Weekly Message - State Superintendent June Atkinson

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Superintendents' Weekly Message

Oct. 17, 2016

June Atkinson

I know that nearly one-third of our school districts have been dealing with flooding, damage to buildings, and personal loss from Hurricane Matthew and the aftermath of the rainfall across our state. If there is anything the Department of Public Instruction can do to help you, please let us know.


We recognize that many school districts will have been closed for at least a week and more in some cases. According to state law, schools must be in session for 1,025 hours or 185 days. There is no current statutory provision in place that allows the State Board of Education to waive days. Any action to waive day or hour requirements or implement other arrangements would have to be undertaken by the NC General Assembly.


As of Friday afternoon, our staff members had not been able to get into Robeson, Pitt, Lenoir or Edgecombe counties because of flooding. NCDPI staff have contacted these districts and have made visits to many others. It will probably be several days before we have more details about the complete impact of the storm and its aftermath on our schools and districts.


Many of you from unaffected counties have asked how you can help. That is one of the good things about the public school community. The public school community always ask how they can assist those in need in North Carolina.


At this time, the best options for providing assistance are through the American Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina. (To make a financial donation, call 1-800-RED CROSS or to make a $10 donation text the word MATTHEW to 90999.) Also, Gov. Pat McCrory has activated the state’s disaster relief fund to support long-term recovery efforts. The Governor’s office is partnering with United Way of North Carolina, which will act as the administrative organization for the fund. Only financial donations are accepted. You may donate online or mail checks payable to “North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund” to the Governor’s office at 20312 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699.


As more information becomes available about damages and other details, including other options for the education community to help our neighbors, we will share those with you.

June Atkinson's Signature

US Department of Education

Fayetteville, Tarboro ESSA Public Comment Sessions Canceled; Sessions Will Be Rescheduled


The public comment sessions scheduled for Fayetteville (Oct. 18) and Tarboro (Oct. 19) to receive feedback from educators, parents, students and other stakeholders on the state’s K-12 Education Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) have been canceled due to the impact of Hurricane Matthew in these communities. The sessions will be rescheduled with advanced notice provided. The remaining public comment sessions will take place as scheduled:


*  Oct. 24, Waynesville: Tuscola High School, Auditorium, 564 Tuscola School Road, Waynesville

*  Oct. 25, Burlington: Career and Technical Education Center, 2550 Buckingham Road, Burlington


The sessions will be held from 5-7 p.m. Anyone may attend a session in any region. Audience members who want to speak (up to 3 minutes) should sign in by 5:15 p.m. at each session. In addition, the public is invited to submit comments to NCDPI through Let’s Talk. Simply click on the Let’s Talk link on the NCDPI website and select the ESSA dialog topic when prompted.

Digital Learning

Digital Teaching and Learning Professional Learning Opportunities


The NC Department of Public Instruction, in partnership with the Friday Institute at NC State University and area RESAs, are pleased to offer educators in North Carolina a comprehensive and layered professional learning approach to support digital teaching and learning in North Carolina classrooms.


This past summer, NCDPI Digital Teaching and Learning staff launched the Digital Learning Competencies for teachers via professional learning events across the state. Staff also are collaborating with area RESAs to provide additional professional learning opportunities. These sessions will support school districts with the planning and implementation of the Digital Learning Competencies.


For this school year, sessions will be held in November, January and April. Team leaders from the summer sessions will be notified with specific dates and locations as well as to verify team members.


If you have any questions, please contact Jill Darrough with NCDPI Digital Teaching and Learning.

Professional Development

Hold Nov. 17 for Connected Educators Series’ Session


The Connected Educator Series’ Nov. 17 session is fast approaching. NCDPI District and School Transformation in partnership with the NCSU-Northeast Leadership Academy is hosting school site visits for this session. Several schools from across North Carolina will be spotlighting their successes. Please encourage your principals to save the date for this awesome opportunity. Registration information will be forthcoming.


If you have questions about registration, please contact Julie Malcolm or Amelia McLeod at 919.835-6101.

Multi-Tiered System of Support

Multi-Tiered System of Support:
October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month and Dyslexia Awareness Month


NCDPI’s Exceptional Children division is collaborating with the Integrated Academic and Behavior Supports division to provide several sessions at the annual Exceptional Children Conference in Greensboro (Nov. 8-10).


These sessions focus on Building District Capacity: Implementation of SLD Eligibility in a MTSS Model, which will provide a setting where district teams can consider:

*  what is already in place to support the implementation of the SLD Policy;

*  what must be modified or improved to implement with fidelity; and

*  what must be  added to support school implementation.


In addition to understanding policy, the MTSS team and Exceptional Children division staff continue to offer support to district teams and teachers in understanding best practices in meeting the needs of the approximately 75,000 students in North Carolina with a specific learning disability.


For general information on Dyslexia Facts please read and share. Contact Amy Jablonski for more information on MTSS or Lynne Loeser for more information on students with specific learning disabilities.

Implementation Science

Implementation Science:
Implementation Teams


Implementation of new innovations relies on structures to build capacity among stakeholders within an organization. Research-based interventions, cloaked by effective implementation structures within an enabling context, yield positive outcomes. Utilization of teaming structures as pictured below ensures information is communicated intentionally within an organization.


Implementation Teams

Click here for further information on Implementation Teams.

District Implementation Team Highlight


Implementation teams are an effective means to support implementation, sustainability, and scale-up of usable interventions.


Utilizing SISEP’s selection criteria, Clinton City Schools strategically expanded their district implementation team. The intentional building of the district implementation team improved pathways to communicate information among stakeholders to support effective implementation processes for building the knowledge, content and skills necessary to successfully implement the KEA and other district and state mandates.


Clinton City’s district implementation team recently met with their regional implementation team to complete a District Capacity Assessment. This assessment assists school districts in assessing their district’s current capacity as a means to improve implementation processes aimed at achieving intended student benefits.


Implementation Team Members

Pictured here are some Clinton City School District Implementation and the Sandhills Southeast Regional Implementation team members, from left to right:  Amy Sarp (Home Base Coordinator), Emily Pope (Exceptional Children’s Director), Lauren Austin (RIT member), Leslie Simmons, Jami Graham (NC K-3 Regional Consultants), Robert Turlington (Principal), Erin Rady (Instructional Coach/AIG Coordinator), and Steven Lear (RIT member)

Potential Hurricane Matthew Phishing Scams

The US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) warns users to remain vigilant for malicious cyber activity seeking to capitalize on interest in Hurricane Matthew. Users are advised to exercise caution in handling any email with subject line, attachments or hyperlinks related to Hurricane Matthew, even if it appears to originate from a trusted source.


Fraudulent emails will often contain links or attachments that direct users to phishing or malware infected websites. Emails requesting donations from deceptive charitable organizations commonly appear after major natural disasters.


US-CERT encourages users and administrators to use caution when encountering these types of email messages to protect themselves from phishing scams and malware campaigns by not clicking on unsolicited web links in email messages and using caution when opening email attachments. Verify the legitimacy of any email solicitation by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number. You can find trusted contact information for many charities on the BBB National Charity Report Index.

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