Weekly Message - State Superintendent June Atkinson

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Superintendents' Weekly Message

April 25, 2016

June Atkinson

Last week, I visited Green Hope High School (Wake County) where we held the second of six public comment sessions on the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act.


As in Wilmington last week, we heard from teachers, administrators, education association leaders and parents who advocated for less or better student testing, for remembering the needs of students with cognitive disabilities, and for taking this opportunity to include measures beyond test scores in our accountability program.


Our next sessions will be from 4-6 p.m. on each of the following dates:

Tuesday, April 26 – Mallard Creek High School, Charlotte

Wednesday, April 27 – North Pitt High School, Bethel

Tuesday, May 17 – East Forsyth High School, Kernersville

Wednesday, May 18 – Charles D. Owen High School, Black Mountain


I encourage you to publicize these opportunities to your school community. People who want to speak at the events should sign up at the registration table by 4:15 p.m. Written comments also are accepted. This feedback is very helpful as we work to complete North Carolina’s state ESSA plan for submission to the U.S. Department of Education.

June Atkinson's Signature

Math Standards Revision Survey Closes April 26


Last Monday, superintendents received a memo announcing the first draft of Math I, II and III revisions, a companion rationale document and a link to a survey.


Your district's response is very important to this process. As a reminder, the survey closes at 2 p.m. tomorrow, April 26. The writers will be meeting on Thursday, April 28, in Greensboro to apply feedback for a second draft that will be submitted for discussion at the May 4 State Board meeting. Public feedback will then be solicited in May.


Questions regarding this process may be directed to K-12 Mathematics Section Chief Jennifer Curtis

NC Elementary Classroom

Digital Learning Update


A goal of the State Board of Education is for very student in North Carolina to have a personalized education. The Department’s NC Digital Learning Plan addresses this goal; and the State Board of Education’s 2016-17 supplemental budget recommendation includes substantial support for digital learning.


Some highlights of staff accomplishments to date include the recent release of the new Digital Learning and Media Inventory, the development of an RFP to establish contracts that districts may use to procure devices such as Chromebooks, and the development of Digital Learning Competencies for School Administrators and Classroom Teachers.


Where the competencies are concerned, staff are soliciting both administrator and teacher feedback.

•  Draft Digital Learning Competencies for School Administrators. Feedback Form

•  Draft Digital Learning Competencies for Classroom Teachers. Feedback Form


If you have specific questions about moving digital learning forward in your district, please feel free to reach out to the Department’s Director for Digital Teaching and Learning Verna Lalbeharie. Verna and her staff are available to provide guidance and support.    

NCDPI Requests Waivers to Tydings Amendment


The NCDPI is submitting 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 Department and its sub-recipients to obligate fiscal year FY 2015 and FY 2016 School Improvement Grant (SIG) 1003(g) funds after Sept. 30, 2017 (FY15 Funds) and Sept. 30, 2018 (FYI 16 Funds).


Specifically, NCDPI is requesting that the authority to obligate funds for the state-administered Elementary and Secondary Education Act CFDA 84.377A School Improvement Grants program be extended to Sept. 30, 2021.


The public is invited to review and comment on the waivers being requested by May 20. To read more, please visit NCDPI Public Notices website.    

Multi-Tiered System of Support

Multi-Tiered System of Support:
Alignment of MTSS as a School Improvement Framework


Recognizing common language across state and district work allows for alignment of the many opportunities to improve systems. Federal Program Monitoring and Support and Integrated Academic and Behavior Systems staff have collaborated to identify clear connections within the work around school improvement. Each of these divisions focus on raising student achievement through:

-  high expectations for staff and students;

-  support installed thru teaming structures;

-  systematic problem solving such as PDCA;

-  data analysis and instructional planning;

-  curriculum and instructional alignment;

-  installation and monitoring of effective practices; and

-  family and community engagement.


Districts and school leaders attending NCSTAR training were introduced to clear connections between installation of a Multi-Tiered System of Support and use of NCSTAR as a tool to manage the school improvement process.


For additional information on the alignment, please go to NCSTAR/MTSS Crosswalk. If you have additional questions, please contact Amy Jablonski or Alessandro Montanari.

NC Virtual Public Schools Logo

Register Now for NCVPS Summer Classes


Registration is open for students interested in taking NCVPS summer courses. Following are some details worth noting:

*  The NCVPS summer catalog is available online.

*  The allotments for summer enrollments are part of district’s 2016-17 allotment totals.

*  District need to identify summer contacts. NCVPS will be surveying the district contacts for that information.

*  Summer classes begin June 20 and end Aug. 12.


Please visit the NCVPS Summer School Guide for more information.


North Carolina and the Zika Virus


The NC Dept. of Health and Human Services is aware and responding to the Zika virus in North Carolina. DHHS staff have developed informational materials that would be beneficial to North Carolina public schools. Materials include handouts with personal protection messages for mosquito and tick bites, mosquito control, and bite reduction strategies when traveling in North Carolina and outside of the state.


Visit the DHHS Zika web page for available resources and strategies. Questions may be directed to Holly Watkins, Communicable Disease Branch, DHHS, or 919.715.0136.

READY Principals

Spring 2016 Principal Ready: One More Chance


You still have time to register for the last Spring Principal Ready session scheduled on April 27 in the southwest region.


Principals across the state have had the opportunity to learn about the changes concerning Standard 6, licensure and ASW. In addition, the Statewide System of Support has created custom sessions based on the feedback received from the districts they serve.


If you are interested in learning more about self-directed evaluations, strategies for principals serving low-performing schools, improving teacher retention, etc., please go to the NCEES wiki to register for this last session.

NC Global Education

Global Languages Endorsement


Please remember that the Global Languages Endorsement (GLE) is one of five high school diploma endorsements that a student may earn as outlined in SBE Policy GCS-L-007.


The purpose of this endorsement is to provide a way for students to show their multi-literacy in English and at least one World Language. Students may add as many World Languages for which they qualify to a GLE.


For additional information and resources click here or contact NCDPI Special Assistant for Global Education Helga Fasciano.

Teacher Working Conditions Survey

NC Listens to Its Educators:
2016 NC TWCS Concludes


Thanks to all North Carolina educators who participated in the 2016 Teacher Working Conditions Survey (NC TWCS), which closed April 4.


The official statewide response rate was 85.4 percent representing feedback from over 101,800 educators. Approximately 8,600 more educators participated in 2016 than 2014. Congratulations also to the 1,076 schools who achieved the goal of a 100 percent response rate! These schools will be eligible for incentives sponsored by BB&T, California Casualty, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Duke Energy, Lenovo and NCAE. Winners will be selected beginning May 23.


The NC TWCS results will be presented to State Board of Education members in June, and available for school districts soon afterward. For more information, please contact Yvette Stewart.

Toolkit Promotes Open Use of School Property


Move More: A Toolkit for Promoting Open Use of School Property in North Carolina is now available. The toolkit provides information on how schools can make their facilities available to the public for physical activity. It includes background information on the importance of increasing access to places for physical activity, relevant North Carolina law, a checklist for developing open use policies and a list of resources that support open use. The toolkit may be used by anyone who wants to work with schools in his or her community to create more places for physical activity.


Please feel free to share this resource with others who may be interested. If you have any questions, please contact NC Healthy Schools Section Chief Ellen Essick.

First Vote NC logo

The Goal is Not Just Better Students but Better Citizens


NCDPI is partnering with First Vote NC (formerly Kids Voting) to bring a student-led, project-based initiative to high schools across the state.


Launching this fall, First Vote NC will provide your schools with everything they need for students in the Founding Principals, Civics and Economics courses to become their school's Board of Elections and run a school-wide simulation election.


In addition, teachers will have access to data analytics tools that will allow students to engage in contrast and comparison studies with other high school students across the state.


Please take three minutes to watch the video (produced by high school students) then access online materials. This resource is offered free-of-charge to high schools this fall. If you have any questions, please contact Hunter Buxton.

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