MESSAGES 2012 :: MAY 10, 2012

MAY 10, 2012 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I hope you have felt appreciated and thanked with cards, notes, flowers and other gestures of kindness from your students, their families and your school community. Teachers occupy a special place in our society and in people's lives. If you ask an adult about the people who made a difference in their lives, you rarely hear people mention their accountant, their plumber, their grocer, or their auto mechanic. And, yes, I know that all of the work those people do is important, but is it life-changing every day? Teachers are life-changers. You create opportunities for youngsters to become what they want to become. That's why adults remember their teachers, and that's why your role in our society is unlike any other. As we move toward the short legislative session next week, we will continue to highlight the needs of teachers in North Carolina. It is not enough to say thank you. It is important to provide you with the proper support that you need to be your best. Thank you for your work, for your dedication and for your commitment to your students.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board Meeting Highlights
  2. NC FALCON Formative Assessment Series: Webinar No. 3: Learning Targets for Common Core Standards
  3. NC FALCON Webinar Online
  4. Getting the Facts Straight on North Carolina Public Schools
  5. Watauga County Schools' Teacher Named Teacher of the Year
  6. Henderson County Elementary School Named 2012 Intel Schools of Distinction Finalist
  7. Win a Scholastic Reading Counts! Subscription for Your School
  8. Openings are Still Available for 2012 Summer Biotechnology Workshops
  9. What Literacy Looks Like Today: The North Carolina Reading Association's Digital Photo Gallery
  10. NC Teachers to Participate in Academy to Enhance Math and Science Instruction

State Board Meeting Highlights

At last week's State Board of Education meeting, members approved the State Literacy Plan, the RttT Teacher Preparation Report Card (Institutes of Higher Education/ABC Report Card), and changes to the Academic Scholars Program so that it aligns with the Future-Ready Core graduation requirements. Board members also heard two presentations from Duke University students from the Sanford School of Public Policy on North Carolina middle schools' strategies for success and the effectiveness of the North Carolina Virtual Public School. A summary of Board action items, the full agenda and executive materials are available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/stateboard/meetings .

NC FALCON Formative Assessment Series

Webinar No. 3: Learning Targets for Common Core Standards - The third webinar in NCDPI's NC FALCON Formative Assessment Series, "Learning Targets for Common Core Standards," will be held Thursday, May 17, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Surry County teachers have written Common Core State Standards as Learning Targets based on NC FALCON principles and they want to share how they did it! Join Surry County Associate Superintendent Pat Widdowson and educators from Dobson Elementary School (Jan Varney, principal; Nicole Hazelwood, 5th grade; and Lori Beasley, 4th grade) to learn more about how the entire Surry County school district prepared for this big event. The teachers will share their experiences with using learning targets and gathering evidences of success in their classrooms. Join them May 17 to learn more about how to wow students with clear learning targets written in student friendly language. To register, please visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/241515225 . After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar. Questions regarding the webinar may be directed to Carmella Fair at Carmella.Fair@dpi.nc.gov.

NC FALCON Webinar Online

The second NC FALCON webinar in the Department's formative assessment series, "Collecting Evidence of Student Learning," that was held Friday, April 27, is now available online at http://center.ncsu.edu/nc under Additional Resources. The webinar features Amanda Horne, a teacher from Cumberland County, who shared successful strategies to collect evidence of student learning and details on how to plan for adjusting instruction based on the evidence. If you have any questions, please contact Carmella Fair at Carmella.Fair@dpi.nc.gov.

Getting the Facts Straight on North Carolina Public Schools

In her latest blog, "Can You See the Great Wall from Space?" State Superintendent June Atkinson discusses the importance of ensuring citizens have their facts straight about North Carolina public schools and the need to immediately correct misinformation. Her latest blog is available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/statesuperintendent/blog.

Watauga County Schools' Teacher Named NC Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Darcy Grimes, a third grade teacher at Bethel Elementary School (Watauga County Schools) who last week was named the 2012-13 North Carolina Teacher of the Year. As North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Grimes will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. She will receive an automobile to use during the year thanks to Flow Automotive in Winston- Salem, a one-time cash award of $7,500, the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment at the North Carolina Center for International Understanding, and a technology package valued at more than $11,000 from SMART Technologies. She also will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two years and as a board member for the NC Public School Forum for one year. To read more about her selection, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org and click on the appropriate link under "News."

Henderson County Elementary School Named 2012 Intel Schools of Distinction Finalist

Congratulations to Dana Elementary School (Henderson County Schools) for recently being named a 2012 Intel Schools of Distinction finalist. Dana Elementary is one of 18 schools nationwide selected for this honor and one of three elementary school finalists being honored for excellence in innovative math programs. Every year the Intel Corporation honors schools in the U.S. for demonstrating excellence in math and science education through innovative teaching and learning environments. To be considered as an Intel School of Distinction, schools must develop an environment and curricula that meet or exceed benchmarks put forth by national mathematics and science content standards. Up to three schools at each level-elementary, middle, and high school-are named as finalists in the math and science categories. Dana Elementary along with the 17 other finalists will receive a $5,000 award from the Intel Foundation and a trip to Washington, D.C. (for a four-member team from their school and district) in September, where six schools will be named Intel Schools of Distinction. These six schools will each win an additional $5,000 from the Intel Foundation and a package of goods and services with a total value of approximately $500,000 to be split among the schools.

Win a Scholastic Reading Counts! Subscription for Your School

Every spring, State Superintendent June Atkinson promotes the READ NC campaign to give principals and teachers additional tools to enable students to use Lexile measures to boost their summer reading. As a part of the campaign, Atkinson visits schools and speaks about the importance of summer reading and shares letters, fliers, bookmarks, reading certificates and other resources available on the READ NC web page (www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/lexiles) with educators, parents and librarians. This year, if you are using the READ NC materials in your classroom or school, organizing a book drive, story hour, or leading other efforts to promote summer reading, you could win a one-year subscription to the Scholastic Reading Counts! program for your school. Submit your school name and a short description of the summer reading program to sara.clark@dpi.nc.gov to enter into the drawing for a free subscription to this Lexile®-based independent reading program that tracks student success on the books they read, in and out of school. All entries should be submitted by May 31 and the winning school will be announced in June.

Openings are Still Available for 2012 Summer Biotechnology Workshops

Seats are still available for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center's 2012 Summer Biotechnology Workshops for Educators. A non-refundable $75 registration fee is required. Workshop participants receive free workshop tuition; free room and board (double-occupancy; 2 meals/day); and a $50 per day stipend. To register, please visit www.ncbiotech.org/summerworkshops .

What Literacy Looks Like Today: The North Carolina Reading Association's Digital Photo Gallery

The face of literacy is changing, and it's time to pause and take a snapshot of what that face looks like so far in the 21st century. The North Carolina Reading Association is creating an online photo gallery of people engaged in literacy activities, and you and your students can help. Consider this a great opportunity to think about the kind of literacy activities we engage in at school and in the world beyond. And, also to consider that a lifelong learner is continually developing his or her literacy so people of all ages should be included. This project also provides a "teachable moment" about copyright and Creative Commons licensing. For all the details, check out http://whatliteracylookslike.wikispaces.com . Exceptional photos may appear on the new NCRA website now under development. Please contact Cris Crissman at criscrissman@gmail.com with questions.

NC Teachers to Participate in Academy to Enhance Math and Science Instruction

Eighteen North Carolina public school teachers will participate in the 2012 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy being held July 22-27 at the Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, New Jersey. The academy is an innovative professional development program designed to enhance math and science teaching skills. The academy was developed in 2005 when ExxonMobil partnered with golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, to launch the program with the National Science Teachers Association and Math Solutions. To date, more than 3,000 teachers have been trained, benefiting more than 175,000 students nationwide. For a list of participating teachers, please visit www.sendmyteacher.com/select_teachers.htm . For more information on the Mickelson Exxon Mobil Teachers Academy, please visit www.sendmyteacher.com/learn_about_us.htm . The deadline to apply to attend next year's academy is Oct. 31.