March 13, 2017 Superintendents' Weekly Message

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Superintendents' Weekly Message

March 13, 2017

Please see this week’s information items from across NCDPI’s departments and divisions of interest to local superintendents.



Exceptional Children Division Announces ECATS Contract Award


NCDPI Exceptional Children Division is pleased to announce that the Exceptional Children Accountability Tracking System (ECATS) contract was awarded to Public Consulting Group (PCG) on Feb. 14. 


ECATS will replace the current Exceptional Children case management application CECAS while expanding as a system comprised of three integrated modules: Special Education, Medicaid and Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) that are accessed from a single user interface. 


The Special Education module is a case management and data analysis module that allows for the efficient capture of statewide exceptional children data. It offers NCDPI and PK-13 educational institutions a means to manage and analyze exceptional children data. ECATS eliminates redundant data collection, reduces paperwork, and focuses on ease of use of the exceptional children process for the user while still maintaining compliance to federal and state mandates.


The MTSS module offers NCDPI and PK-13 educational institutions a means to collect and report on the instruction and interventions a school uses to support students including the outcomes of those supports.


The Medicaid module integrates and uses the data available from the Special Education and MTSS modules to process Medicaid claims for exceptional children without users having to use the services of a third party and without adding additional staff.


ECATS also will contain a combined set of data or Operational Data Store (ODS), referred to as the ECATS ODS. The ECATS ODS will utilize a business intelligence tool to produce reports, which may contain any combination of data, based upon user access, from the Special Education, Medicaid and MTSS modules.


ECATS will have direct data interface with the Student Information System (SIS) PowerSchool and other NCDPI enterprise systems.


Exceptional Children staff are excited to partner with PCG on the development and implementation of ECATS. As the project progresses, staff will keep you updated with GovDelivery announcements and postings to the ECATS website. In the meantime, please keep CECAS current for a smooth and uninterrupted transition to ECATS. 


Staff welcome your thoughts, suggestions and questions. Please send ECATS project-related inquiries to

CTE Learning that works for North Carolina

CTE Technical Attainment Monitoring


NCDPI Career and Technical Education (CTE) staff would like to share plans to assist districts in supporting continuous improvement in technical attainment. Technical attainment is defined as proficiency on post-assessments in CTE and attainment of credentials that can be counted in lieu of a post-assessment.


The assurances of the state and local plans for Career and Technical Education require programs, services and activities to be carried out with respect to meeting state adjusted levels of performance as required by the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006. (F.134(b)(2)) When trend data indicates that LEAs are not meeting this assurance with regards to Performance Indicator 2S1, a Technical Attainment Improvement Plan is required.


NCDPI’s CTE department has created a toolkit to assist districts with crafting a strategic plan to address technical attainment concerns and will provide continuous professional development opportunities throughout the year. Supports will be based upon the improvement plans designed by your district. CTE regional coordinators are currently working with districts that will be submitting technical attainment improvement plans.

We encourage you to consult with your local CTE director to discuss your district’s situation. CTE will provide more information in upcoming superintendent messages.

Professional Development

Register Now for Next Connected
Educator Session


Join staff from NCDPI District and School Transformation and NCSU-NELA at the Hilton Garden Inn-Crabtree in Raleigh this Thursday (March 16) to hear Superintendent of Laurens County School District 55 (South Carolina) Dr. Stephen Peters share how to capture, inspire and teach in high needs schools and districts. Peters will provide practical strategies that were used to improve an “F” rated school to a “B” rating in just one year as the guest facilitator for the next Connected Educator series.


You can still register online. Questions may be directed to Amelia McLeod or 919.835.6102.

PowerSchool logo

New Functionality Coming to PowerSchool

PowerSchool will soon be able to accommodate students taking classes in an LEA other than their base LEA with the implementation of PowerSchool Student Cross-LEA Enrollment. Stay tuned for more information concerning this roll-out.

Schoolnet icon

Schoolnet: Data for All Users


Two quick questions…

1.  Are you seeking materials to help educators develop stronger data-driven instructional practices?

2.  Are you trying to determine what areas to focus on for summer professional development?

If so, then be sure to review your Schoolnet data.


Within Schoolnet, the School and District Data tab will allow you to review benchmark data from assessments. One report that may be of interest to district leaders is the “Standards by School” report. In this report, you can see how schools are doing on standards that have been assessed.

Benchmark Data


Domain data by area can be compared to domain data for end-of-grade/end-of-course assessments. This can help districts to determine professional learning needs as well as which schools to target for intervention and remediation. Let Schoolnet help you make data-based decisions!


Textbook Adoption Process Update


NCDPI staff are reviewing the current textbook adoption process to begin the transition to an approach that specifically includes the evaluation and adoption of digital materials. Anticipated changes include, but are not limited to, incorporating explicit criteria in rubrics for a greater focus on content in digital format, requiring downloadable and digital products for evaluation, and aligning the adoption process with the content standards revision process.


Agency staff would like to engage curriculum and instruction leaders across the state in providing feedback and comments for consideration during the modernization of the evaluation and adoption process. Next steps include communicating the information in this message to curriculum and instruction leaders and inviting them to participate in a virtual meeting in March to discuss process modernization.


We are excited about the opportunity to connect with educators across the state for the purpose of enhancing the formal evaluation and adoption process to meet the current and future needs of North Carolina public school students.

Multi-Tiered System of Support

Multi-Tiered System of Support:
Presentations to State Board of Education


It has been a privilege to provide Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) updates to State Board of Education members. This month, NCDPI Chief Academic and Digital Learning Office Maria Pitre-Martin and Director of Integrated Academic and Behavior Systems Amy Jablonski presented an overview for new board members that included these four big ideas regarding the benefits of an MTSS:

1.    Alignment of school resources with student needs.

2.    High quality instruction for all students in all classrooms.

3.    A rapid response system to address student concerns.

4.    Early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs.


Joining Pitre-Martin and Jablonski were Iredell-Statesville Schools’ Executive Director of Elementary Instruction Mary Ann Karriker and N.B. Mills Elementary School Principal Kim Mitchell who shared their valuable MTSS experiences. They attributed the following results to implementing a MTSS framework with consistency: 

·      Leadership able to focus on academics because discipline is managed more effectively.

·      Children know/understand expectations.

·      Staff more at ease and more students engaged.

·      Growth in academics and behavior.

·      Students get the support they need.

·      Staff feel supported and successful.


Iredell-Statesville Schools is in Cohort 1 of NCDPI’s Professional Development and Technical Assistance plan. For a list of all Cohort 1 and 2 districts or charter contacts, please click here. For further assistance, please contact NCDPI Director of Integrated Academic and Behavior Systems Amy Jablonski.

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

Last Call to Nominate Teachers for 2017 NC Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching


April 1 is the deadline to nominate secondary teachers (grades 7-12) for the 2017 North Carolina Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The PAEMST is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching.


Anyone – principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public – may nominate a teacher by completing the nomination form available on the PAEMST website.


One mathematics teacher and one science teacher will be selected from North Carolina. Each will receive a $10,000 award and a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Awards Recognition Program.

CCSA: Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement

Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement Updates


Get Your CCSA App Today

The 2017 Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement (CCSA) Committee is pleased to introduce our conference app this year. Through this exciting tool, participants will be able to:

*  access the schedule of all sessions;

*  build a personalized schedule;

*  learn about exhibitors;

*  Tweet their experiences;

*  provide immediate session feedback; and

*  connect with other attendees.


The CSSA 2017 Conference App is available on iPhone, iPad and Android devices and on the web for use with computers. 


Smartphones or iPads

Download the app. Once download is complete, open the app and enter your email address. Click “Get Started” and you are ready to use the app


Smartphones or iPads Option #2

On your device, go to App Store (apple users) or Google Play Store (android users) and search for “CCSA 2017” then touch “Get” and/or “Install.” Once download is complete, open the app and enter your email address. Click “Get Started” and you are ready to use the app.


Web-based version for computers (as well as smartphones & tablets)

Go online and enter your email address. Click “Get Started” and you are ready to use the app. This version does not require downloading of the app.


APP reminders...

* We encourage you to accept the offer of automatic push notifications to facilitate receiving real-time updates and highlights of special conference features.

* The CCSA 2017 app functions similarly on smartphone, tablet, or computer.

* The app is only available to registered participants using the email address noted at registration.

* Please notify CCSA staff of substitutions as soon as possible to ensure all attending participants will have access to the app.


Email CCSA staff or call 919.835.6133 if you have any questions


2017 CCSA Sessions: Something for Everyone


The 2017 Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement (CCSA) has approximately 200 sessions, classified by more than 20 strands of learning, and a number of specialty meetings.


If you are looking to engage with colleagues from around the state, gain expert insight into statewide education initiatives, or simply learn something new, Greensboro will be the place for you March 20-22.


Visit the CCSA website to see a list of sessions by strands and presenter information so you can get a jump on which sessions to attend or to register if you haven’t done so already.

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