Weekly Message - State Superintendent June Atkinson

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Superintendents' Weekly Message

Sept. 19, 2016

June Atkinson

Educators, parents and others interested in the new federal education law, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), have another opportunity in October to share their ideas about how North Carolina’s federal ESSA application should address school quality measures and other priorities.


The October public comment sessions will be held in six locations, expanding on the initial six sessions held last spring. Dates and locations are noted below. All sessions will be held from 5-7 p.m. except for the Tarboro location, which will be held from 4-6 p.m.


Please share this information with your communities – including your district’s educators and parents – so that all are aware and may participate in this opportunity. I have met with three of the RESA regions about ESSA accountability and look forward to meeting with the other regions over the next few weeks.


Also, remember that there is an ESSA topic in our Let’s Talk dialog interface on the Department’s home page where individuals may provide ideas and input at any time. North Carolina’s ESSA application will be submitted to the US Department of Education in March per its schedule.


June Atkinson's SignatureESSA Session Locations

Man Taking an Online Survey

North Carolina Student
Perception Surveys


During the 2016-17 school year, local districts and charter schools have the opportunity to administer the NC Student Perception Surveys. Participation in the NC Student Surveys is voluntary. In 2016-17, there are two options for participation:


Option 1: Individual Teacher Participation

Individual teachers request feedback from students in census form (all students) for one or more classes. Teachers may opt to participate individually even if the district does not participate. Results from the surveys will only be available to teachers. 


Option 2: District Participation

NCDPI will sample students to ensure that each teacher receives a representative sample of students. Teachers may additionally request feedback from students in census form (all students) for one or more classes. Results from the surveys will be available to teachers and administrators. 


Districts interested in participating with Option 2 during the Semester 1 Survey administration must notify NCDPI of their intent to participate by sending an email on or before Friday, Sept. 30. 


For more information about the NC Student Perception Surveys, including the fall 2016 administration schedule and copies of the surveys, visit the NC Student Survey Wikispace.


2016–17 NC Check-Ins (formerly known as Proof of Concept Study) Specification Information


The specification documents for the 2016–17 Grade 5 Math and Grade 6 English Language Arts (ELA)/Reading NC Check-Ins (formerly known as Proof of Concept) are available at the new NCDPI NC Check-Ins web page.


Below are a few changes to note:

  • The number of schools sampled to participate increased for the 2016–17 school year.
  • The administration windows were adjusted based on teacher feedback.
  • The NC Check-Ins student books can be kept at the school for five weeks. This decision was based on teacher feedback.
  • Stakeholders may subscribe to the NCDPI NC Check-Ins email updates at the NCDPI home page by clicking on “Sign Up for Updates.”
  • The assessed content standards for Grade 5 Math were adjusted based on teacher feedback.
  • The short-answer open response items were removed for the 2016–17 school year.

Additional informational documents are posted on the NC Check-Ins page. Questions should be directed to your LEA or charter school test coordinator or your Regional Accountability Coordinator.

Multi-Tiered System of Support

Multi-Tiered System of Support:
Self-Assessment of MTSS (SAM)


On Sept. 1, the MTSS team was provided the opportunity to update the State Board of Education on implementation. During the session, information was shared regarding the validation project, platform and initial deployment of the Self-Assessment of MTSS (SAM). The SAM gives insight to the school level implementation of all components of MTSS. Cohorts 1 and 2 had the option to:

  • assist all schools to complete the SAM;
  • select schools (first implementers in LEA) to complete the SAM; or
  • deploy SAM next year.

A statewide examination of SAM data from Cohorts 1 and 2 provided this implementation ranking (from strongest to weakest): 

  • Three-Tiered Instructional/Intervention Model;
  • Communication and Collaboration;
  • Data-Based Problem Solving;
  • Leadership;
  • Building Capacity/Infrastructure for Implementation; and
  • Data Evaluation.

The state team is analyzing this data and reviewing Module 1 and 2 content to identify gaps and adjust technical assistance as necessary. District and charter teams have the opportunity to problem solve around SAM data as they build an effective MTSS with the support of the blended learning course.


For more information on this work please contact Amy Jablonski, director of Integrated Academic and Behavior Systems, or visit the wiki.

Professional Development

Observation Calibration Training


Through Observation Calibration Training, NCDPI staff are providing school administrators with an online platform to improve their skills as a classroom observer using the NCEES rubric.


Participants will be able to watch classroom videos, observe instruction, rate teachers, and receive immediate feedback as to the recommended ratings. Participants have the option of participating as an individual or as a LEA/charter team. In the 2014-15 pilot and the 2015-16 implementation, the more lessons school administrators completed, the more their scoring improved.


Administrators interested in participating should click this link to register. For more information, please visit the Observation Calibration Training (OCT) web page or email Kimberly Simmons with NCDPI Educator Effectiveness if you have specific questions.

NC Digital Learning Initiative

NC Digital Leaders
Coaching Network

NCDPI, in partnership with the Friday Institute at NC State University, will offer North Carolina educators a comprehensive and layered professional learning approach to support digital teaching and learning in NC classrooms. The NC Digital Leaders Coaching Network (NCDLCN) is one component of this approach.


The Digital Leaders Coaching Network is a program that provides North Carolina instructional technologists, instructional coaches, mentor teachers, and media coordinators with ongoing and job-embedded professional learning opportunities to build capacity in both digital and personalized learning. This program is a unique opportunity to bring together educators from across the state for a year-long, blended learning experience that will help them grow as an educator and coach and assist them in building a strong professional learning network. Participants will acquire strategies and knowledge related to best practices in leadership, coaching and supporting educators, students, and administrators in their schools.


This program consists of 60 hours total; 44 hours face to face and then 16 hours of outside work in the action planning and readings.


The application is in two parts to include a participant application and a supervisor agreement and is available in TNL. You can find more information by following the step-by-step directions in the How to Register for Access to NCDLCN Applications document. Registering for the course does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Applications will be reviewed and letters of acceptance will be sent out by Oct. 7


Contact Deborah Goodman with NCDPI Digital Teaching and Learning for more information.

Division of Advanced Learning Update


New Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Coordinators’ Orientation


If you have a new AIG coordinator in your district, please have him or her join NCDPI Advanced Learning staff on Friday, Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at the Education Building in Raleigh for an orientation. The agenda includes major aspects of an AIG Coordinators’ job responsibilities, including an overview of the following topics:

  • understanding Article 9B and other legislation and policies impacting gifted learners;
  • designing and implementing high quality programming and services for gifted learners, based on the NC AIG Program Standards;
  • developing partnerships with parents and families, as well as staff and students;
  • working with local AIG program budget; and
  • utilizing PowerSchool to accurately collect AIG child count data.

Please encourage new coordinators to register online.

Cooperative Innovative High School (CIHS) Visits and Regional Meetings


NCDPI Advanced Learning staff are visiting each new CIHS this fall to offer technical assistance as the school opens. We congratulate the following new CIHS’ on their successful openings:

*  Alexander Early College High School

*  Cabarrus Early College of Technology

*  Camden Early College High School

*  Chatham County School of Science and Engineering

*  Harper Middle College in Charlotte Mecklenburg

*  Johnston County Career and Technical Academy

*  Northampton County Early College High School

*  Person Early College for Innovation and Leadership

*  Watauga Innovation Academy

*  Wilson Academy of Applied Technology


Throughout October, NCDPI staff also will be hosting regional meetings across the state with CIHS’ to foster collaboration and focus on professional learning (see dates and locations below). Representatives from partner districts and IHEs have been invited to attend. This meeting will set the foundation of our work together for the year. We look forward to participation from all Cooperative Innovative High Schools.


CIHS Meeting Locationa

NC Virtual Public Schools Logo

NCVPS Enrollment Options


NCVPS’s fall registration is closed, but there are still a number of enrollment options:


*  Credit Recovery: Credit recovery registration remains open until Nov. 23.

*  OCS: Schools can continue to enroll in existing OCS sections throughout the semester. No new sessions can be opened, but students can be added to existing sections.

*  1/2 Credit Health and 1/2 Credit PE Courses: Registration for our 2nd 9-week health and PE courses remains open until Nov. 14.

*  Transfer Students: We are now accepting transfers for students who meet NCVPS transfer criteria. Transfer students must already be enrolled in the course at the school with an instructor AND have a grade to transfer in with. Transfers are not for students who are new to the course. We are able to accept fall transfers through Nov. 23. This is a good solution for students who move into the district and have a course that their school does not offer. It’s also a good solution for homebound students and suspended students.

*  Mastery Learning for First-Time Credit: Mastery learning courses will help students who have a special or hardship situation. If any of the above options work for a student, you will need to use those options, but when you are out of options, check out the details for mastery learning enrollment.

*   Spring 2017 – NCVPS is still enrolling for all spring 2017 courses through Feb. 3, 2017.


For more information, please contact NCVPS Director of Outreach and Support Mia Murphy.

EVAAS Exploration Summit


Don’t forget that your district leaders and you are invited to attend the EVAAS Exploration Summit on Thursday, Nov. 10, at SAS World Headquarters in Cary.


The Summit will be an engaging and informative daylong event focused on data and student growth. Sessions led by North Carolina educators will help your team to learn and share best practices, build a network of data leaders, and expand your EVAAS toolkit. There is no charge to attend the summit.


Each district is asked to coordinate the participation and registration of up to two leaders. Participants should be district-level administrators who promote data leadership and who are interested in how EVAAS can support them.


Nov. 10 is fast approaching, so we encourage your district team to register soon! Questions should be sent to userconnections@sas.com.

Green Ribbon

Apply Now for 2016-17 USED Green Ribbon Schools Award


The U.S. Department of Education (USED) Green Ribbon Schools’ award program for 2016-17 is now open. The award recognizes schools and districts from across the United States that excel in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and providing effective environmental and sustainability education that incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.


To date, five North Carolina schools and two districts have received this outstanding national award. LEAs or their principals should apply directly to the NCDPI. Up to five North Carolina schools and districts can be nominated by the department and sent to the USED for national consideration.


Additional information and applications are available online under “Green Ribbon Schools.” For more information, please contact Ron Collier with NCDPI School Planning. If you plan to submit an application, please email Ron and let him know by Oct. 31.

Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Math Teaching (PAEMST)

2016 PAEMST Finalists Named


Congratulations to the following teachers who were recently selected as finalists for the 2016 North Carolina Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST):


2016 PAEMST Elementary Science finalists:






Andrea Gladden

Icard Elementary

Burke County Schools    





Adam Haas

Rocky River Elementary

Union County Schools    





Laura Juliana Thomas

The Exploris School

Wake County    

2016 PAEMST Elementary Mathematics finalists:






Candace Crothers

Glenwood Elementary

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools    





Claudia Fann

Pleasant Garden Elementary

Guilford County Schools





Heather Landreth

W.H. Robinson Elementary

Pitt County Schools    


The PAEMST Awards are the highest honor bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching. The program, administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, recognizes outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country for their contributions to the teaching and learning of mathematics and science.


A panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators will now select one mathematics teacher and one science teacher from North Carolina to receive the award. Each will receive a $10,000 award and a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Awards Recognition Program. This year’s cycle is for elementary teachers (grades K-6). Secondary school teachers (grades 7-12) will be eligible to apply during a future cycle.

NC Elementary Student Reading

First Book Program Supports
Literacy Initiatives


As the 2016 Give Five – Read Five campaign comes to a close, we want to bring to your attention another opportunity to promote literacy for North Carolina students.


First Book, a non-profit with the mission of providing access to new books for children in need, launched a new initiative they are calling “Give Big Collections.”


The First Book team has crafted five special Give Big Collections featuring a mix of high-quality and high-interest titles. The average price per book in each collection is only $1.75, so LEAs, schools, and their community partners have the opportunity to stock school and classroom libraries at an affordable price. In addition, these books may be given to students to take home over school breaks to reduce learning loss and instill a love of books.


To take a look at the full title and quantity list for each of the collections, please visit the Give Big Order Form Page. This is a limited time opportunity, while inventory lasts, so contact Candace Radoski from First Book if you have any questions.

Natural and Cultural Resources Offers Resources
to Support SCOS


The NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) is all about what’s happening today in the arts and music, but also about what’s happened in the past to get us here and preserving our state’s scenic splendor.


DNCR is home to 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archeology.


NCDPI is honored to partner with DNCR to ensure educators know about, have access to, and take advantage of these resources that are aligned to the NC Standard Course of Study. Their September newsletter highlighting incredible field trip opportunities is available online and we ask that you please share across your district as appropriate.

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