MESSAGES 2015 :: MAY 11, 2015

MAY 11, 2015

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, May 11, 2015

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I hope you are as pleased as I am by the news you received on Friday regarding the opportunity to cover access to all of Home Base as well as the needed Canvas LMS licenses that you need for only $1 per student in ADM. This is a great price for high-quality learning resources for teachers and students, and I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. This is one of the final benefits to be realized from North Carolina's Race to the Top grant.

On a personal note, I want to commend your leadership teams, your schools and you for making the most of the opportunities that Race to the Top has provided to North Carolina's K-12 school system over the past five years. When I think back to 2010 and consider everything that has been accomplished, it is one of the most productive times I can recall in public education in our state. We were very fortunate to have been poised to compete for this grant and to be one of the few states to receive one.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

May 8, 2015
(doc, 91kb)

Locally-Developed Assessments
(pdf, 44kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Legislative Webinar Scheduled for Friday
  3. School Floor Plan Schematic
  4. Input Sought on Locally Developed Assessments for Educator Effectiveness
  5. New Collaboration Provides NC Educators a Voice on What Works In Education Technology
  6. EVAAS Meetings for Inquiring Teachers
  7. Free Personalized Learning Workshops for Educators: Using Digital Tools to Improve Instruction in your Classroom and Beyond!
  8. NCVPS Offers Peer Tutoring Program
  9. BB&T Leadership Institute

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

At last week's State Board of Education meeting, members approved grants that support school nutrition equipment and existing and initial funding of math/science partnerships, the Global-Ready District designation and rubric, the 2015 Textbook Adoption process, and waivers for LEA-wide weather-related calendars, Analysis of Student Work and North Carolina Final Exams. Among the Board's discussion items were recommendations for changes to policies governing services for children with disabilities, revisions to the Annual Performance Standards under the READY accountability model, and the NC Charter School Advisory Board charter recommendations to grant 18 charter applicants approval to proceed with their planning year in 2015-16. A complete list of Board actions is available online at

Legislative Webinar Scheduled for Friday

There will be a Legislative Update webinar held this Friday, May 15, beginning at 11 a.m. To register, please visit Once registered, you will receive an email with participation instructions.

School Floor Plan Schematic

Please be sure that your LEA has furnished emergency response information for your schools to the Department of Public Safety's Division of Emergency Management and to local emergency services agencies. This submission is required under North Carolina law, and Dr. Ben Matthews recently sent reminders to those of you who have not yet complied with this requirement. It is important to have these tasks completed since this could impede your being able to establish or generate School Risk Management Plans. If you need additional information, please review the documents on the School Planning section's website pages 29-30, and pages 33-39.

Input Sought on Locally Developed Assessments for Educator Effectiveness

Last week, the State Board of Education discussed a proposed policy regarding educator effectiveness issues that would provide LEAs the option of developing their own final exams using proposed criteria (attached). The entire Board agenda item -TCP 5 - Revision to Teacher Evaluation Policy - is online at If you have feedback about this policy, please send your feedback to Tom Tomberlin at Please note that under this proposed policy Standard 6 could not be used to terminate teacher contracts.

New Collaboration Provides NC Educators a Voice on What Works In Education Technology

In order to make the best decisions possible for centralized technology tools, the NCDPI is collaborating with Lea(R)n, a North Carolina based education innovation firm, to empower any educator in the state to share insights on any digital classroom technologies.,combines educators' rapid insights with multiple data sources, to help us improve instructional and budget decisions, especially as North Carolina schools, LEAs and the state overall are investing in new digital learning tools. Any educator can access and provide feedback to help us make better decisions about the tools and resources we provide to NC educators, including the products included now with Home Base. Plus, they also will have access to an online community of educators to share best practices and expand their own professional learning community. While there is no requirement for educators to participate, the more teachers provide feedback through this tool, the more useful it will be. The team at Lea(R)n, led by former NC educator and administrator Karl Rectanus, is available to answer technical questions and offer online training/support for your educators. A pilot of the Lea(R)n platform with the NC Governor's Teacher Network last fall found that the Lea(R)n platform provided an efficient and effective way to evaluate learning tools. Insights from educators in your LEA are automatically de-identified, so the NCDPI team members can make data-driven decisions about technology and related efforts.

EVAAS Meetings for Inquiring Teachers

Many LEAs asked Department staff to host some regional sessions where teachers may attend to receive information and ask questions about EVAAS. Below are the session dates; and we ask that you make sure your LEA is represented. The sessions begin at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. Lunch is provided. Your teachers may register for the session that best fits his or her schedule. Registration is limited so early sign-up is encouraged.
Monday, June 15
Greenville Hilton Hotel
207 Greenville Blvd SW, Greenville
Wednesday, June 17
Durham Hilton Hotel
3800 Hillsborough Rd., Durham
Friday, June 19
Crowne Plaza Hotel
1385 Lenoir Rhyne Blvd SE, Hickory, NC 28602
To register, please visit

Free Personalized Learning Workshops for Educators: Using Digital Tools to Improve Instruction in your Classroom and Beyond!

Beginning in July, the NCDPI will be able to utilize remaining RttT funds to provide principals and teachers with a series of free, day-long professional learning sessions featuring digital tools to improve instruction in the classroom.

NCVPS Offers Peer Tutoring Program

Did you know that NCVPS has a nationally recognized peer tutoring program? The NCVPS Peer Tutoring Center is staffed by student volunteers who have proven themselves in the online classroom. Peer tutoring teacher mentors match student tutors with students who are under performing or are new to online learning. The Peer Tutoring Center offers three levels of support:

  • Peer Tutoring - Peer tutors provide tutoring in specific content areas.
  • Virtual Buddy - Virtual Buddies are student volunteers who have agreed to work with NCVPS students who need more than content help in their online classes.
  • Quick Questions - Services are available to all students at the start of the semester to help

Peer tutors go through an extensive application and interview process before they are selected as tutors. Tutoring takes place in a secure online environment that is monitored by NCVPS teachers.

BB&T Leadership Institute

BB&T is offering a tuition-free Leadership Development Institute for North Carolina public school principals and central office leaders. Over 100 North Carolina principals have completed Mastering Leadership Dynamics for Educational Leaders - a highly experiential program where participants engage in learning how beliefs drive behaviors, and ultimately create results. Each has walked away equipped to make a significant difference in their leadership – and in their schools. Several sessions of the workshop are scheduled this summer and throughout the 2015-16 school year. This program is a perfect complement to your existing professional and leadership development initiatives, and also stands on its own as an effective way to focus on the one constant in every leadership interaction – YOU! For additional information or to register, please contact Ros Guerrie at or visit the BB&T website at A special invitation for those who have already attended: don't forget to register for Leading Change with Purpose, the first in a series of summer leadership development workshops at The BB&T Leadership Institute. The BB&T Leadership Institute is honored to support your contribution to developing and shaping the future of our children by providing these leadership development experiences tuition-free!