April 2017 NC Public School Partners Newsletter

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APRIL 2017

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NC Superintendent Unveils New Reading Initiative

Public encouraged to donate books

NC Superintendent Mark Johnson today unveiled North Carolina’s new statewide reading initiative, NC Reads. NC Reads will connect state literacy efforts from preschool to career.

The launch of NC Reads will promote three goals for this summer to combat the summer brain drain:
* Collect books, and funds for books, to donate to preschoolers and students for summer reading.
* Distribute free subscriptions for every student in K-5 to myON, which provides each user with a personalized literacy environment.
* Develop the NC Reads online resource to seamlessly connect volunteers, donors, and stakeholders to literacy efforts and programs across North Carolina.

As NC Reads continues beyond this summer, the program will expand to:
* encourage and support preschool literacy efforts to ensure children are kindergarten ready;
* align the efforts of donors, volunteers, and stakeholders to best support literacy in preschool and throughout school; and
* maintain a seamless continuum of literacy support from preschool to graduation.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the NC Department of Public Instruction has encouraged local communities to collect or purchase and distribute appropriate books to elementary school students. A revamped website will provide a clearinghouse of local book drive sponsors so that volunteers and donations can be connected to local organizations that sponsor local book drives and fundraising efforts.

State Board Approves Hall to Lead NC Achievement School District

Hall formerly with Communities In Schools

Eric Hall

State Board of Education members recently approved the hiring of Dr. Eric Hall, president and CEO of Communities In Schools of North Carolina, to lead the new NC Achievement School District.

Hall has more than 20 years of experience in education, most recently with Communities In Schools, a statewide non-profit network that provides integrated student supports – also called wraparound services – to support student success in more than 300 schools statewide. The organization is known for its ability to reduce dropout rates among at-risk students.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Science Education, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of South Florida. His passion for student equity, innovation in non-traditional schools and school leadership are all topics that he has researched and written about for publication in academic journals and books.

Legislation approved in 2016 provided for the creation of an Achievement School District comprised of up to five low-performing schools. The schools will be identified by the 2019-20 school year, but possibly earlier, to join this special school district. The schools will remain in the district for five years with an option to extend by three additional years. Each school will be run by a specific achievement school operator but led by Hall as superintendent. Each school’s  attendance zone will remain unchanged, and funding will be similar as that provided to charter schools.

Revised English Language Arts Standards Up for Board Action

Board to vote April 6

NC Elementary Student Reading

State Board of Education members reviewed the third draft of revisions to the English Language Arts Standards in March in preparation for a vote this week. The revised standards will govern what students are expected to learn and be able to do in English language arts in each grade, K-12.

North Carolina reviews content standards for every subject taught in the state’s public schools on a regular basis. The latest revisions were made after gathering feedback from local school districts, from the Academic Standards Review Commission and from the public. The Data Review Committee and Writing Team were comprised of local English language arts teachers and others. These groups have been providing feedback and working on revisions since June 2016.

Revisions include a new format for the standards to provide more clarity to the standards, including glossary entries for terms. This change is designed to clarify what a standard means and to support English teachers statewide with a common vocabulary. Other revisions expand the description of the complete writing process, put more focus in some grades on grammar and usage conventions, identify new handwriting standards in grade 2 to focus on cursive writing, and focus more on reading persistence and the ability to connect prior knowledge and experiences to informational (non-fiction) text.

Overall, 125 standards had a major change as described above, 45 had a minor change and 179 standards remained the same. Eight standards were removed, and one new standard was added. Sixty-seven standards had the examples removed with no other change.

Comment Now on Draft 2 of the State’s K-8 Mathematics Standards

Survey closes April 20

Math Chalkboard

N.C. Department of Public Instruction Mathematics Section staff have developed a survey to seek public input on the second draft of the state’s revised K-8 Mathematics Standards. The second draft takes into account local school district feedback.

You may review the draft standards online prior to completing the survey. The survey deadline is 5 p.m., April 20.

Standards Versus Curriculum

What's the difference?

The terms standards and curriculum sometimes are used interchangeably, but NCDPI K-12 Curriculum and Instruction staff working on the revised standards note the distinction between standards and curriculum.

Standards are what students are expected to know and be able to do – the end result. Curriculum references the content and material used to help students meet the standards. Curriculum could include student activities, books and digital resources, and programs focused on particular subjects and the like.

Notice of Public Comment: NC Extended Content Standards for English Language Arts

Comments accepted through April 30

US Department of Education

NCDPI’s Exceptional Children Division is accepting public comments on the proposed changes to the North Carolina Extended Content Standards for English Language Arts (ELA).

Per federal guidelines and regulation on the Alternate Achievement Standards for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities (2007), students must be provided access to state standards by aligning instruction and assessments. Currently, NCDPI K-12 Curriculum and Instruction staff are in the process of revising ELA K-12 standards. The Exceptional Children Division will revise the current standards to align with the newly proposed ELA revisions.

These documents can be viewed in person at the Exceptional Children Division office, Education Building, 301 N. Wilmington Street, Raleigh, and on the web (under Hot Topics).

Interested citizens and school personnel are invited to review the proposed changes and submit any comments by April 30. In making comments, please indicate the section(s) on which you are commenting (e.g., NC.RLK.1; NC-RL 6.3 a), and provide comments in the form of statements. Comments may be submitted via email or mailed to: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Exceptional Children Division, ATTN: Dreama McCoy or Ronda Layman, 6356 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6356.

Homework Gap Survey

Survey closes April 30


Nationally, seven in 10 teachers assign homework that requires Internet access and digital equipment. But an estimated 5 million households in the United States with school-age children do not have Internet access at home, and/or other required resources. Research has found that students who fall into this “homework gap”—households where Internet access is limited or unavailable—lag behind in education and are less competitive in the workforce.

 To help ensure no public school student falls into the homework gap, the state needs to determine how widespread the homework gap is and the potential challenges students face in accessing digital resources.

To identify this data, NCDPI Digital Teacher and Learning division will partner with the Broadband Infrastructure Office and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation to conduct a survey of North Carolina households with K-12 students. We encourage you to share this survey with your neighbors and school community so policymakers and education stakeholders can design solutions to address this issue.

The anonymous, short survey is available in English and Spanish (Encuesta de Accesso a Internet K-12 en el Hogar). The survey closes April 30. If you have questions, concerns or feedback, please contact the Broadband Infrastructure Office or 919.754.6695.

Howard Lee Receives Jay Robinson Leadership Award

Award recognizes effective education leadership

Howard Lee

Congratulations to former North Carolina Senator and State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee, who recently was named the 2017 Public School Forum of North Carolina Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award winner.

The award recognizes “leaders who have demonstrated innovative, creative, effective leadership for public education in North Carolina.”

April is School Library Month

Contact your local school library for schedule of activities

School Library Month

Help school libraries across the state celebrate School Library Month by contacting your local school libraries to learn about activities they will be hosting in April.

Consider changing your social media banner for the month of April to show your support. Add a “Twibbon” to your Twitter profile picture, and use #slm17 to share how school libraries empower our students.

Complimentary graphics and information about School Library Month are available on the American Association of School Librarians' website.

NC and World War I Focus of NC Museum of History Exhibit

Exhibit runs April 8 through Jan. 6, 2019

NC and WWI

Discover the North Carolina Museum of History’s groundbreaking exhibit, North Carolina and World War I. Covering more than 6,500 square feet of gallery space, this exciting exhibit is believed to be the largest of its kind among state history museums.

Wind your way through a life-size trench system – complete with eight-foot-high, mud-plastered walls, hundreds of sandbags, lights and sounds of battle – in addition to a reproduction field hospital, floor-to-ceiling murals, historic film footage, interactive video and more than 500 artifacts. Stories of numerous Tar Heel soldiers are distributed throughout the exhibit and include a special showcase of the African American 92nd Infantry Division. Discover these North Carolina connections to the Great War, and see firsthand how battle affected the state abroad and at home.

The exhibit officially opens April 8 with a commemoration to mark the centennial of U.S. entry into WWI. This full day of free family-oriented events will include an armored Humvee and a five-ton cargo truck from the National Guard, a bagpiper in WWI regalia, costumed re-enactors, a mobile museum from the 82nd Airborne Division, film screenings, hands-on activities and much more.

Civics Challenge Targets High School Students

Submission deadline is May 1

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners is sponsoring a Civics Challenge to engage high school students on issues impacting county government. 

High school students can participate individually or as a team to promote “My County” or “Mental Health and High School Students” via a “PechaKucha” presentation.

Three finalists will win $500 and present their work at the 2017 NCACC Annual Conference in August. One winning project will win an additional $500. Details and contest rules are available online. The submission deadline is May 1.


State Board of Education Meetings

  • April 5 - 6, 2017
  • May 2 - 4, 2017 (includes Planning and Work Session)
  • May 31 - June 1 

NC Reads

This Month's Highlights

Celebrate NC Schools