October 2018 From the Board Room

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

From the Board Room: Activities of the NC Board of Education



The State Board of Education is comprised of the State Treasurer, the Lieutenant Governor and 11 citizens appointed by the Governor. This newsletter highlights the Board’s activities on behalf of the 1.5 million public school students in our state and the more than 100,000 educators who provide services to children. You may view all State Board of Education member and advisor information online. To access current and archived versions of From the Boardroom, visit the State Board of Education’s website.

Hurricane Florence 2018

DPI Staff Update Board on Florence Damage and Recovery Efforts

Three weeks after Hurricane Florence swamped eastern North Carolina with torrential rains and catastrophic flooding that followed, many school districts are still struggling to recover, members of the State Board of Education learned from Department of Public Instruction staff leading the agency’s recovery efforts.


Lynn Harvey, chief of School Nutrition Services, said that local and state school nutrition personnel had been playing a critical role – even before the storm’s arrival – helping to prepare emergency shelters in advance and staffing them during the many days that followed. At one point, Harvey said, a total of 156 shelters were serving nearly 125,000 people who had fled their homes.


The local school nutrition personnel helping to staff those shelters, she said, “are unsung heroes in their local communities and deserving of our recognition.”


In terms of financial cost, Harvey said, school food authorities in the state that participate in federal meals programs have estimated and projected lost revenue of $14 million because of closed schools, and losses of $2 million in food and equipment from the storm due to lost power, spoilage and food diverted to shelters.


The impact on school facilities has been severe, said Eileen Townsend, chief of the DPI’s Public School Insurance section. Townsend estimated losses of at least $40 million to date, with a total of 125 claims having been filed from 17 school districts and seven community colleges that are also covered by the insurance fund. Townsend said the number of claims has exceeded anything the fund has seen before.


“The situation is fluid and continues to change,” Townsend said, “and it’s difficult to say where that number will end up.”


Compared to Hurricane Matthew in 2016, she said, which resulted in about $14 million in damages, Florence is likely to result in three times that cost.


“It’s a big number and a lot of claims,” she said, explaining to the board that Florence was both a flooding and wind event, causing a range of damage, including water damage, power outages, mold and mildew. “It’s colossal in so many ways.”


Former and Current Education Leaders Launch Florence Relief Effort


A coalition of current and former state education leaders presented their effort to aid schools to the State Board of Education, promoting Florence Aid to Students and Teachers (FAST NC) to help North Carolina’s public schools as students and educators recover in the storm’s aftermath.


In an effort initiated by former State Superintendent Mike Ward, the members of the steering committee leading the drive are:

  • June Atkinson, former State Superintendent
  • Eric Davis, State Board of Education Chairman
  • Henry Johnson, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education and former Mississippi State Superintendent
  • Mark Johnson, State Superintendent
  • Phil Kirk, former State Board of Education Chairman
  • Mike Ward, former State Superintendent

FAST NC is using an existing foundation established by the State Board of Education in 1989 to provide support for public schools, and will work with local superintendents, charter school directors, and statewide associations to identify needs and to direct funding from the foundation. FAST NC will not seek to duplicate payments from insurance or state or federal disaster aid, but instead will focus on supplementing these resources. It also provides a highly visible way for those nationwide to contribute to Florence relief with a focus on public schools.


The steering committee will make decisions about funding requests submitted from educators and administrators across the state that have the approval of the local superintendent or charter school director.

Three New Members Join the State Board 

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the board, filling the unexpired terms of Bill Cobey, Becky Taylor and Greg Alcorn, all of whom resigned their seats in recent months:

Jill Camnitz, of Greenville, as a representative of the 1st Education District. Camnitz is chair of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain Board of Directors. She also serves on the Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County, Pitt County Educational Foundation and Brody Foundation. She previously served as a member and as chair for the Pitt County Board of Education.

jill camnitz
james ford

James E. Ford, of Charlotte, as a representative of the 6th Education District. Ford is the principal at Filling the Gap Education Consultants, LLC, and serves as co-chair for the Leading on Opportunity Council in Charlotte. Ford previously served as the program director at the Public School Forum of North Carolina and was the North Carolina State Teacher of the Year during 2014-2015. 

JB Buxton, of Raleigh, as a member at-large. Buxton is the founding principal of the Education Innovations Group and has also worked as the deputy state superintendent of the North Carolina Department for Public Instruction. Buxton has served as an appointed member of the Raleigh Planning Commission and as a soccer coach with the Capital Area Soccer League.

jb buxton

Student Subgroup Performance Data Presented to Board; Schools Needing Extra Support Named


Under revised school accountability measures required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), DPI released additional data to the board reflecting school performance by student subgroups in 2017-18 and the names of schools needing additional support under federal and state guidelines. The additional data was unavailable in September, when overall School Performance Grades were released.


Beginning with last school year’s accountability results (2017-18), all public schools received a letter grade for the first time for each student subgroup (American Indian, Asian, Black, Hispanic, Two or More Races, White, Economically Disadvantaged, Students with Disabilities, and English Learners) in addition to the grade reflecting the performance of all students combined. Subgroup performance is reported when the number of tested students in a particular group is at least 30 students.


As with the overall School Performance Grade, subgroup grades are determined based partly on the growth or progress that students achieve during the year. Within a given school, each subgroup is designated as having exceeded expected growth, met expected growth or not meeting growth goals. Growth counts for 20 percent of the grade, while absolute performance counts for 80 percent.


While the subgroup grades reflect longstanding gaps between students based on race, income and disability, the gaps in growth data are less pronounced.


Grades and growth data for the state, districts and individual schools can be found here at 2017-18 School Performance Grades and following the Subgroup tab at the bottom of the file.


ESSA requires the identification of schools requiring extra support, either from the state using federal funds for the lowest performing schools (Comprehensive Support and Improvement) or from local districts for schools needing less intensive intervention (Targeted Support and Intervention).


Based on 2017-18 accountability results, a total of 77 schools were identified as CSI-Low Performing schools as the lowest 5 percent of all Title 1 served schools. An additional 42 schools were identified as CSI schools for having a high school graduation rate of 66.7 percent or less.


A total of 1,740 schools were placed on a “watch list” for Targeted Support and Improvement having a subgroup that received an “F” letter grade. Final identification for that support is based on at least two years of data. In addition, 1,634 schools were listed for Targeted Support and Improvement based on having had a subgroup grade below that of the highest CSI-Low Performing school. The lists of schools qualifying under the CSI or TSI performance criteria can be found here under 2017-18 Data Results.

ISD logo

Six Schools Under Consideration for NC Innovative School District 

The list of schools under consideration for inclusion in the NC Innovative School District for 2019-20 has been narrowed from 14 to six, board members learned from LaTeesa Allen, newly named superintendent of the district.


Allen explained that the shorter list of schools was developed after schools were removed from consideration based on a number of factors, including schools receiving a School Performance Grade of “D” for the 2017-18 year, schools that received an “F” in 2017-18 but that met growth and all schools that met growth goals in both 2015-16 and 2016-17 and eared a “D” grade in those years.


Deputy Superintendent Eric Hall told the board that superintendents of the districts where all six of the schools now under consideration have been contacted, broader engagement with local school boards and communities will not occur until final selections are made in mid October. Board member Alan Duncan said he was concerned that communication with school boards and communities follows the final selection instead of preceding it, causing potential resistance in local districts.


Hall explained that the Innovative School District faces a time crunch between early September, when potential schools for the district are identified based on test results, and a statutory deadline of Oct. 15 for a final selection of schools. Because of that brief window, he said, engagement with local communities is a challenge.


The six schools under consideration for the 2019-20 school year:


Rural: Carver Heights Elementary, Wayne County; Gaston Middle, Northampton County; Hillcrest Elementary, Alamance-Burlington; Williford Elementary, Nash-Rocky Mount Schools


Urban: Fairview Elementary, Guilford County; Hall-Woodward Elementary, Forsyth County