Weekly Message - State Superintendent June Atkinson

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Superintendents' Weekly Message

June 6, 2016

June Atkinson

There is still time to take advantage of the full Home Base suite of digital learning tools for the 2016-17 school year! Currently, eighty-five school districts and 50 charter schools have made the decision to provide all that Home Base offers to their teachers and students in the next school year. The period to indicate your planned usage of the full suite of tools will be closing on June 15.


Resources Available Next Year

Districts and charters that choose to leverage the full Home Base suite at the cost of $1 per allotted Average Daily Membership (ADM), will receive access to:

·  instructional resources and assessment item banks within Schoolnet;

·  the platform within TrueNorthLogic for local professional development; and

·  the communication and collaboration tool i.e. OpenClass (access to OpenClass continues through the 2016-17 school year but will be phased out by Pearson by January 2018).


Access to TrueNorthLogic (for state level professional development and NCEES) and to PowerSchool (for SIS) remains available to all districts and charters at no cost.


NCDPI staff review usage data regularly to determine how to bring cost savings and high value instructional resources to the state. Recent review of usage information indicated that instructional resources purchased from the Online Learning Exchange and Premium PBS Learning Media Content were not heavily used. As a result, we did not renew contracts for purchased items and premium content from these collections respectively. We encourage LEAs to continue to leverage the free content from PBS Learning Media. NCDPI is pursuing avenues to add high quality content to our collections through the #GoOpenNC initiative..

Opt-in Instructions

To opt-in for the 2016-17 school year, please complete the web tool form at bit.ly/1LaDy2b by June 15. Once you have signed up, please be sure to print the summary invoice page generated by the form above, make checks payable to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and put “Home Base” in the memo line. Payment is due by Sept. 1 or two weeks after receiving initial allotments (whichever is later). 


Please mail checks to:

NC Department of Public Instruction

Cash Management and Collections

6336 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-6336


Canvas Information

NCDPI staff secured a cooperative purchasing agreement with Instructure last year that allowed statewide pricing at a rate of $3.74 for the Canvas Learning Management System. With the use of the federal Race to the Top (RttT) funding, NCDPI staff were able to pay this expense on behalf of LEAs and charter schools for FY 2015-16. However, with the close-out of RttT, these funds are no longer available and districts and charters that entered contracts are responsible for covering the cost of Canvas. Please note, the $3.74 statewide pricing is still available for any LEA or charter school that would like to contract with Instructure for the Canvas LMS.


Thank you for partnering with us to ensure every student in the state has access to powerful digital learning tools!

June Atkinson's Signature

School Connectivity Funding Update

School connectivity funding was expanded in the biennial budget passed during the 2015 long session. The school connectivity expansion includes $12M in recurring funding beginning in FY 2016-17 to support the procurement, installation and configuration of internal school network infrastructure and related services.

Based on the requirements of the expanded connectivity funding, the department has worked diligently with public schools during FY 2015-16 to identify and specify the needs, to establish contracts and purchase orders, and to file E-rate funding requests. All told, North Carolina public schools have established contracts valued at over $55 million and requested over $41million in E-rate funding, leaving nearly $14 million in local funding requirements — all of the local funding was budgeted for payment using school connectivity funds.

The recently passed Senate Budget reduced Connectivity funding by $10 million. The House did not adjust the funding in its budget, which means the final decision on funding will be decided in the upcoming Conference Budget discussions.

We are working closely with members of the General Assembly to provide information related to the E-rate process and how any changes would impact North Carolina public schools moving forward. We believe that this information will lead to a positive result in the Conference Budget. We will keep you informed as the budget process progresses.

NC State Board of Education Seal

State Board of Education
Meeting Highlights


At Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting, members approved the Math I, II and III draft standards revisions (see next item), requests for local flexibility in the Analysis of Student Work, emergency licensure for core subjects, Career and Technical Education licensure revisions, NC Driver Education Advisory Committee recommendations, and the School Nutrition Fresh Fruits and Vegetables grant.


Among the Board’s discussion items were results from the 2016 NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey, applications for reform models, data privacy and security, and an update on the Department’s Proof of Concept Study.


Board members also recognized their outgoing advisors – Superintendent Advisor Rodney Shotwell, Principal of the Year Advisor Steve Lassiter and Teacher of the Year Advisor James Ford – and retiring RESA Directors Linda Lowe, Southeast RESA; Leon Holleman, Northeast RESA; and Larry Coble, Piedmont-Triad Consortia.


The complete list of this month’s Board actions is available on the Board’s website. The Board’s June agenda as well as supporting executive summaries are available online by clicking on the SBE Meetings tab. 

High School Math Student

Revisions to Math I, II and III Draft Standards Approved


State Board of Education members unanimously approved revisions to the three high school math courses – Math I, II and III – to go into effect in the 2016-17 school year renamed NC Math 1, NC Math 2 and NC Math 3.


The changes modify the sequence of standards covered in these three integrated mathematics courses and improve the clarity of standards where recommended by teachers. Staff will follow the same process in the fall and engage mathematic teachers in reviewing K-8 math standards and fourth level math courses AFM, Discrete Mathematics and Pre-Calculus.


NCDPI’s mathematics team is working in conjunction with district math leaders and other external stakeholders to develop an implementation pacing framework that will provide the following supports for local mathematics leaders and high school math teachers:

    2016 Summer Information Sessions;

    In-Person Regional Math Professional Development;

    Virtual Teacher Support (just-in-time); and

    Curriculum Leader Implementation Support.


The outcomes of this work will be to provide implementation support for local districts and schools; continuous learning and direct support for classroom teachers; increase district capacity to identify quality classroom resources; support teachers’ understanding of mathematical coherence and the “big ideas” in high school math courses; and build a digital tool for math teachers that is dynamic, sustainable and growth-oriented in years 2 and 3.

The revised standards are available online for review.

School Risk Management Plans


The 2015 North Carolina General Assembly ratified Session Law 2015-241 that required each local board of education, in coordination with local law enforcement and emergency management agencies, to adopt a School Risk Management Plan (SRMP) relating to incidents of school violence for each school in its jurisdiction. In constructing and maintaining these plans, local boards of education and local school administrative units would use the School Risk and Response Management System (SRRMS) established pursuant to G.S. 115C-105.49A.


Based on this communicated intent, NC Emergency Management – Risk Management has constructed the SRMP tool and the accompanying School Emergency Response Application (SERA). These systems incorporate the digital building floor plan schematics submitted by school systems to NCEM – Risk Management last June.


NCEM – Risk Management is currently setting up and meeting with counties and the associated school systems to review, incorporated and/or generate 1st generation SRMP for each school. Risk Management is working through the county emergency management directors to reach out and coordinate with the required stakeholders for the initial meeting. NCEM – Risk Management is attempting to have initial first meetings with all school systems during the summer months.


If you should have any questions regarding this process, please contact John Dorman, Assistant State Emergency Management Director for Risk Management, via email or by phone, 919.825.2310.

Local AIG Plans Due July 15


Local Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) plans for 2016-19, based on the State Board’s NC AIG Program standards, are due to NCDPI on or before July 15. The Local AIG Plans are approved by your local Board of Education prior to submission to DPI. Plans will be submitted through the online APEX system as in years past.


Throughout the spring, NCDPI staff have provided biweekly technical assistance efforts and the AIG Coordinators’ Institute to support the development of the revised local AIG plan to serve gifted learners. Technical assistance efforts will continue throughout the month of June with additional online office hour opportunities on Wednesday, June 15, from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and on an as needed basis.


Please contact Sneha Shah-Coltrane, director of Advanced Learning and Gifted Education, for further information.

NC's Teacher Working Conditions Initiative

2016 NC TWCS Results Released


The 2016 NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey (NC TWCS) results were presented to the State Board of Education on June 1.


Please visit the NC Teacher Working Conditions website to view all detailed reports and information on individual schools and districts, including all public charter schools and NC Special Schools (i.e., NC Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Pre-K Centers, etc.) that participated. The reports are downloadable and include statewide percentage results, school detailed results, school summary comparison results, and the administrator survey results.


For more information, please contact Yvette Stewart.

Cooperative Innovative High Schools


NCDPI staff would like to assure you of our commitment in supporting Cooperative Innovative High Schools (CIHS)/Early Colleges. DPI staff who have been focused on the work of Early Colleges (while housed at NC New Schools) are continuing to support CIHS here at the Department. They will continue to be an integral part of our work with you through the Division of Advanced Learning and Gifted Education. We are in the process of gathering input from CIHS to determine how we can most effectively support all 109 CIHS in our state.


If your district has been allocated 055 funds for your CIHS, your funds will continue as they did in previous years. You may continue to use these funds to meet your school’s needs, including contracting with individuals or organizations.


NCDPI staff will be holding a CIHS Leadership Summit on June 29 to study best practices and policies regarding CIHS and collaborate with other CIHS/Early College leaders in our state. Registration information has been sent to CIHS principals and district leadership. 


Please contact Sneha Shah-Coltrane, director of Advanced Learning and Gifted Education (or 919.807.3849) with any needs you have regarding CIHS.

Multi-Tiered System of Support

Multi-Tiered System of Support Update


In early May, Amy Jablonski, director of Integrated Academic and Behavior Systems, provided the State Board of Education an update on the 57 traditional districts and charter schools involved in MTSS Cohorts 1 and 2 as well as released the traditional districts and charter schools invited to participate in Cohorts 3 & 4.


For additional information on the MTSS Implementation Update, see the May State Board of Education meeting web page.


Last week, District MTSS Coordinators from Cohort 1 & 2 sites met together regionally to discuss the application of the Module 1 course content to drive implementation in the school settings.


MTSS Module 1 provides the district team with the knowledge base and resources that enable them to:

-  establish readiness in the district and schools for implementation;

-  define essential elements of core instruction, including a data-evaluation plan; and

-  analyze the effectiveness of core instruction through a problem-solving model.

If you have additional questions, please contact Amy Jablonski.

NC Virtual Public Schools Logo

North Carolina Virtual Public
School News


The NCVPS spring semester has ended, and grades are available for schools and the district in the NVCPS registration system. Your advisors and data managers should already be aware of this, but some may be new.


Summer registration is still open and will remain open until the fifth day of class, June 24. Please have your advisors register students as soon as possible. Seating may become limited in certain courses as the start date approaches. Additionally, students who are able to start on the first day of class are more successful in their summer courses.


Also, note that the allotments for summer enrollments are part of your 2016-17 allotment totals. Please visit the NCVPS Summer School Guide for more details.

Digital Learning Competencies

Digital Learning Competencies for Classroom Teachers and School Administrators Approved


State Board of Education members approved the Digital Learning Competencies for Classroom Teachers and School Administrators on June 2. These competencies take effect July 1, 2017.


To provide districts leaders and teachers with an initial insight and support for these competencies, NCDPI Digital Teaching and Learning Division staff will provide professional learning sessions in July for district teams. Also, throughout the 2016-17 school year, staff will pilot the competencies and provide professional learning opportunities across the state.


For more information about the Digital Learning Competencies, please visit bit.ly/NCDLCs.


Internal Auditors Training Scheduled for June 20-21


NCDPI Internal Audit staff are providing a Fraudbusters training on June 20-21 in Room 150 of the Education Building, Raleigh.


Registration is only $80 for both days, and includes breakfast and lunch. Registration is limited to 150 participants and spaces are filling fast so register soon. Questions regarding the training may be directed to Jeani Allen.

A+ Schools

Nationally-Recognized A+ Schools Program Accepting New Schools for 2017-18 School Year


Thanks to recent funding from the NC General Assembly, the A+ Schools Program of the NC Arts Council is growing its network of creative schools. Now with more than 50 A+ schools across North Carolina and over one hundred more across the nation and internationally, the A+ Schools Program is receiving national attention as the longest running, most successful, arts-based whole school transformation model in the nation.


Through high-quality professional development, coaching and support, A+ helps schools to create engaging, creative, standards-based learning environments so that every student can achieve his or her full potential. For the past three years, A+ has been able to offer funding support for many new A+ Schools who have demonstrated financial need.


Staff are beginning their annual process of bringing new A+ Schools into the network. The process begins with the submission of a letter of intent from the district or interested school principal. This is due by June 15. Informational meetings, site visits and other opportunities follow the letter of intent and culminate in an application that is due by Dec. 1.


More information and the application process may be found online or by contacting A+ Schools Program Director Michelle Burrows.

Superintendent Job Openings

Superintendent Vacancy Announced: Bertie County Schools


The Bertie 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 Bertie County Schools District. The application deadline is July 13.


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.

STEM Education

State Board of Education Honors Seven STEM Schools of Distinction


The North Carolina State Board of Education recently recognized the following seven public schools for exemplary leadership and instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. These schools are the third set of schools to be recognized under the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s (NCDPI) STEM Recognition Program.

  JW York Elementary (Wake County Schools) Prepared STEM School of Distinction;

  NC School of Science and Mathematics (Durham) Model Future-Ready STEM High School of Distinction;

  Davie County High STEM Center (Davie County Schools) Prepared STEM School of Distinction;

 Coltrane Webb STEM Elementary School (Cabarrus County Schools) Model STEM School of Distinction;

  Patriots STEM Elementary (Cabarrus County Schools) Model STEM School of Distinction;

  Central Cabarrus High School STEM Magnet Program (Cabarrus County Schools) Model STEM School of Distinction; and

  Nesbitt Discovery Academy (Buncombe County Schools) Prepared STEM School of Distinction.


Two benchmark firsts highlighted this year’s recognition program. The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics was recognized as the state’s first Model Future Ready STEM School of Achievement. To achieve this, the school had to have a graduation rate of 90 percent or higher or a College Readiness/ACT with 90 percent of students having a composite score at 17 or above. The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics had a 99 percent graduation rate and an average ACT composite score of 31.6.


Cabarrus County was the first county to be recognized with a nucleus of neighborhood model STEM Schools of Distinction K-12 that are vertically aligned. The schools forming this nucleus are Coltrane Webb STEM Elementary School, Patriots STEM Elementary School, Central Cabarrus High School STEM Magnet Program and JN Fries Middle School (which was identified in a previous year).


Additional information regarding this recognition is available online.


North Carolina and the Zika Virus


As a reminder, 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 a one page “tip and toss” that provides personal protection and mosquito reduction messages for school personnel.


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.

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