AP/IB/CIE January 2021 Update

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January 15, 2021


Advanced Learning and Gifted Education

Greetings AP/IB/CIE Coordinators,

Happy New Year

Happy New Year


We hope that each of you is doing well as you either end a semester or begin a new one. Thank you for your work ensuring transitions for students are smooth and teachers have the support they need. Please don't hesitate to call or email with questions regarding information shared below. beth.cross@dpi.nc.gov


Here is a quick update including the following topics:

  • NC High School 2021-2022 Course Registration
  • Proposed Waiver Feedback Opportunity
  • International Baccalaureate information
  • AP Playbook Highlight: Richlands High School
  • AP Course Audit Reminder
  • Advanced Placement Resources and Tools

Course registration

NC High School 2021-2022 Course Registration

Policies and Questions to Consider for Equity and Excellence


It's that time again! It is time to register students for classes for the 2021-2022 school year! Two State Board policies that may be helpful to you as you work with students on their course registration are GRAD-004Graduation Requirements and GRAD-008- Advanced Courses Satisfying Graduation Requirements.

As you embark on this yearly event, preparing students for the next courses in their high school plan/blueprint, NCDPI encourages you to consider the following questions to ensure equity and excellence in advanced courses:

  • How do we continue to expand access and opportunity, so more students participate in advanced courses? Consider how students themselves can help share their previous experiences and how supports are available for success.
  • How do we ensure rigor and support for all students, so more students are prepared to succeed in advanced courses? Consider intentional focus on vertical planning to help students prepare for college level courses.
  • How are we scheduling to optimize student success in advanced courses? Consider how your schedule impacts time for learning and proximity to the exams, which provides potential college credit.
  • How can school districts build intentional systems, with clear district leadership, to support all schools teaching advanced courses? Work cross district to build strategies and share promising practices, share resources and inspiration.
  • How do we support teachers to make the best use of resources available to them from College Board, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge International, etc.? How do we effectively share student resources with students? A student shared with us recently how if students knew about the resources, they may try an AP course!

NC Consolidated Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan

Proposed Waiver Feedback Opportunity

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) is seeking public comment on a proposed waiver to the North Carolina Consolidated State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The waiver is being made available to the public for review and comment for 30 days.  Access to the draft version of the waiver is available using the link: Draft ESSA Waiver.

Interested persons may submit their written comments by January 20, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. EST using the link: Proposed Waiver to North Carolina Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan


International Baccalaureate

International Baccalaureate Organization 

from Laura Lane, IB World Schools Manager


Second Registration Deadline - Today, January 15, 2021  

Survey Completion

Last week you received an email from the IB with a request for completing a survey to help them plan for moving forward. Your response is due no later than January 25, 2021. If you have multiple IB high schools in your district, the responses should be coordinated across the district.

All Heads of schools and IB Coordinators already received the communication, but they have had some issues with firewalls and spam folders recently.  Please check with your school leaders to ensure they received the important communication. If they did not, they should call IB Answers for support: 301-202-3025.


Excellence and Equity Initiative

Two links are provided as reminders of important information from the IB as we strive for Equity and Excellence in North Carolina's advanced programs.

IBO's Excellence and Equity Initiative  and E2 Framework document


The IB World Schools department works closely with all authorized schools to incorporate the strategies and tools used in the E2 Initiative. If you’d like to learn more about these tools, please contact your IB World Schools manager, or email IB Answers at support@ibo.org.



Advanced Placement Highlights, Reminders, and Updates

from Kathleen Koch, Senior Director, NC AP Partnership

College Board is pleased to release their second playbook, College Acceleration in Action: Five School Perspectives. This new playbook examines how five schools are putting non-negotiables into practice and shares insights on how school leaders and state policymakers can improve college acceleration opportunities for all students.


NC School Highlight

NCDPI and NCAPP celebrate Richlands High School in Onslow County Schools, and administrators Principal Brad Staley and Assistant Principal Frances Turner for sharing their work!  Read the playbook (they are highlighted starting page 10) to find out their nine non-negotiables that provide an important framework for quality in college acceleration opportunities. Their additional strategy is school culture.

"These seasoned educators repeatedly emphasized the need to "change the conversation” on AP potential and success with parents and students. Their culture is epitomized by the refrain, “gentle pressure relentlessly.” Principal Staley and Asst. Principal Turner are constantly enforcing the idea that students can succeed in college-level courses. This notion permeates teacher professional development, school advisor conversations, parent and student interactions as well as the school day. (The master schedule, for example, is examined to ensure block scheduling allows pairing of AP courses.) RHS, quite simply, doesn’t take no for an answer on AP." 

AP Course Audit Reminder

For AP teachers of both second semester and year-long courses, the deadline for teachers to complete the initial submission of course material for the 2020-21 school year in AP Course Audit is January 31. This is also the deadline for administrators to approve Course Audit forms for initial submissions, renew previously authorized courses for the 2020-21 school year, remove teachers not teaching or courses not being taught during the 2020-21 school year, and add online and distance learning courses being taught during the 2020-21 school year. See here for more information.

AP Resources and Tools for Success

Advanced Placement is committed to doing everything we can to help you and your students complete AP courses successfully:

  • New course pacing guides—designed for classrooms that have only completed around 25% of typical course content by January—illustrate one way to use AP Daily videos in lieu of some assignments teachers would ordinarily give, to help students complete all course topics by May. If your students are ahead of this pace, you'll be able to incorporate additional days or weeks to spend more time on challenging topics, practice course skills, or begin reviewing for the exam. Watch how you can use these pacing guides in this short video. Download the Guides
  • Live online review sessions are available from April 19–30.
  • An updated testing schedule with two contingency testing dates for each subject—one in the second half of May and one in the first half of June—will support schools that want more instructional time before testing. Exams on the contingency dates will also be full length, covering the full scope of course content.
  • Full-length digital contingency exams can be taken at home, if authorized by the AP coordinator, in the event that a school is closed or coronavirus-related risks prevent a student from testing at a school.
  • Please know we honor and respect choices you may make to focus on fewer topics in a difficult year. The skills students develop in your course are often more valuable than how much content they get through, and students who cover fewer topics in greater depth may be better positioned to earn a qualifying AP score than students who cover more topics in less depth.

More Information in February

The exam schedule and information about the contingency testing options will be posted to AP Central® in early February, and announced via email to AP teachers, AP coordinators, and administrators.

Thank you all for your dedication and hard work to increase student participation and success in advanced courses in North Carolina. Please continue to reach out to me whenever I can support your work.


Beth Cross,

NC Department of Public Instruction

State Consultant, Advanced Learning and Gifted Education