MESSAGES 2015 :: JULY 13, 2015

JULY 13, 2015

Weekly Message for Superintendents: Monday, Jul. 13, 2015

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Thank you to those of you who were able to join us earlier today to hear about the Proof of Concept study that the State Board of Education approved last week. Our Accountability division staff are notifying the districts that have participating schools and there will be additional professional development for those teachers coming soon. We also will discuss this at the next superintendents' meeting at the Financial and Business Services conference in the Research Triangle Park on July 23. I think it is important to note that even though our representative sample of schools does not include every district that volunteered to develop an alternative assessment plan, we are inviting all of those 15 districts to participate in the process even if we do not include all volunteer schools data in our analyses. This study is a major step forward and I look forward to seeing the results of this work next summer.

June Atkinson
State Superintendent

July 10, 2015
(doc, 80kb)

EdSphere Subscription
(pdf, 242kb)

HB Update
(pdf, 295kb)

In this Weekly Superintendents' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. NCDPI Requests Waiver to Title I, Part A, School Improvement Grants Section 1003(G) Tydings Amendment
  3. EdSphere Subscriptions Still Available
  4. Section 504 Training Reminder
  5. NCVPS Schedules Open House
  6. NC Informational Module for National Board Certification™
  7. State Board of Education Approves School Bus Policy Revisions
  8. NC Charter Schools Advisory Board Meets Friday
  9. Finance Officers' Newsletter Online

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

State Board members held their July meeting via conference call last Thursday and approved a new standard hand signal bus drivers will be required to use (starting Jan. 1, 2016) to tell students when a street is safe to cross (see item below). Members also approved Career and Technical Education licensure requirements, the NCDPI Proof of Concept study and field testing in special studies for the 2015-16 school year. In addition, Board members accepted a number of reports including the Annual Reports from the Advisory Councils for the Residential Schools, the Task Force on Summative Assessment Final Report and Recommendations and reports to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on public school procurement of information technology and assessments. For a complete list of Board actions, visit

NCDPI Requests Waiver to Title I, Part A, School Improvement Grants Section 1003(G) Tydings Amendment

Notice is hereby given that the NCDPI will submit a request for a waiver of section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) (the "Tydings Amendment") as it affects the authority of the NCDPI and its sub-recipients to obligate fiscal year FY 2014 School Improvement Grant (SIG) 1003(g) funds after Sept. 30, 2015. Specifically, the NCDPI is requesting that the authority to obligate funds for the state-administered Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) programs listed below be extended to Sept. 30, 2016.

- CFDA 84.377A School Improvement Grants - This request to extend the waiver, submitted pursuant to section 9401(d)(2) of the ESEA, would permit the NCDPI in accordance with criteria the NCDPI develops, to identify and allow local education agencies (LEAs) with continuing and new SIG schools additional time to expend FY 2014 SIG funds in those schools. Continued use of available funds will allow LEAs to fully implement one of four rigorous intervention models to significantly turnaround the school. The state believes that the requested waiver will increase the quality of instruction for students, improve the academic achievement of students, and continue to assist the same populations served by the programs for which the waiver is being requested in accordance with applicable program requirements.

The public is invited to review and comment on the waivers being requested by July 24. Interested persons may present their written comments to: Donna Brown, director, Federal Program Monitoring and Support, NC Department of Public Instruction , 6351 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6351 or by email,

EdSphere Subscriptions Still Available

At the June 29 Asheville Superintendents' Quarterly meeting, superintendents were informed (also handout in packet) that student software subscriptions for EdSphere were available free of charge for those students who have not shown proficiency on the third grade reading standards for the 2014-15 school year. Students who have been retained in the third grade or students with the retained reading label who will be placed in the 3/4 transitional or 4th grade accelerated classes are eligible. There are still some subscriptions available and NCDPI staff have not heard from all school districts about accessing this software, which has evidence of helping to improve reading achievement. Please open the attachment for more information on EdSphere. If you have additional questions, please contact Carolyn Guthrie at Also, as a reminder, all handouts for the June 29 Superintendents' Quarterly meeting as well as for previous meetings are available online at

Section 504 Training Reminder

This is a reminder that the NCDPI is offering a Section 504 Training session on Monday, July 27. The meeting will be held from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., at the Jane S. McKimmon Conference Center, 1101 Gorman Street, Raleigh. U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights staff will conduct the training. Each local education agency and charter school may send two representatives to participate. To register for the event, click HERE. If you have any questions about this meeting, please contact Ken Kitch at

NCVPS Schedules Open House

Learn more about the North Carolina Virtual Public School during its annual summer open house on Thursday, July 30. The event is tailored for parents and students, but educators are welcome to attend. The event will be hosted online. Access to the open house will be sent after registration. Visit to register.

NC Informational Module for National Board Certification™

North Carolina continues to lead the nation in the number teachers with National Board certification. Educators considering National Board certification™ can start their exploration with this new mini-module, which will help them determine their readiness for the certification process, guide them through the new certification requirements, and equip them to complete Components 1 and 2 of the process. A follow-up mini-module will be available when new guidelines for Components 3 and 4 are released. For a complete list of online courses, modules and mini modules, visit or look under the Professional Development tab in Home Base.

  • Log in to the NCEES system using your usual PowerSchool log in or the alternate log in
  • Click the Professional Development tab.
  • Search for the course, or list all opportunities to find the course for which you wish to register.
  • Click on the course title, you are then presented with the course screen. Click on the section.
  • Click on the register button.

Directions on how to register also are available at

State Board of Education Approves School Bus Policy Revisions

In the 2014-15 academic year alone, five North Carolina students were injured by motorists passing stopped school buses. That is one reason why the N.C. State Board of Education has revised its bus safety policy to require a standard hand signal bus drivers will use to tell students when a street is safe to cross. The Board approved the revision at its meeting last week. To read more, visit and select the appropriate link under "News."

NC Charter Schools Advisory Board Meets Friday

The North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board will meet Friday, July 17, from 10-11:30 a.m., via conference call. The meeting will originate from the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, Raleigh. Agenda items include a discussion of the subcommittee's recommendation regarding reconsideration of Pine Springs Preparatory Academy and Cape Fear Preparatory Academy charter applications and a discussion of Haliwa-Saponi academic data. The meeting will be audio streamed for those who cannot attend. To listen, use the Live Audio Stream link at

Finance Officers' Newsletter Online

he July 10 edition of the Finance Officers' newsletter is online and contains the following item: School Bus Safety Policy. To read more, please go to the NCDPI's Financial and Business Services Web site at and click on Resources, then Newsletters.