July 2016 NC Public School Partners Newsletter

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JULY 2016

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State Board Approves Calendar Resolution

Resolution supports local districts making
school calendar decisions

SBE Meeting

The State Board of Education adopted a resolution (click on Meetings tab then July 7 State Board meeting agenda and scroll to SLA 4 link to access resolution) last week in support of laws and policies that would allow local boards of education to make school calendar decisions. This resolution underscored the position of local school boards, local superintendents, North Carolina’s teacher associations and other education stakeholder groups, a majority of which have already adopted their own resolutions in support of local calendar autonomy.

Research has linked extended learning time with improved student achievement. For many students the long summer break can result in a loss in academic gains and time spent at the beginning of the school year to recoup that slippage. Some of those students don’t recover what they lose over the summer.

The resolution was unanimously approved by State Board of Education members and signed by State Superintendent June Atkinson and State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey. Atkinson stated that she was “looking forward to North Carolina eventually returning calendar-setting authority to local school boards where it is most appropriate."

State Board of Education Extends Proof of Concept Study

First-year pilot results show positive academic gains

NC Student taking a test

State Board of Education members recently approved the extension of the Department of Public Instruction’s Proof of Concept Study into the 2016-17 school year.

Under the Proof of Concept study, three interim assessments are administered throughout the school year with a stand-alone summative assessment at the end of the academic year. Traditionally, students are tested for academic proficiency at the end of the academic year. Teachers use the results from the interim assessments to adjust their instruction and provide immediate assistance to students in areas where they are struggling. Ultimately, the State Board will use the results to determine the best course of action for state assessments.

During the initial pilot year, the interim assessments were given to a sample of fifth-grade mathematics students and a sample of sixth-grade English language arts (ELA)/reading students. The modified end-of-grade (EOG) assessment was the traditional EOG test without embedded field-test items. Students took the modified assessment in the content area in which they were selected.

Forty-five schools and 3,906 students participated in the fifth-grade mathematics 2015-16 Proof of Concept Study. On the modified EOG mathematics assessment, 61.4 percent of students scored at Achievement Level 3 and higher compared to 60.7 percent (4,034 students) of students who did not participate in the study but took the modified EOG assessment.

Thirty-three schools and 3,920 students participated in the sixth-grade ELA/reading 2015-16 Proof of Concept Study. On the modified ELA/reading EOG, 58.3 percent scored at Achievement Level 3 and higher compared to 56.8 percent (4,778 students) of students who did not participate in the study but took the modified EOG assessment.

With these results in mind, State Board members approved extending the Proof of Concept Study into the 2016-17 school year and also

  increasing the number of participating schools from five percent of schools at each grade/content to approximately 15 percent;
  including a subset of low-performing schools;
  allowing volunteers to participate, preferably one school per district; and
  requiring students to take the entire EOG assessment, not a modified version.

Department staff suggested including additional grades in the 2017-18 school year and then including all grades, 3-8, beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

An analysis of the 2015-16 Proof of Concept Study is available on the State Board of Education’s website (click on Meetings tab then July 7 State Board of Education meeting agenda, and scroll to SLA 1).

Eleven New Charter Schools Approved

Schools open to students in August

At their abbreviated July Board meeting held last Thursday, State Board of Education members approved 11 charter schools to open in August.

These schools are currently completing their yearlong planning period, also called “Ready to Open (RTO).” Although representatives from seven of the schools had to appear before the North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board in May because their RTO Progress Report was deemed insufficient, CSAB members felt confident they would meet all requirements stipulated in the RTO to open and so recommended to the State Board that the following schools be approved:

*  Central Wake Charter High School (Wake County);
*  FernLeaf Community Charter School (Henderson County);
*  Gate City Charter Academy (Guilford County);
*  Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington (New Hanover County);
*  Ignite Innovation Academy (Pitt County);
*  Iredell Charter Academy (Iredell County);
*  Kannapolis Charter Academy (Cabarrus County);
*  Mallard Creek STEM Academy (Mecklenburg County);
*  Matthews Charter Academy (Mecklenburg County);
*  Union Day School (Union County); and
*  Union Preparatory Academy at Indian Trail (Union County).

The addition of these schools brings the total number of charter schools in North Carolina to 168. For a complete listing of charter schools, please visit the NCDPI Office of Charter Schools website.

NC Comprehensive Reading Plan Draft Up for Review/Comment

Aug. 1 is deadline to comment

NC Elementary Student Reading

Principals, teachers, parents, central office administrators, instructional coaches, and representatives from Institutes of Higher Education originally helped develop the North Carolina Comprehensive Reading Draft plan in the spring of 2013. The State Board of Education adopted the plan in September 2013. This plan is reviewed by the General Assembly in even-numbered years.

In preparing the plan for submittal to the General Assembly, NCDPI staff are seeking individuals interested in reviewing the plan and providing feedback before staff take it to the State Board of Education and the General Assembly later this year.

The plan is structured around six pillars: Standards, Instruction, Assessment, Leadership, Professional Development, and Partnerships and Communication.

According to legislation, the plan should indicate what the state will do to promote reading proficiency for all students. As a result, in the first section are the words “DPI actions....” In the other three sections, LEA/District, School Administrator, and Teacher, are the words “suggested actions.” Schools and districts may use the state Comprehensive Reading Plan to help develop their own reading plans or to extract ideas for best practices in the area of reading.

In the 2016 North Carolina Comprehensive Reading Plan draft, the text has strikethrough formatting where language will change. Underlined text is used where new or additional information is included.

Please click here to open a feedback form. Once you indicate your role, you will be linked to the page numbers in the plan for your “job-alike” suggested actions. Please review the pages and give your input/feedback for DPI staff to consider as they complete the revisions. You also will see the link to the pages that document DPI’s actions. Staff ask that you provide feedback on any of these state actions.

Many teachers, principals and instructional coaches across the state have used the appendices to help identify best practices, to discuss expectations for teaching and learning, and to find resources for next steps. Staff will continue to add extra ideas and components to the appendices to make it a more useful tool for stakeholders.

Thanks in advance for your time and feedback.

Character Matters When it Comes to Finances

Campaign highlights importance of personal finance at school and at home

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, in partnership with Capitol Broadcasting, has launched a new campaign to bring attention to the importance of understanding matters of personal finance both at school and at home. We believe that teaching adults and youth how to make sound financial decisions is an important part of citizenship education as personal choices may have profound consequences for the larger community.

WRAL.com’s Spotlight section now features six articles that focus on various aspects of personal finance to include topics such as understanding credit, credit unions, mortgage options, retirement planning and paying for college.

Additionally, parents, educators and students may visit the Character Matters website to discover some curriculum connections. On this site, you will find resources used by educators to support personal financial literacy as well as resources that may be used to further develop financial competency at home.

For questions about information contained on this site, please contact NCDPI K-12 Social Studies Section Chief Fay Gore

Students Receive Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

State's top youth volunteers recognized

Prudential Community Spirit Awards

Congratulations to Hunter Huss High School’s (Gaston County Schools) Karigan McCurry and Abbigail Adler representing the Girl Scouts of North Carolina Coastal Pines Council (Raleigh) for being named North Carolina’s top youth volunteers in the national 2016 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Each received $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they joined the top two honorees from each state and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events.

In addition to the State Honorees, the program’s judges recognized 234 students nationwide as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Following are North Carolina’s Distinguished Finalists who each received an engraved bronze medallion:

*  Breanna Barbosa, Johnston County Early College Academy (Johnston County Schools);
*  Omar Benallal, High Point Central High School (Guilford County Schools);
*  Allyson Costner, Bessemer City High School (Gaston County Schools);
*  Maria Ysabelle Cruzat, Early College of Forsyth County (Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools);
*  Nolan Davis, 17, Wayne Country Day School (Goldsboro); and
*  Bethany Forehand, Currituck County High (Currituck County Schools).


State Board of Education Meetings

  • Aug. 3 - 4, 2016
  • Aug. 31 - Sept. 1, 2016
  • Oct. 5 - 6, 2016


Celebrate NC Schools

This Month's Highlights