MESSAGES 2013 :: JANUARY 24, 2013

JANUARY 24, 2013 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

Next week, lawmakers return to Raleigh for the 2013 session of the General Assembly. This year, there are many new faces among them, and with that will be new ideas and energy and new opportunities to inform General Assembly members about how public schools work, how state funds benefit students and how our schools are performing. There is much good news to share. If you are seeking a quick handout that summarizes successes of our public schools, please go to www.ncpublicschools.org and look under Highlights for the one-pager, How do NC Public Schools Measure Up? It captures many reasons to be proud of the work you do every day with students. I hope you will use this and other information about your local successes and needs when you have the opportunity to meet lawmakers in your communities. Your perspective is valuable.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. Reminder: Online Module for Scoring the Performance Items on the Measures of Student Learning: NC's Common Exams Now Available
  2. Common Core: Making the Shifts
  3. New Guides Support Common Core State Standards Implementation
  4. Regional Teachers of the Year Announced
  5. Digital Learning Day (Feb. 6) 2013
  6. Spring Holocaust Teacher Workshops

Reminder: Online Module for Scoring the Performance Items on the Measures of Student Learning: NC's Common Exams Now Available

The online module on scoring the performance items on the Measures of Student Learning: NC's Common Exams is now live in NC Education at https://center.ncsu.edu/nc/course/view.php?id=167311. Clicking on that link will take the user to NC Education, but he or she will need to sign in to access the course. Another way to access the module is to log into NC Education, then search using the title "MSL Grades 9-12."

The module includes a general section that all teachers should complete and then a specific section for each content area: English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. A teacher can print a certificate of completion after each section. Prior to the release of the module, the NCDPI recommends that districts consider how teachers should complete the module. Some districts may want teachers to complete all of the sections, while others may only require them to complete the section on their own content area. Please email educatoreffectiveness@dpi.nc.gov with questions.

Common Core: Making the Shifts

Teachers must have a full understanding of the Common Core State Standards if they are to properly implement them in the classroom, writes Sandra Alberti, director of State and District Partnerships and Professional Development for Student Achievement Partners. In English language arts, this means three shifts, one of which is a greater focus on building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction, besides literature. For math, it means a shift to a deeper focus on a smaller number of topics and a deeper command of mathematical concepts. To read more, please visit www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/dec12/vol70/num04/Making-the-Shifts.aspx .

New Guides Support Common Core State Standards Implementation

Achieve, in partnership with College Summit, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, has released a series of action briefs on the role of school counselors, secondary school leaders and elementary school leaders in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Based on feedback from school leaders who expressed a need for more guidance, the action briefs outline strategies and techniques that can be used within schools by school leaders to prepare their schools, teachers and students for the standards and upcoming new assessments. The three released action briefs are:

  • Implementing the Common Core State Standards: The Role of the Elementary School Leader Action Brief;
  • Implementing the Common Core State Standards: The Role of the Secondary School Leader Action Brief; and
  • Implementing the Common Core State Standards: The Role of the School Counselor Action Brief.

All are available at no charge in the Publications section at www.achieve.org .

Regional Teachers of the Year Announced

Congratulations to the following nine teachers who were recently selected to represent their regions and charter schools as the state's regional Teachers of the Year and will now compete for the title of 2013-14 North Carolina Teacher of the Year. The winner will succeed the 2012-13 North Carolina Teacher of the Year Darcy Grimes, a third grade teacher at Bethel Elementary School (Watauga County Schools). North Carolina Regional Teachers of the Year are:

  • North Central Region: Thomas McGeachy, Weldon STEM High (Weldon City Schools);
  • Northeast Region: Pamela Mills, First Flight Middle (Dare County Schools);
  • Northwest Region: Christopher Petree, Starmount High (Yadkin County Schools);
  • Southeast Region: Carrie Morris, Swansboro Elementary (Onslow County Schools);
  • Southwest Region: Julian Wilson, York Chester Middle (Gaston County Schools);
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Shannon Godfrey, Harnett Central High (Harnett County Schools);
  • Piedmont-Triad/Central Region: Karyn Dickerson, Grimsley High (Guilford County Schools);
  • West Region: Jill Francis, Chase High (Rutherford County Schools); and
  • Charter Schools: Jan Adams, Arts Based Elementary (Forsyth County).

The 2013-14 North Carolina Teacher of the Year will be announced in early May at an awards ceremony in Raleigh.

Digital Learning Day (Feb. 6) 2013

The NCDPI, NCTIES and NCSLMA, in partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education led by West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, are pleased to announce our participation in the Digital Learning Day campaign. This national campaign is designed to celebrate innovative teaching and highlight practices that make learning more personalized and engaging for students and explore how digital learning can provide all students with the opportunities they deserve and to build the skills they need to succeed in college, career and life. Through this campaign, we hope to build momentum for a wave of innovation that changes policies, shifts attitudes, and supports wide-scale adoption of these promising instructional practices. This year, our partnership with NCTIES and NCSLMA includes a contest for submitting videos that highlight what innovative digital learning looks like for North Carolina's students. Please spread the word and visit http://it.ncwiseowl.org/resources/digital_learning_day for more information.

Spring Holocaust Teacher Workshops

These one-day, multi-county workshops are for middle and high school social studies and English/Language Arts public school teachers. Workshops presenters include Dr. Karl Schleunes, UNC-G historian and Holocaust scholar, and one of the following Holocaust survivors: Hank Brodt, a Holocaust survivor who recounts his experiences in six concentration camps; Morris Glass, a survivor of Nazi ghettoes and camps including Auschwitz and Dachau; Manfred Katz, a slave laborer in two concentration camps; or Zohara Boyd, a survivor who "hid in plain sight" during the Holocaust. Participants receive a copy of The Holocaust: a North Carolina Teacher's Resource, a guide for teaching about the Holocaust at middle and high school levels. There is no cost to attend the workshop and substitute pay is provided for all teachers attending. Space is limited so prompt registration is encouraged. Workshop dates and locations are as follows: Feb. 11, Lincolnton (Lincoln County); Feb. 20, Lumberton (Robeson County); Feb. 26, Eden (Rockingham County); March 13, Monroe (Union County); and March 22, Morganton (Burke County). For additional information, including registration, please e-mail Linda Scher at Brisket234@aol.com .