the Board’s Appeals Panel recommendations regarding the revocation of charters for Children’s Village Academy and SEGS Academy, and the Charter School Advisory Board’s recommendation regarding PACE Academy. The Board also heard presentations on differentiated pay options, concussion reporting and Master Literacy training sessions. A complete list of Board actions is available online at

Ashe County High School Teacher is 2015 Burroughs Wellcome Fund NC Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Ashe County High School (Ashe County Schools) English teacher Keana Triplett who on Tuesday was named the 2015 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

In announcing this year’s recipient, State Superintendent June Atkinson said Triplett finds her teaching rewards in the success of her students. “Keana wants to be the catalyst for her students’ success in life. By getting to know her students individually, she is able to meet them where they are and lead them to where they want to go.” In accepting the award, Triplett said she wants her greatest contribution as an educator to be “showing students they are loved, valued and worthy.” She said, “Outstanding teachers know their students. They understand how each student learns and responds appropriately. They set high expectations then provide challenging, rigorous and relevant learning activities so students are engaged learners – not apathetic learners.”

As Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Triplett will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. She will receive a number of gifts including a one-year leased vehicle from Flow Automotive, LLC, a mobile device from Lenovo valued at approximately $1,600, a trip to the National Teacher of the Year Conference and International Space Camp, the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment through the North Carolina Center for International Understanding, and a technology package valued at more than $11,000 from SMART Technologies.

Congratulations also to the other regional finalists:

  • 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 8: Randy Pressley, Tuscola High (Haywood County Schools); and
  • Charter Schools: Elizabeth Padgett, Lake Norman Charter (Mecklenburg County).

April 10 is the Deadline to Submit Application for NC Teacher Voice Network

Tomorrow is the deadline for submitting applications to participate in the NC Teacher Voice Network. You may recall that the NCDPI announced a new partnership earlier this spring with the Hope Street Group, a national nonpartisan nonprofit that connects teachers directly to policymakers. The NC Teacher Voice network provides teachers with opportunities to meet leading policymakers and present them with solutions for elevating the teaching profession. Members of the network stay in their classrooms full time and work with Hope Street Group 10-15 hours each month. Network members receive a $3,500 stipend for the 12-month commitment. Teachers with interest and experience in teacher leadership and education policy are strongly encouraged to apply. For more information on the program, including a frequently asked questions page, please visit the application website at Any additional questions may be directed to Wendy Uptain, director of Teacher Engagement and Training, at or 703.755.0717.

Give Five – Read Five 2015

Earlier this week, teachers received a letter from State Superintendent June Atkinson regarding the launch of this year’s Give Five – Read Five campaign. Many teachers have already shared information with us about their efforts to increase summer reading, including building book lending libraries, encouraging high school students to collect books for local elementary schools and even organizing a “GoFundMe” campaign so that 45 first graders can take a field trip to Barnes & Noble to purchase their own books to read over the summer. Please continue to share your great work to promote summer reading with Sara Clark at Also – make sure you check out the updated Give Five – Read Five website at for resources that will help you as you conduct book drives and encourage summer reading in your classroom and school.

What the Best North Carolina Teachers Do: A Video Series

Want insight into the strategies and techniques that award-winning North Carolina teachers use in their classrooms? The video series, “What the Best North Carolina Teachers Do,” provides you with these insights, straight from the teachers themselves! District, regional and state Teachers of the Year were asked about what makes them successful and their students soar. Among the topics addressed in the series are:

  • differentiation;
  • classroom organization;
  • “hooking” reluctant learners; and
  • advice for new teachers and much more!

To find out more about the project and view the interviews, just participate in the mini-module through Home Base or visit the project website at If you are interested in sharing your best practices, please contact Educator Effectiveness Web Manager Andrew Horne at

Global Educator Digital Badge for Teachers Webinar Online

The Global Educator Digital Badge for Teachers webinar presented in January is now posted online. You can access the webinar along with the Implementation Guide and FAQS on the process at

Register Now for Second Annual ELL Support Conference

The second annual ELL (English Language Learners) Support Conference, scheduled for Aug. 3-5 in Greensboro, offers participants concurrent three-day training events. Registrants will choose one event to attend for the full three days of training. The conference includes an opening joint session where participants will explore the vision for ESL in North Carolina. There is a minimal registration fee. Please visit to register.