OCS Weekly Newsletter for September 25, 2020

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

logoOffice of Charter Schools

6307 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6307  

Weekly Newsletter- September 25, 2020

Follow-up: Charter/Residential/ISD/Lab School Leaders' Check-In 9.24.20 Click here to access the follow-up and recording link.

Please be sure to keep EDDIE up to date!


Upcoming Events and Reminders!

Save the Date!


The State Board of Education Meets Monday, Sept. 28, in Called Session

Monday, Sept. 28, at 10:30 a.m. The meeting agenda is available online and includes a link to audio access for the meeting.

State Action Plan for School Safety: Public comment opportunity available through September(Linked).

As a reminder, Common Follow-Up (CFU) collection is due Wednesday, September 30 for all schools that include grade levels 9 – 13.   All warnings and errors about blank diploma types can be ignored for non-senior students; only seniors who graduated are required to have diploma type information populated. Career plans are only required for students who completed a CTE concentrator; all other students’ career data may remain blank.

Please review and correct all your warnings and fatal errors that are listed on the CFU Exception Reports before approving your CFU. If the CFU is not populating at a school that includes grade levels 9 – 13, reference the Assigning Collections to Schools document on how to add the collection to the state compliance dashboard at a school.  A quick reference document, Common Follow Up Data Collection, is also available on the NC SIS website.

Reporting deadline

PowerSchool Logo

The Student Directory data collection deadline for inputs and outputs is Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020.   The data pull will be based on two values:

  1. Question 1 of the FERPA Opt-Out Screen:  Do you grant permission to allow directory information to be shared for non-commercial purposes? 
  2. Question 2 of the FERPA Opt-Out Screen:  Do you grant permission for your student’s contact information to be provided to the U.S. Military for the sole purpose of informing students of potential career opportunities?

If either or both of these questions are answered “no” , data will not be shared for non-commercial or Military recruitment purposes

Personal Protective Equipment Training for Charter School Staff

On October 6th, from 10 to 11:30, a repeat webinar will be offered on the use of personal protective equipment as described in the StrongSchoolsNC Infection Control and PPE Guidance (K-12). This webinar is intended for charter school staff who do not have access to a school nurse (Registered Nurse, RN) and who have been selected to assist COVID-19 symptom positive students and staff in their school. The content will be provided via Google Meets at  https://meet.google.com/oox-tnpo-ehn . Questions may be directed to Annette.Richardson@dhhs.nc.gov

DHHS Important Resources for Charter Schools: (Please Read by clicking each downloadable link)

Important Information Update RE: Annual Health Assessment and Immunization Compliance Reporting


Charter School Diabetes Memo


Charter School Epinephrine Memo


Annette Richardson, MSN, RN, NCSN

Charter School Health Nurse Consultant

Division of Public Health - Children and Youth Branch

NC Department of Health and Human Services

Issuance of Fall P-EBT Benefits to Eligible Households


As you will recall, the federal Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program was launched in the spring to help support food-insecure families purchase food for their children while schools were closed to students. to help meet this statewide need. The program provided a benefit on an EBT card that could be used to buy food at authorized retailers, including most major grocery stores.  We have been notified by NCDHHS of a brief extension of P-EBT benefits.  Under the new federal guidelines, many families that received P-EBT benefits in the spring may not be eligible to receive benefits this fall. Under USDA’s new guidance and September 30 deadline, DHHS provided P-EBT benefits to as many children as possible, with the wish they could have helped every family in need.  More than 600,000 students will qualify for the fall P-EBT program compared to the more than 900,000 who qualified in the spring.


Children are eligible for the fall P-EBT program if they meet these criteria:

  • Received P-EBT benefits last school year (2019-2020); or have been Directly Certified for free meal benefits for the current school year (2020-2021); or attends a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) School for the current school year (2020-2021); and
  • Their school district or charter school is approved to participate in the National School Lunch Program during the 2020 – 20201 school year; and,
  • Their school district or charter school utilized virtual learning for all students for at least five consecutive school days between August 17th and September 30th.

This is different than the eligibility criteria for P-EBT benefits in the spring, which was available to all children who normally access free or reduced-priced meals, regardless of school circumstance. The new eligibility criteria are based on guidance from the US Department of Agriculture.



NC School Districts and Charter Schools Eligible for P-EBT in Aug & Sept_final (1).pdf


We are reaching out because the fall P-EBT program has rolled out rapidly and households are beginning to receive benefits on their EBT cards. While there is technically very little district leaders are asked to do to support this effort, we wanted you to be aware of the following important points:


  1. Fall 2020 eligibility is different than spring eligibility.
  2. Eligibility requirements are established by federal regulations.
  3. Funds are already being loaded onto existing cards.
  4. P-EBT eligible districts are asked to share NCDHHS information (attached) with families through local communication channels.
  5. NCDPI encourages non-eligible districts to communicate with families how parents, guardians, or designees of students opting to participate in remote learning can pick-up or preorder meals that are provided to students receiving face-to-face instruction.
  6. Eligible families with questions about their P-EBT card should call the NC EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141.

Thank you for your leadership and understanding. 


Jessica B. Swencki | District & Regional Support-Sandhills Region

N.C. Department of Public Instruction-Sandhills RST

jessica.swencki@dpi.nc.gov | 910-524-7020 | @JessicaBSwencki


To help recap important news of the week, we are pleased to bring you the NCDPI COVID-19 WEEKLY TOP TEN.   The link does not change.  New content is added to the top of the document weekly.  

Check out this week's preview:

10. DTL Innovative Learning Catalysts Stand Ready to Support You!

9. NCVirtual Lunch Hour

8. K-3 Literacy Team to Host Informational Webinars

7. NCDHHS Launches COVID-19 Exposure Notification App

6. TOT (Teacher Online Training)

5. NCSPRA Hosts PR Check-In Sessions-Fridays at 11:00 a.m.!

4. Reminder-Loaner Buses Can Provide Temporary Route Relief

3. EC Transfer Child Count

2. Follow-Up-Geoff Coltrane-Office of the Governor

1. Social Distancing Liability

BONUS: Critical Census Update-Carolina Demography

Please note that the state COVID WEEKLY TOP TEN is not compiled with charter schools primarily in mind, or written by OCS. Charter schools retain flexibility by law, including but not limited to the issuance of emergency leave. If you ever have any uncertainty about a requirement, please reach out to the Office of Charter Schools.

9/23/2020 | NCDHHS COVID-19 Response Updates

Thank you for completing the embedded survey below to help state leaders understand your needs and finalize distribution for additional face coverings for students and staff.   


Superintendents, Charter, Residential, ISD, and Lab School Leaders,


To support safe school reopening for students, teachers, and staff, the US Department of Health and Human Services will be providing additional reusable cloth face coverings to states for distribution to schools. The cloth face coverings have been allocated to states according to their share of low-income families.


The total number of cloth face coverings provided by the federal government to North Carolina will not be sufficient to provide each student and staff member with cloth face coverings, but can supplement the face coverings that schools received in July from the State. Given the limited quantity of face coverings, these face coverings will be available by request and will be distributed to schools that are in need of additional supplies. School leaders should complete this survey by Thursday, October 1, 2020 to indicate whether or not they are in need of additional face coverings for students and staff. The survey includes links to documents indicating the minimum number of cloth face coverings that a district/school could receive if they complete the survey. The estimated minimum numbers of cloth face coverings were calculated based on 2019-20 student enrollment by grade level.


NOTE: The federal government has provided guidance that the youth-sized masks would be for elementary school students, while adult-sized masks would be for middle and high school students and staff.


Jessica B. Swencki | District & Regional Support-Sandhills Region

N.C. Department of Public Instruction-Sandhills RST

jessica.swencki@dpi.nc.gov | 910-524-7020 | @JessicaBSwencki


Follow-up on superintendent and charter leaders' calls 9/24/20

From Jeff Coltrain, Governor Cooper’s Senior Education Advisor

NCDPI Agency Horizontal Logo

Very Important: NCDPI Academics Policy Check-In: September (linked)

Please see attached the Read to Achieve's September edition of "K-3 Lit Bits" newsletter, which includes:

  • Regional RtA contact support
  • Comprehensive Plan for Reading Achievement (CPRA) introduction
  • NCDPI K-3 literacy resources
  • RtA legislation links
  • And many more helpful resources and links

K-3 Literacy September 2020 Lit Bits (1).pdf

Charter, Residential, Lab, ISD Leaders,


NCDPI is required by the Office of State Budget and Management’s Pandemic Recovery Office established by the Governor to track Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) and to collect and report monthly metrics from all PSUs on their impact. To facilitate this requirement, each CRF PRC has been assigned a specific goal and metric. These goals and metrics touch many departments within your systems. In order to complete these monthly reports in an accurate and efficient manner it is important that each district identify a single point of contact.  Your point of contact will interface with designated NCDPI staff to submit district specific information.  A successful point of contact at the local level will know who within the district to interface with to collect the required information.  Your point of contact will submit the information to NCDPI on a monthly basis.  The following examples give you an idea of the information that will be reported:


Example: PRC 124

Goal: All students have equitable access to digital resources needed for remote learning.

Metric: Student devices provided


Example: PRC 125
Goal: Food insecure families have access to week-day meals for school age children.

Metric: Monthly Meals Served


Example: PRC 132
Goal: All students are provided equitable services; Missed services, ESY or Comp Ed is delivered as appropriate.

Metric: EC students served; types of services provided.


Please review the guidance from Deputy Superintendent of Innovation, Dr. David Stegall and Director of Accountability Services, Dr. Tammy Howard.

If you ever have any uncertainty about a requirement, please reach out to the Office of Charter Schools. 

State Superintendent Mark Johnson Announces Local Districts’ Reading Diagnostics Choices 9/3/20 Linked

Important Info Update from the School Financial Reporting Section

What’s New – FY 20-21

Please check out the What’s New section of DPI’s website at https://www.dpi.nc.gov/districts-schools/district-operations/financial-and-business-services.  It will provide you the latest information about the COVID funding and Teacher and Instructional Support Bonus.


Teacher and Instructional Support Bonus

Charters received their Teacher and Instructional Support Bonus per their ADM in your PRC 036 installment.  The bonus must be paid by October 31, 2020.  Code the bonus to object code 180 as it is not subject to State Retirement (TSERS). However, the bonus is subject to FICA withholdings, using social security object code 211.  Please review state PRC 045 for the list of eligible purpose codes for this bonus.

If you have questions, please contact Roxane Bernard at roxane.bernard@dpi.nc.gov.


COVID Funding

Review the COVID Allotment Policy manual 2020-21, which reflects which COVID PRCs charters are eligible.

If you have COVID funding questions, please contact Sue Holly at susan.holly@dpi.nc.gov.


State and Federal Zero outs for Charters

DPI will process state and federal zero outs starting with the month of August.  Remember that the year-to-date (YTD) cash certifications must equal the YTD expenditures each month. 

If you have questions, please contact Roxane Bernard at roxane.bernard@dpi.nc.gov.


Emergency Cash Request

DPI Financial Services cannot prepare emergency cash requests. Make sure your charter school enters the cash request information into the cash management system correctly.  Please review the information that you have entered.


The School Nutrition Section has provided additional guidance on the use of PRC125 CRF School Nutrition.  This document is posted on our website at https://www.dpi.nc.gov/districts-schools/district-operations/financial-and-business-services under “PRC125 School Nutrition 75m”


The 2020-21 Allotment policy manual is posted at



The 2020-21 Salary Schedules are posted at



The 2020-21 Salary Manual is posted at



Child Count Transfer System


We are working diligently to prepare the Child Count Transfer System. Once the system is open, additional communication will be sent out, along with instructions and due dates.


We appreciate your patience.


If you have any questions please contact Melissa Dearman at Melissa.dearman@dpi.nc.gov



UPDATED GUIDANCE: $350 Teacher Bonus FAQ

$350 Teacher Bonus Legislation

NCCDA’s 55TH Annual Poetry and Art Contest Kicking Off Soon!

(shared by 2020-2021 NCCDA Career Development Month Chairs: Morgan Ray and Kelsey Hines)

NCCDA is hosting the 55th Annual Poetry & Art Contest in celebration of National Career Development Month in November. Every adult and student enrolled in public, private, and parochial schools, and colleges are eligible.  NCDA details are not live at this time – keep your eyes open to the NCCDA site for more information https://nccdaonline.org/Poetry-and-Art-Contest

The annual NCDA Poetry and Art Contest provides an opportunity for NCCDA to promote career development and awareness in North Carolina.  


Sept. - Nov. 2020: Advertise and hold local, district, and/or county contests

Nov. - Dec. 2020: Announce school or local winners (1st-3rd place); (send to county or district wide contest by December 20, if applicable.)

January 25: All Submissions due for judging By mail to:

Morgan Ray, 311 Thistle Downs Dr., Burlington, NC 27215

By email: mbray@waketech.edu or khines1123@gmail.com

Feb./Mar. 2021: State winners will be notified

(1st prize –$50, 2nd prize –$25, 3rd prize –$10; all winners receive a certificate)

April 2021: National winners will be posted June 2021 - National winners work is displayed and recognized during the NCDA 2021 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia (June 30 –July 2, 2021)

Exceptional Children Division

Please review the attached EC Division communication updates and Guidance. 


Tip Sheet: Related Service Support Descriptions (RSSD) The EC Division has received questions regarding how to document supplemental aids and supports that were previously included on a separate stand-alone form, RSSD, prior to the implementation of ECATS and the new EC forms. While this information was previously provided at the May 2017 Regional Director’s Meeting, it is appropriate to update the information and re-release in a Tip Sheet.  Please see the updated version attached. 

NC Student Connect - Opportunity for Student Hotspots
NC Student Connect is providing public school units with student hotspots.  They are seeking your charter's interest.  If your charter has not already been in contact with NC Student Connect, is in need of hotspots for your students, and are interested in this opportunity, please contact Andy Miller by close of business on September 30, 2020 with the following information:
1. Number of hotspots still needed by your district to meet connectivity needs.
2. Your preferred hotspot provider  
3. Whether you prefer an additional filter on the hotspots
4. Whether you need additional technical training resources for teachers or parents
5. Whether you need wifi in school parking lots, and if so, how many
6. Number of students in dead zones (no cell service or fiber for wifi connectivity sufficient to support distance learning)
7. Whether your district is interested in bus wifi (mobile hotspot unit) solutions  
8. Shipping address for devices  
9. Name and email of signatory for MOA with State procurement office  
If you need additional information, here is the NC Student Connect Contact Details:
Andy Miller
(828) 545-1778 
Thank you!
Jill Darrough
Lead Consultant
Digital Teaching & Learning
N.C. Department of Public Instruction

Resources Galore:


K-12 Education Legislative Update - Thursday, September 10, 2020

NCDPI Webinar Series: Integrating SEL in the Content Areas

School Financial Reporting SCHOOL BUSINESS DIVISION FINANCIAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES 9/15/20 Independent, Charter & Lab Schools Webinar

ESL/Title III Sponsorships for educators application window extended until September 25th

Digital Teaching and Learning Insider 9/25/20

School Business Resources 9/25/20

HOME BASE Bulletin 9/25/20

Fall 2020 NCStar Professional Learning Opportunities

September 2020 From the Board Room 9/16/20

North Carolina Public Schools - School Social Work September Update

STEMtastic Newsletter - September

Missed Our ELA September Office Hours? Sign up for October!

Character Education News & Updates: September 2020

Mark Your Calendars for International Education Week!

LinguaFolio PD: Archived Webinar & New Cafes 9/25/20

Upcoming PD from the CARE Project 9/22/20

NCDPI Webinar Series in October: Integrating SEL in the Content Areas 9/21/20

Arts Ed Newsletter *FEEDback BUFFET* 9/21/20

NCDPI Webinar Series: Integrating SEL in the Content Areas 9/21/20

September 2020 ESL/Title III Update

September Special Edition: Social Studies Update

Office of Charter Schools (OCS) Updates



Charter Leaders,

We have received many questions concerning K-3 diagnostic funding. Charter schools received their funding in their PCR 036 funds.

The funds were allocated in revision 8 and are posted https://www.dpi.nc.gov/districts-schools/district-operations/financial-and-business-services/allotments-funding-public-school-units/state-allotments . Let me know if you have any further questions.



Dave Machado

Director of Office of Charter Schools

Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership is a huge opportunity for current and aspiring charter school leaders. Hosted by Gardner Webb University. Click and download to read all about it!

Charter Leaders, 8/31s 'OCS Office Hours' topic was “Managing Restart Option B”. There was a panel of school leaders sharing their experiences of opening school with a hybrid model. Watch the recording through Epicenter!


Also, COMMUNICATION CONSIDERATIONS & KEY MESSAGES: Addressing COVID-19 Positive Cases in Schools


Some additional FREE resources:


The Training Network

  • NC Department of Labor Library free web-based training library
  • In order to access the streaming safety videos via subscription, you will need to submit a completed, signed library loan agreement which can be accessed from this page:




Required Planning Year Training Sessions:

Board members from charter schools that are opening in 2021, as well as acceleration applicants,  are required to attend 5 virtual Planning Year Sessions from September to March; this year we have spaced the sessions out more throughout the year.  Schools in a delay year are not required to attend but are welcome to. The school leader and some of the board members are also required to attend the New Charter School Leaders Institute in June 2021.  As a customer service, the Office of Charter Schools continues to open up these sessions to all charter schools.  If you have a new school leader and/or a new board member interested in attending any of the sessions, he or she must register to attend.  

Registration for the September virtual Planning Year Session I has closed.

Please note the schedule below:

2020-21 Planning Year Professional Development Schedule





September 30, 2020

8:30 – 4:00


Charter School Governance

October 28, 2020

8:30 – 4:00


Charter School Finance

January 27, 2021

8:30 – 4:00


Charter School Operations & Accountability

February 24, 2021

8:30 – 4:00


Meeting the Needs of All Students

March 24, 2021

8:30 – 4:00


Our School Opens in 5 Months!  Now What?

Note: Dates and topics are subject to change.  If needed, other trainings may be scheduled.  Site visits and/or board meeting observations may be scheduled during these months, as well.

Professional Learning & Renewals Newsletters

Professional Learning 101


The Scoop With Coop-All Things Renewals 


NC ACCESS Program Launches

Educational Equity Aspiring Minority School Leaders Program


The North Carolina Advancing Charter Collaboration and Excellence for Student Success (NC ACCESS) grant program in the Office of Charter Schools is excited to embark on the newest phase of the grant: the Educational Equity Aspiring Minority School Leaders Program. The purpose of the program is to recruit, select, and train a cohort of twenty (20) aspiring minority school leaders over the life of the project to prepare for service in a leadership role in NC charter schools.

The Aspiring Minority School Leaders Program is designed to recruit, support, and build a pipeline of minority school leaders prepared to meet the challenges of leading schools for educational equity. North Carolina charter schools will benefit by having access to a cohort of school leaders or color who are exceptionally trained, ready to be part of cutting-edge school reform initiatives, and ready to move into leadership positions with strengthened organizational and instructional leadership skills. The Aspiring Minority Leadership Program includes coursework, internship experiences, professional development, and mentoring.



NC charter school leaders can nominate one (1) potential candidate per school for the program. The nominating school leader must write a one-page letter stating why they are nominating this person. Candidates must complete a brief application and an essay to enter the pool of nominees. The deadline for submission of Nominations and the Aspiring Minority School Leaders Program application is October 1, 2020. The applications will be reviewed by the NC ACCESS Program staff and selections will be made by October 5, 2020. Once selections have been made, we will host a virtual webinar with the MSA Program Coordinator from Appalachian State University to answer questions about the program. The program is a collaboration with Appalachian State University. The program is online only.

Click here for:

Program Information and Application Package



NC ACCESS Program Reading List featured Monthly

How the Other Half Learns: Equality, Excellence, and the Battle Over School Choice
Robert Pondiscio
An inside look at America's most controversial charter schools, and the moral and political questions around public education and school choice. The promise of public education is excellence for all. But that promise has seldom been kept for low-income children of color in America. In How the Other Half Learns, teacher and education journalist Robert Pondiscio focuses on Success Academy, the network of controversial charter schools in New York City founded by Eva Moskowitz, who has created something unprecedented in American education: a way for large numbers of engaged and ambitious low-income families of color to get an education for their children that equals and even exceeds what wealthy families take for granted. Her results are astonishing, her methods unorthodox.



MINA Charter School Building Is Complete

MINA, founded in Sanford, Lee County, the heart of North Carolina, is open in August 2020 for students entering grades K-5. (Remote learning now) Specializing in small class sizes, and non-traditional classroom settings, the technologically based educational program begins with Kindergarten. Each student will be assigned either a tablet/laptop as a component of their MINA education. The STREAM curriculum focuses on project-based learning integrating Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Students enjoy a dual language curriculum beginning in Kindergarten. If a student’s primary language is English, he/she will learn Spanish while those whose primary language is Spanish will learn English.

The diverse faculty and staff reflect the educational, cultural and social needs of the students. Not only are staff members certified and licensed by the State of North Carolina, but some of them are among the most accomplished educators in their area of expertise. These experts carry out the mandates of our specialized curriculum and our students learn from the best.

Other News about Our Charter Schools:


The Wells Fargo Cup recognizes the top overall athletic program in each of the four classifications. Seven out of the top ten 1A schools are charter schools. Congratulations to Lake Norman Charter for finishing in the Top Ten in the 2A division.

1A Wells Fargo Cup Final Standings

1st – Lincoln Charter – 302.5

2nd – Pine Lake Prep – 270

3rd – Research Triangle – 240

6th – Community School of Davidson – 220

7th – Franklin Academy – 195

8th – Mountain Island Charter – 192.5

9th – Raleigh Charter – 175


Dillingham: 2020 North Carolina Parent Survey

"All parents want a school that provides the best academics in the safest environment."

Arts in Charters

Arts Education Partnership reports on The Arts in Charter Schools

T74 Achievement Gap Closing

T74 Reports - Charters Close Achievement Gap With District Schools, Study Finds, With Black and Low-Income Students Making the Greatest Gains

Leadership Opportunities:

Voyager Academy Operations Manager

Pine Springs Prep 8th Grade Science Teacher and 4th Grade Teacher

The Exploris School K-8 ESL Teacher

Lake Lure Classical Academy Classroom Teacher K-12Curriculum Resource Teacher (CRT), and Assistant K-12 Principal

Socrates Academy Elementary school teachers, middle school ELA teachers, and middle school band teacher

Whom Should I Contact at the Office of Charter Schools?


Please note that response times to voicemails left on our phones will be much slower than usual due to the COVID-19 response efforts. Sending us an email is ideal.  Clicking the link on our names will bring up an automatic email prompt. Thank you!

OCS Main number: 984 236 2700 ocs@dpi.nc.gov

Dave Machado         984 236 2702

Director of the Office of Charter Schools


VACANT       984 236 2701

Program Administrative Assistance, Communications


Shaunda Cooper      984 236 2712

Consultant, Renewals & Performance Framework


Claire Porter              984 236 2707

Consultant, Planning Year & Ready to Open Process


Ashley Baquero         984 236 2708

Consultant, Amendments & Compliance


Joseph Letterio       984 236 2703

Consultant, Epicenter Tech Support & Performance Framework


Darian Jones           984 236 2705

Consultant, Applications & Renewals


Jay Whalen              984 236 2711

Program Administrator, NC ACCESS Program


Barbara O'Neal        984 236 2706

Program Coordinator, NC ACCESS Program


Davida Robinson   984 236 2878

NC ACCESS Subgrant Program Manager


Lakisha Robbins  984 236 2704

NC ACCESS Finance Administrator