FEBRUARY 13, 2014 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages
Concerns about teacher pay, working conditions and the teaching profession in general are the focus of many this week. The Emerging Issues Forum held earlier this week in Raleigh brought hundreds of people together to hear from national and state experts on these issues. The Raleigh News & Observer on Sunday published an article that gave voice to the concerns that many of you have on these issues, and General Assembly leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory announced a proposal on Monday to begin to address teacher pay. It is hard to predict exactly how North Carolina's lawmakers will meet these challenges, but at least the challenges are being acknowledged. As I told the News & Observer, it is not in our best interest to have a teacher workforce that is a revolving door. Students need stability in the classroom, and teachers deserve North Carolinians' respect and support, both financially and in many other ways.
- State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
- Read to Achieve Advisory Committee Recommendations
- Home Base Weekly Webinars Reminder
- North Carolina Teacher Standards and Evaluation Process: Facilitated Course for Educators
- Arts Education, ESL, Student Support Services (Counseling) and World Languages Regional Training Opportunities
- Arts and the Common Core: Integrating with Common Core State Standards for ELA
- Governor Proclaims February Black History Month
- Schools and Districts to Recognize Drivers and Love the Bus in February
- NC Reading Conference Set for March
- Mathematics Conference Accepting Speaker Proposals
At last week's State Board of Education meeting, members approved the staff recommendation that schools continue to use current state tests for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, and that they establish an advisory group to help determine testing in future years. Board members also approved locally developed alternative tests for the General Assembly's Read to Achieve law with the stipulations that the requests be approved by the local board of education and contain a statement verifying that the local board has determined that the alternative assessments are valid and reliable. A summary of Board actions is posted online at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/minutes-actions/sbe-actions/2014-actions.
In late January, State Superintendent June Atkinson and two local superintendents presented to the General Assembly's Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations Committee on what the Department and local districts were doing to implement its Read to Achieve law. On Friday, Jan. 31, the State Superintendent's Read to Achieve Advisory Group met and received information about the law and its requirements, discussed concerns about the impact of the law on the classroom and agreed to several recommendations to the General Assembly to improve the law. Among the recommendations: reduce the number of required passages in the portfolio option, provide flexibility to local school districts regarding details of the summer reading camps, allow school districts to have balanced school calendars to avoid summer reading losses, treat charter schools and non-charter public schools equitably, and count the 2013-14 school year as a trial run year only for Read to Achieve.
Following are the Home Base and Instructional Improvement System online professional development opportunities for teachers. On Tuesday, Feb. 25, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m., staff will provide opportunities to explore the Online Evaluation Tool: Getting Started for New Teachers. Webinar topics include learning targets, reviewing the new NCEES platform and terminology, reviewing professional development plan types and teacher plan types, and demonstrations on how to complete the teacher self-assessment, initial professional development plan and formal observation. To register for this webinar, please visit http://ncees.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/Upcoming+Webinars.
Due to continuing demand, NCDPI's Educator Effectiveness staff will offer two additional sessions of the six-week, facilitator-led online course: North Carolina Teacher Standards and the Evaluation Process. This course, provides an in-depth look at the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards and will help educators understand their role in the new evaluation process as well as deepen their understanding of the six professional teaching standards.
The course is available at no cost to North Carolina educators and will be facilitated by DPI professionals. The course is completed entirely online. Each session will start and end on specific dates. Participants are expected to meet all weekly deadlines in order to receive CEUs. Partial credit will not be given. Each session will take approximately 20 hours to complete, and educators will earn 2.0 CEUs upon successful completion. LearnNC will host the sessions. Educators should visit www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/7698 to register for a session. (If clicking on the link does not take you to the site, please cut and paste the URL address into the web browser address window.) Registration is now open for the Feb. 12-March 25 session and the Feb. 19-April 1 session. There is a limit of 35 participants per session.
Arts Education, ESL, Student Support Services (Counseling) and World Languages Regional Training Opportunities
NCDPI's K-12 Program Areas include Arts Education (Dance, Music, Theatre Arts, Visual Arts), English as a Second Language/Title III, Student Support Services, and World Languages. All areas will be conducting RttT regional training February - April. Please visit http://www.ncpublicschools.org/profdev/calendar/ to view the trainings for your region. Registration is handled through the Regional Education Service Alliances (RESAs) and the NCDPI Regional Professional Development Leaders. Your local contact is the RttT Coordinator or contact person for the Summer Institute Leadership team. For more information about the K-12 Program Areas, please contact Christie Lynch Ebert at email@example.com.
Presented by the A+ Schools Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, this hands-on seminar will help K-8 Educators to: Imagine the possibilities when you bring the arts - visual arts, dance, theatre and music - together with Common Core State Standards for English-Language Arts. Investigate strategies for engaging your students in deep and meaningful processes as they creatively explore connections between the arts and the non-arts content. Construct lesson plans and gather ideas and resources for enhancing your language arts instruction. Reflect on your comfort with the arts and build your tool box of instructional strategies that support arts integration. Since 1995, schools in the A+ Network have been using the arts as a catalyst for creating connections and making schools engaging, meaningful and enjoyable places to teach and learn. This session will take place in Region 3 on Feb. 26 and in Region 7 on March 28. It is open to all K-8 grade educators (all disciplines). Registration is handled through the Regional Education Service Alliances. For more information, contact Michelle Burrows, director of the A+ Schools Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed February as Black History month in recognition of the many contributions African Americans have made to our state and country. In addition, this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964.
The wheels on the bus could not go "round and round" without the bus drivers who navigate North Carolina's roads to make sure students get to and from school safely each day. That is why State Superintendent June Atkinson is encouraging parents, teachers, school leaders and students to recognize these drivers during the national Love the Bus month in February. In addition, Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed Feb. 10-14 as "School Bus Driver Appreciation Week" in North Carolina and he urges all school communities and citizens to support the Love the Bus program and to recognize the excellence of the state's school bus drivers and their record of safety. State Superintendent June Atkinson also is encouraging parents, teachers, school leaders and students to recognize these drivers during the national Love the Bus month in February.
The 45th NC Reading Conference, "Pathways to Literacy: Looking Back to Move Forward," will be held March 16-18 at the Raleigh Convention Center. The conference has a strong focus on elements of the Common Core State Standards and includes sessions by DPI staff. Teachers can earn up to 1.5 reading CEUs for attending. Visit www.ncreading.org for details.
Interested in presenting at the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCCTM) 44th Annual State Mathematics Conference? Then hop on over to the NCCTM website at www.tinyurl.com/NCCTM2014 for presentation information. The conference is being held Oct. 30-31 at the Koury Convention Center, Greensboro. This year's theme is Big Ideas for Teaching and Learning Mathematics. The submission deadline is May 15.