OCS Weekly Newsletter for March 26, 2021

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Weekly Newsletter- March 26, 2021

Updated Lighting Our Way Forward Guidance


Superintendents, Charter Leaders, and Public Information Officers


Click here to see the news release marking the one-year anniversary of school closures, as issued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis.


Please be sure to keep EDDIE up to date!


Regarding next school year...


  • Charters can begin to create their calendars for next year without action by the General Assembly, using the statutes that applied pre-COVID. For the 2020-2021 school year, the General Assembly created special calendar requirements and allowed remote learning under certain conditions for all public schools. However, those laws will not apply after the 2020-2021 school year.
  • For the 2021-2022 school year, charters will follow the law as it existed pre-COVID - They must provide 185 days or 1025 hours of instruction over 9 months.
  • Regarding Remote Instruction: There is no current authorization in statute for any public schools, except for the 2 pilot virtual charters, to conduct remote learning for the 2021-2022 school year. Of course, the General Assembly may enact a new law to apply to the 2021-2022 school year that addresses whether remote learning can be used, and if so how. But since no law has been enacted yet, charters can proceed with setting up their calendars using the same requirements that applied at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, but do not have authorization to include remote instruction for 2021-2022 at this time.

Upcoming Events and Reminders!

Save the Date!


GEER Funds PRC 169/170 Budgets & Applications Due By March 31, 2021


129 of our charter leaders received an email on 3/19/21 from Dr. Darian Jones concerning the remaining GEER Funds.  These 129 schools must complete their budgets in BAAS and applications in CCIP for the GEER I (PRC 169/170) by March 31st  to be eligible to receive these funds. Encumbrance date for GEER I  (PRC 169/170) funds is September 30, 2022 after a submitted budget/application by March 31, 2021. If you received email, please submit your budgets and application.  


GEER Funds Technical Assistance Webinar Information

The webinar to assist districts in completing applications for GEER funds in PRC 169 and PRC 170 is available in two ways:

1-Video recording of the GEER Application Webinar  Use this password: ScqF9HKB  2- GEER Technical Assistance Webinar.pdf

We have contracted with the following administrators to assist with processing the GEER grant applications:

- Sandy Carlaccini – Sandy.Carlaccini@dpi.nc.gov

- Judi Godfrey – Judi.Godfrey@dpi.nc.gov

- Sue Hatley – Sue.Hatley@dpi.nc.gov

- Melanie Rhoads – Melanie_Rhoads@dpi.nc.gov

- Robin Roberson – Robin.Roberson@dpi.nc.gov

To learn who at DPI will review your GEER grant application, please click on this link GEER CCIP assignments.xlsx. 

You may also contact Talbot Troy at talbot.troy@dpi.nc.gov or 984-236-2797 with questions regarding the GEER grants.

OFFICE HOURS will be on Spring Break and will resume Monday, April 19th. CSAB meets April 12th.


Here is the NEW OCS Office Hours LINKhttps://ncgov.webex.com/webappng/sites/ncgov/meeting/download/184509c605b64005a0671c573f999fe7?siteurl=ncgov&MTID=m63130db7d3357c89a7332d38b6921c79

NC Office of Charter School Petition Bootcamp - 2021 Application Cycle 

Hosts: Melanie Rackley / Dr. Darian Jones
Date: Thursday, April 1, 2021 
Time: 5:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time 
Session number: Not Available 
Registration password: This session does not require a registration password. 
To register for this session, go to https://ncgov.webex.com/ncgov/k2/j.php?MTID=t3843308ba1978cf717be0a64ec8737cc and register. 

Once the host approves your registration, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the session. 
Note: If you have already registered for this session, you do not need to register again. 



The North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools (NCAPCS) is hosting a Virtual Career Fair that is sponsored by Charter Success Partners on April 1st from 9 AM to 12 PM and 3 PM - 6 PM. There will be over 30 schools across the state and 100's of career opportunities. Those seeking their next growth opportunity should register at: https://app.brazenconnect.com/events/3bA93?utm_medium=Business+Members+-+Email&utm_source=Email

Spring 2021 Course Code Webinar Series


Please join the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) for a Spring 2021 course code webinar series. PowerSchool Data Managers, PowerSchool Coordinators, School Counselors, Career and Technical Education Directors, Career Development Coordinators, CCP Coordinators, and Curriculum and Instruction/Academic Leaders are encouraged to join the conversations. Please see details below and we look forward to seeing you (virtually) soon! 


Note: Due to technical issues we have updated the webinar links below.



Time:  2 - 3 pm EST

Platform:  Webex

Dates and Registration Information:

Questions? Please enter your questions in the Question Collection Form.


Weekly COVID Top Ten-March 25, 2021

NCDPI Agency Horizontal Logo

IMPORT DETAILS: NCDPI CAO Academic Policy Update

3/18/21 Charter Leader's Call Recording

2020-2021 P-EBT Updated Toolkit


Superintendents, Public Information Officers, and School Nutrition Administrators,

As DHHS and DPI continue to provide additional benefits through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) to eligible students for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, it is our goal to provide you with updated communication materials to help you. Included in this email you will find updated materials related to the continued issuance of benefits for the 2020-2021 school year.

For the rest of the 2020-2021 school year, benefits for student P-EBT will be issued retroactively on a monthly basis starting at the end of March as long the student remains eligible. The benefits received in March will be for January and February 2021 and will be staggered over several days. March benefits will be issued in April and staggered over several days, April benefits will be issued in May, and so on. Benefits will continue to be retroactively provided every month for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year if the student remains eligible. The average number of days for schools using a hybrid schedule for January and February was 10 days (up from 9 days in the initial issuance) which means the hybrid amount eligible students will receive will be $68.20 for each month.

Additionally, it has come to DHHS and DPI’s attention that there have been reports of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) and Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) recipients receiving scam text messages and phone calls asking for personal information. We encourage you to inform the populations in the community you interact with that they should not reply or provide any personal information if they are contacted in this way and to delete the message. FNS or P-EBT recipients should NEVER share social security numbers, bank information, EBT card numbers, or personal identification numbers with people they don’t know. We have included messaging in this toolkit for you to share on social media as well as a graphic on the types of suspicious activity to avoid.

Lastly, please remember that school calendars and individual student attendance records are used to determine the amount of each student’s P-EBT food assistance for each month. It is key to routinely remind staff of the importance in updating school calendars and individual student attendance records for completeness for the months of August, September, October, November, and December 2020, as well as January and February 2021.

NC DHHS will continue to issue benefits retroactively to ensure all students receive the full benefit to which they are entitled. School calendars and attendance records that are not updated regularly can cause a student who is 100% in virtual learning mode to have their monthly food assistance benefit cut in half. Thank you in advance for sharing this important message as doing so will not only ensure students receive timely food assistance, it will also minimize parent calls to the district and prevent the duplication of effort by all involved in this process.

Provided below are a list of the communication materials attached and a short description of the purpose of the materials:

Materials that are OK to be shared EXTERNALLY (i.e. sharing to the general public)

• Social media messages for March and April: Messages for March and April that can be distributed over Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The messages will be aligned with the DHHS campaign. (English/Spanish)

 P-EBT Scam Warning social media messages: Message and associated graphics warning the public of how to avoid potential P-EBT scams. (English/Spanish)

Materials that should only be used INTERNALLY

• UPDATED Info Sheet: One-pager with clarified language around eligibility and benefit amount. The purpose of this document is to highlight key messages that can help partners/stakeholders answer basic questions about P-EBT. (English/Spanish)

• Simplified Messaging and Special Circumstance Document: Provide key internal stakeholders with clear and concise messaging and clarify some of the unique situations that stakeholders may receive questions on. (English)

• P-EBT Call Coordination: Displays responsibilities and call transferring guidelines for different parties who receive P-EBT calls, updated to provide additional clarity in redirecting callers to contact their schools. (English)

In addition, the FAQs and P-EBT webpage continue to be updated with the most recent and relevant information regarding P-EBT for students.

To learn more about P-EBT, please visit www.ncdhhs.gov/PEBT.

Joint Letter from Superintendent Truitt and Chief Deputy Secretary Susan Gale Perry


Please see this letter from Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy Secretary Susan Gale Perry.

Please note at the bottom of the letter that new guidance on vaccine operations is now available to help support your school personnel in getting vaccinated.

Important Note on Annual Charter School Health Report


The COVID-19 Pandemic has continued to create challenges for schools over the course of the 2020-21 school year. As a result, the Annual Charter School Health compliance reporting requirement has again been waived. Please remember that while the report for this school year has been waived, the related requirements that are associated with performance framework A17 still apply. Those include the following: Charter schools are required to maintain 2020-2021 school year records on the status of Health Assessments for those students who enrolled for the first time in a North Carolina public or public charter school (§ 130A-441(c)), and the Immunization status of all students in Kindergarten and in Seventh Grade (G.S. 130A-155(c)). 


Additionally, charter schools are required to comply with the Care of Students with Diabetes law (G.S. 115C-375.3.) and with the School Supply of Epinephrine Auto-Injectors law (G.S. 115-375.2A.) for those students participating in in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year. Charter schools also must follow State Board of Education Policy SHLT-001: Return-to-Learn After Concussion, charter school nursing services and identified student health conditions.


If there are questions or concerns about the report, please contact:


Annette Richardson, MSN, RN, NCSN

Charter School Health Nurse Consultant 

Office/Mobile: 252-339-3009 


School Business Contact Information 


To ensure that School Business staff are able to contact you: 



School Financial Reporting




Cash Request for FRD 04/01/2021

Due to the new State Cash Management System's implementation, DPI will not be able to process cash requests for FRD of 4/1/2021.   Normal operations will resume on April 5, 2021.  DPI apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause.


Should you need additional information, please contact Jennifer Baird at Jennifer.Baird@dpi.nc.gov.


EWIC, CTE Grant Applications now Available

Charter School Leaders,

The North Carolina Education and Workforce Innovation Commission (EWIC) invites interested schools to apply for grant support through The Education and Workforce Innovation Program fund (EWIF). This Career and Technical Education (CTE) grant is established to foster innovation in education that will lead to more students graduating career and college ready.

To apply please click here.

This is a competitive grant. Upon receiving applications, a special committee within the EWIC Commission will be average the amount of qualified applications with the overall grant amount. Grant applicants can expect an award amount between $35,000 and $50,000, depending on how many applicants are approved.

Grant descriptions can be found in the respective legislation, hereThe application is available until April 20. Please contact Jacqueline Wyatt, Career Readiness Specialist, Career and Technical Education at NCDPI, Jacqueline.Wyatt@dpi.nc.gov with any questions.


Hello Charter School Directors, 

For the upcoming months, we are using #FamilyFridays on the @ncmtss Twitter Account. We want to stimulate thinking about your family engagement work that positively supports all students. Join us in lifting the by sharing a resource, shout out, or question that will ensure we keep this stakeholder group at the forefront of our work. This graphic was shared on Twitter in one of the first #FamilyFridays tweets. We are deeply grateful to collaborate with such a dedicated group of educators!

Lynn Bailey, M.A. Ed.

Strategic Outreach Consultant
(828) 226-2820
Division of District and Regional Support

IMPORTANT: Please see the attached memo regarding changes with automation of GPA and Grade-Scale beginning with the 2021-22 school year.

Please send the attached memo, Summer Programs 2020–21, from Dr. David Stegall and Dr. Tammy Howard to all Charter School Directors.

Exceptional Children Division

Please review the attached EC Division communication updates and Guidance. 

Items of Interest-State Complaint Corrective Action


Corrective Action

Technical Assistance Materials Statewide corrective materials have been made available through the shared drive http://bit.ly/SEAcaFOLDER


Local leaders should continue to access this drive to support local implementation of required corrective action. The only new items that will be posted to this location will be the FAQs from the EC Office Hours. The FAQs will be posted within five to ten business days after the scheduled EC Office Hours.

The North Carolina Homeless Education Program (NCHEP)  

NEW DATE - Required Homeless Data Collection Training Webinar

NCHEP has found it necessary to reschedule the March 22, 2021, data collection webinar to Wednesday, April 14, 2021.  The webinar is required for all new homeless liaisons as well as for all charter school liaisons.  Participation in the webinar will prepare both charter school liaisons and new LEA liaisons for the upcoming annual homeless data submission due in June.  Guidance on specific homeless data to collect will be provided, as well as direction on homeless data entry into PowerSchool.


Registration is now open; click link below.  Additional information will be posted to the NCHEP McKinney-Vento Data Collection web page.

In the interim data collection technical assistance is available on the NCHEP website, as well as from your Program Specialist, Tricia Lentz (336-681-7561).

Resources Galore

Principal of the Year info - Submission Due April30!

NC SIS Weekly Email Bulletin - March 26, 2021

School Business Information

DTL Insider - March 19, 2021

Announcing the First Annual Student-Led Computer Science Virtual Summit - Student Registration

CFNC's Take Your Dreams Off Hold Initiative for Seniors

Let’s Get Ready! A Family’s Guide to Support Kindergarten Readiness

2021 Recycle Regatta – FREE – Accepting Submissions until March 31

Advanced Placement Coordinators' Update- AP Exams

25th Anniversary Art Contest

March/April 2021: Social Studies Update

March PD for World Language Educators

March Global Education Newsletter

March 18, 2021 - Home Base Bulletin

LinguaFolio Webinar on 4/8 and Canvas Course

NCDPI Arts Education Newsletter - March 17, 2021

March Monthly K-12 Math Newsletter Updates

STEMtastic News - March 2021

Digital Learning Standards Course for 2021

Advancing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) as a Lever for Equity and Excellence - Equity Insights Report

DL/I Discourse: IHE- Strategies for Online Academic Language Learning for DL/I

Summer Nutrition Programs Offer Meals for Children at No Cost While School Is Out

Office of Charter Schools (OCS) Updates




Evaluation Instrument Validation & Crosswalk


In State Board Policy TCED-016, it is stated that a local board shall use the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards (NCPTS) and North Carolina Educator Evaluation System (NCEES) unless it develops an alternative evaluation that is properly validated and that includes standards and criteria similar to those in the NCPTS and NCEES.


Critical Considerations:

  • The validation study should be conducted by an external agency. This means that the LEA or vendor should not be conducting its own validation study, but that an unbiased third party should conduct the validation study.
  • The third-party evaluator should submit a summary of its methodology along with its findings.
  • The LEA/charter school or the vendor should submit a crosswalk between the new instrument and the state instrument which demonstrates the coverage of all the domains of the state evaluation system.
  • *Note – A charter school is only required to use a validated/aligned evaluation system when it is used for the purpose of a Beginning Teacher Support Program in pursuit of licensure.

Per policy, if the charter school is using a tool REGARDLESS of when it was prepared, it must be resubmitted for validation.  This includes any evaluation tools used prior to 2018 that may or may not have been written into your approved charter agreement.  The agreement was approved, however the evaluation tool itself still MUST be validated by a third party.  No beginning teachers can be transitioned to career teachers on alternative evaluation instruments until said instrument has been validated.  DPI has indicated no exceptions. 


The Office of Charter Schools has been approved as a third party validator and we are in the process of developing a validation tool for charters that desire to use alternative evaluation instruments.  As such, we are preparing to have it as an upload in Epicenter for both your instrument and crosswalk.  OCS will then provide either validation or feedback for revision of your instrument.  Again approved validation by OCS or another third party MUST occur prior to using the instrument for evaluation purposes of Beginning Teachers.  We will keep you updated when the tool and the upload is ready.


If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office, Dr. Darian C. Jones, darian.jones@dpi.nc.gov


Free March Professional Development Opportunities


The NC ACCESS Program is providing free, equity-focused professional development opportunities to all North Carolina charter school leaders, teachers, and staff. Visit ncaccessprogram.com/learn to view upcoming sessions and register. All sessions are free to participants, but space is limited and they fill up quickly! Check out some of our upcoming March sessions below. 


*As schools begin to re-open, we have scheduled multiple Spring sessions related to social emotional learning, grief, and mental health as you support your students in the wake of the pandemic. 

In many of our schools with chronically low achievement, students experience additional marginalization as a result of their intersecting identities and other identity-related factors. These identities fall under the categories of “minority,” “at-risk,” “Latino/Latina,” “African-American,” “disabled”, and “low socio-economic,” which are often accompanied by exposure to factors like trauma, racism and classism. The combination of these identities and factors “compounds” or intensifies students’ struggles to create opportunities that allow them to move beyond their status and prosper.

March 30, 2021 | 2:00pm – 5:00pm | REGISTER

With Jim Ott

This workshop provides a model of mental health that is easy to understand and apply. Everyone knows that “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way” even from an early age. Understanding this ourselves as well as understanding what children do with the problem is essential in dealing with the mental health challenges we see in both adults and children.


Professional Learning, RTO, and Renewals Newsletters

Professional Learning 101


The Scoop With Coop-All Things Renewals 


Ready to Open/Planning Year

Other News about Our Charter Schools:


The Office of Charter Schools is pleased to unveil our 2020-2021 People Helping People Charter School Nominees.  The OCS Scholarship committee is working diligently to narrow this list to 3 nominations that will be provided to the SECU Foundation.  We have 28 amazing seniors who have done tremendous work, service, and are leaders in their community of which we all should be very proud.




Peak Charter Named a Model School for the Second Consecutive Year

KIPP Halifax

WRAL reports - Participation skyrockets after school offers evening classes for students in Halifax County

Leadership Opportunities:

Brevard Academy School Director

Lincoln Charter Human Resources Director

The Magellan Charter School Administrator

Old Main STREAM Academy School Principal

Telra Institute Early-Tenure Teacher

Telra Institute Grade Level Lead Teacher

Socrates Academy - Multiple Opportunities!

Pine Springs Prep Middle School Principal

Pine Springs Prep Math Teacher – 8th Grade

Cape Fear Center for Inquiry: School Director

Carolina International Art, PE, Biology, 6th Grade, Interventionist

Charter Schools USA Regional Grants Coordinator for the Carolinas

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

Shaunda Cooper      984 236 2712

Consultant, Renewals & Stakeholder Support

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, Professional Development

Melanie Rackley     984 236 2712

Consultant, Charter Applications

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