MESSAGES 2015 :: JUNE 4, 2015

JUNE 4, 2015 - Principals' Biweekly Message

Congratulations on successfully completing the 2014-15 school year. When we reach this point in the year, I am always reminded of the idea that the days sometimes are long but the years are short. It barely seems possible that an entire school year has been completed again. Over the past year, you and your faculty members have done an incredible job of educating North Carolina’s children and youth. In fact, I recently sent nearly 90 letters to schools that made high growth and yet received Ds or Fs under the school performance grades. In these schools’ cases, the letter grades are not sufficient to describe the good work underway for students. I think it is important to recognize that despite the grades provided by our required accountability model, many of our schools that received low grades are doing an outstanding job with students who have many learning needs. As the General Assembly session continues, we continue to underscore this important distinction. As you head into summer, please watch your email for legislative updates and remember that your voice is powerful. If you have the opportunity, be sure to let your lawmakers know what it takes for your school to be successful.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Public School Educator Effectiveness Data Available
  3. New Collaboration Provides NC Educators a Voice on What Works In Education Technology
  4. NC Public School Students, Staff Earn 200,000 Microsoft Certifications
  5. NCVPS Expands Middle School Catalog
  6. Frank Porter Graham Offers New Online Courses That Focus on Inclusion
  7. Register Open for NCPAPA Summer Symposium

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

At today’s meeting, State Board of Education members approved 12 charter schools to begin a planning year and potentially open in the fall of 2016. Members also approved grants from USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for 196 elementary schools across the state, revisions to the annual performance standards under the READY accountability model and the school calendar for the NC Residential Schools for the Deaf and Blind. In addition, Board members discussed changes to policy governing school bus passengers, new licensure areas for Institution of Higher Education programs and Career and Technical Education licensure requirements. A complete list of this month’s Board actions are posted at

Public School Educator Effectiveness Data Available

Summary results of teacher and administrator educator effectiveness data for the 2013-14 school year are available online at It is important to note that the data reported is in aggregate or summary form only. The reports do not include information on individual teachers or administrators. Such data is considered confidential personnel information.

The evaluation results for teachers are presented at the school, district and state levels only. The results for administrators (principals and assistant principals) are presented at the district and state levels only. A minimum of five administrators in one district must have been evaluated on any standard in order for aggregate results to be reported at the district and state levels. A minimum of five teachers in a school must have been evaluated on any one standard in order for aggregate results to be reported at the school, district and state levels.

The online data display is intended to provide a resource that is user-friendly and accessible so that parents, educators and members of the school community can see data reflecting the effectiveness of instruction in the school. This information also can illustrate how schools and districts are using evaluation data to ensure a stronger teaching and administrative staff.

Questions regarding the evaluation reports or for the process for their release can be sent to

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. The research-backed, online platform at combines educators' rapid insights with multiple data sources to help 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 the site and provide feedback about the tools and resources provided to NC educators, including the products on Home Base. Plus, educators also will have access to an online community to share best practices and expand their own professional learning community. While there is no requirement for educators to participate, the more teachers who 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 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 are automatically de-identified, so that NCDPI team members can make data-driven decisions about technology and related efforts.

NC Public School Students, Staff Earn 200,000 Microsoft Certifications

Nearly five years after the launch of the nation's first statewide Microsoft IT Academy, North Carolina students and teachers have earned more than 200,000 professional certifications through this innovative program. State Superintendent June Atkinson today joined State Board of Education members, teachers, students, legislators and others in celebrating this milestone at the State Board of Education meeting in Raleigh. Eighteen North Carolina high school students who earned top honors in the 2015 NC Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) competition also were recognized. To learn more, visit and select the appropriate link under “News.”

NCVPS Expands Middle School Catalog

The NC Virtual Public School middle school catalog has expanded and will now offer four middle school courses beginning this fall:

  • Middle School Creative Writing
  • Visual Arts Specialization (6-8): Middle School Art
  • Visual Arts Specialization (6-8): Middle School Discovering Photography
  • Middle School Success 101

Middle school students still have access to high school courses, but these four courses are designed with middle school curriculum and will be taught by certified middle school teachers. Each course has approximately five hours of work each week. Students will have access from school and home. To view the course descriptions, please visit

Frank Porter Graham Offers New Online Courses That Focus on Inclusion

With the recent release of the new draft federal policy statement promoting more inclusion in early childhood education, it has never been more important to understand evidence-based practices that support inclusion. The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute has just launched a free introductory online course on inclusion, along with seven low-cost courses for CEUs. These are all self-paced, self-guided courses, available through FPG’s non-profit professional development center, and each course presents practices that promote inclusion based on a wide review of research and expertise. You can read more and register for courses online at

Register Open for NCPAPA Summer Symposium

As a reminder, the NCPAPA Summer Symposium, High Impact Strategies for Improving Teacher Quality, will be held July 20-22 at The New Hanover Executive Development Center, Wilmington. This conference will identify and explore the 23 themes of skillful teaching. School leaders will learn to use the “Artisan Themes” to enhance observation, feedback and coaching of teachers. Teachers will benefit through gaining insights for instructional improvement. Each participant will receive a copy of The Artisan Teacher: A Field Guide to Skillful Teaching. There is a registration fee for NCPAPA members and non-members. To register, please visit