Weekly Message - State Superintendent June Atkinson

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Superintendents' Weekly Message

Feb. 15, 2016

June Atkinson

If your school district is affected by today’s inclement weather, I hope you are staying safe and that your students and faculty are safe, too. 


This morning, since many of NCDPI staff were iced out of the office, we met by conference call to preview the March 2-3 State Board of Education’s meeting agenda. There are many important items on the upcoming meeting agenda, and I want to draw your attention specifically to ES&P 2 - Policy Recommendations for Teacher Licensure and Evaluation Process.


This item was on the Board’s discussion agenda in February, and will be back on the Board agenda for potential action in March. News accounts of the February meeting focused on the “removal of student growth” from the teacher effectiveness model. The removal of Standard 6 does not eliminate student growth from the teacher evaluation model. Student growth continues to be a required artifact that principals will use in evaluating teacher performance. 


Currently, state law citations for student growth requirements include:

a. The General Assembly's stated intent to use, in part, student growth as part of a future performance pay plan. SL 2013-360, Section 9.5 "Pay for Excellence;" 

b. Student growth measure as requirement for "clinical educator" (i.e., supervising teacher of student teacher). SL 2015-241, Section 8.41(a) [new G.S. 115C-296.11]; and

c. Student growth as 20% of A-F School Performance Grade formula. G.S. 115C-83.15.


According to state law, the State Board of Education can no longer give waivers to its policies. That is the reason why school growth can no longer be used to give an individual teacher a student growth measure.


In addition, I want to draw your attention to the other licensure changes that are outlined in the Board item for March. The policy changes are intended to provide you with some relief from Highly Qualified requirements so that you will have a broader pool of potential teachers to hire, especially in the elementary grades. 


If you or your staff members are interested in providing us with feedback on these changes, please note that you can do so by going to www.ncpublicschools.org and clicking on Let’s Talk. In Let’s Talk, there is a dialog topic called Education Policy Feedback. Please use this tool to send me your feedback. It routes your comments directly to my office. 

June Atkinson's Signature

Panic Alarm Grants


NCDPI School Planning staff will be accepting requests for Panic Alarm Grants from new schools that did not already have panic alarms and from schools requiring additional panic alarms. Requests must be submitted by April 30Visit School Planning's website for grant request instructions and system design criteria or contact Jonathan Jones with NCDPI School Planning.

Multi-Tiered System of Support

Multi-Tiered System of Support:
Strengthening Core Instruction for All


The work of MTSS is designing a multi-tiered system of support to meet the needs of all students. In order to do this, a system must be designed that works for school staff. The District MTSS Team will guide School Leadership Teams to examine and/or select instruction and curriculum.


It is critical for these teams to make informed decisions while defining core instruction and curriculum for academics and behavior. When we think about curriculum, we think about standards and materials. The materials support students to meet those standards. When we think about behavioral standards, we start with school-wide expectations. 


Selecting practices that have the most impact on student learning and then ensuring these adopted practices can happen for all students is part of building an MTSS framework. The professional development being offered via integrated academic and behavioral systems provides resources for teams engaged in designing an MTSS for all students.


For more information on these layers of support, see this graphic or visit the MTSS wiki space. If you have questions, please contact Amy Jablonski.

NC Global Education

Global Readiness Webinar


Join NCDPI and World View staff on Tuesday, Feb. 23, from 4:30-5:30 p.m., for a webinar on the Five Levels of Global Readiness. This webinar will provide context and examples of what it means to be global-ready at the individual, classroom, school, district and state levels. Global education best practices and resources will be shared, and the State Board of Education Global Education Initiative along with other statewide global initiatives will be highlighted.


This webinar is appropriate for administrators and teachers of all disciplines and grade levels. You may register online. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email with participation instructions.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week: March 6 – 12

With winter on its way out and peak severe weather season looming, Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed March 6 – 12 as Severe Weather Preparedness Week to encourage schools, families and residents to prepare now for unpredictable, severe weather including thunderstorms.


These storms can produce damaging winds, hail, tornadoes and even flash floods. Faculty, staff and students need to know what to do in the event that a tornado touches down during school hours.


North Carolina will hold its annual tornado drill on Wednesday, March 9, at 9:30 a.m. Most NOAA weather radios will NOT sound an audible alert to mark the beginning of the drill. As such, schools are encouraged to self-initiate their tornado drills at 9:30 a.m. as if an alert had been broadcast. The drill will conclude when participants complete their drill activities. No all-clear message will be issued. If this time is not convenient for your school’s instructional program, you may reschedule the tornado drill on another day close to March 9.


North Carolina Emergency Management encourages everyone to follow four simple steps to prepare for severe weather: make a plan, practice the plan, have an emergency supplies kit and stay informed. Teaching kids how to be ready for disasters can get the entire family ready. For details, visit www.ReadyNC.org.  


Hoke County Superintendent Made Final Four


Congratulations to Hoke County Schools’ Superintendent Freddie Williamson who was one of four finalists competing for 2016 AASA National Superintendent of the Year honors. An Ohio district superintendent received the top honor at the national conference held last Thursday in Arizona.

Superintendent Job Openings

Superintendent Vacancy Announced: Guilford County Schools


The Guilford County Board of Education is seeking a superintendent to lead the school system in its continuing pursuit of excellence. Candidates must have or be qualified to hold a North Carolina superintendent license. Central office and building-level experience are preferred. A doctorate degree or progress toward a doctorate degree is preferred but not required. The individual chosen will be required to live in the Guilford County Schools' District. The application deadline is March 23.


An electronic version of the application is available by going to the N.C. School Board Association's website and clicking on the appropriate link. Inquiries and requests for applications also can be directed to Allison Schafer, Legal Counsel/Director of Policy, North Carolina School Boards Association, PO Box 97877, Raleigh NC 27624-7877, telephone 919/841-4040, fax 919/841-4020, email. All inquiries will be kept confidential.

Upcoming Meetings

Driver Education Advisory Committee to Meet


The Driver Education Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., in the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, Raleigh.

Agenda items include the Driver Education Multi-Year Survey report to the General Assembly, appointment of members and leads for the five subcommittees (New Teacher Training, Education and Training, Instructor Qualification, Parental Involvement and Coordination with Driver Licensing) and an update on the Committee’s strategic plan.


The meeting will be audio streamed (click on Live Audio Stream link) for those who cannot attend.


NC Virtual Public School Advisory Council to Meet

The North Carolina Virtual Public School Advisory Council will hold its quarterly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., in the Spring Board Conference Room 205, Poulton Innovation Center, NCSU Centennial Campus, 1021 Main Campus Drive, Raleigh.


Agenda items include the Council’s bylaws, visioning the future and the NCVPS strategic plan, and the study on alternative funding options.


Questions regarding this meeting should be directed to NCVPS at 919.513.8550.

College for Every Student


College for Every Student (CFES), a non-profit organization committed to helping underserved students get to and through college, has received funding to select four low-income schools for a Closing the Gap program award: a three-year school program to help underserved students become college and career ready.


CFES currently supports 25,000 students in 200 rural and urban K-12 schools in 30 states and Ireland by providing a framework that allows schools to customize the implementation of three core practices (Mentoring, Leadership Through Service and Pathways) proven to help students develop essential skills for college success and 21st century job readiness.  


Information on the College for Every Student Closing the Gap program awards can be found online. Interested schools should complete the application by March 1.

2016 NC Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Awards Nomination Deadline Approaching


April 1 is the deadline to nominate elementary teachers (grades K-6) for the 2016 North Carolina Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.


The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching.


Anyone – principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public – may nominate a teacher by completing the nomination form available on the PAEMST website. To submit a nomination, you’ll need the teacher’s name, email address, and school contact information. If you know more than one teacher deserving of this award, you may submit more than one nomination. Teachers also may apply.


One mathematics teacher and one science teacher will be selected. Each will receive a $10,000 award and a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Awards Recognition Program. Secondary school teachers (grades 7-12) will be eligible to apply during a future cycle.

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