NEWS RELEASES 2013-14 :: MARCH 19, 2014


North Carolina is considered a national leader in education reform based on the work it has done in public education via the Race to the Top grant, according to the US Department of Education.

The United States Department of Education today released its third-year report on Race to the Top. In it, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan named North Carolina as, once again, one of the top states making progress in serving students, supporting teachers and bolstering technology in its remodeling efforts.

"Over the last few years, we have seen Race to the Top states build on the systems and framework that they have been developing to lay the foundation for long-term, sustainable progress," said Duncan. "North Carolina has made key steps in implementing its plans, developing great teachers and leaders, and in improving students' outcomes. As North Carolina completes the third year of implementing its Race to the Top grant, it has continued to demonstrate leadership in education reform."

The four-year, $400 million Race to the Top grant, awarded in summer 2010, is now in its fourth year. North Carolina is one of 11 states, along with the District of Columbia, to receive the award. The grant's objectives include greater support for teachers and principals, turning around low-performing schools and beefing up technology for students and teachers.

"Over the past three years, North Carolina has implemented new content standards to guide teaching and learning, new assessments for students and a new accountability model; increased efforts to assist low-performing schools; and implemented a new suite of technology tools for student information, instructional support and educator evaluation and professional development," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "We could not have done these things without Race to the Top funds. The grant really allowed us to move forward even though our state was experiencing difficult financial times."

Notable points of progress cited in the Year 3 NC report include:

  • Student achievement results from SY 2011-12 and SY 2012-13 indicate that the state's lowest-achieving schools are making progress in improving student achievement and graduation rates.
  • North Carolina supported local capacity for standards implementation through regional trainings, webinars, online modules and wikispaces through which the state and school districts share curriculum maps, lesson plans and assessment items.
  • The NCDPI held additional READY meetings designed to build understanding of and local capacity to implement North Carolina's reform agenda. The meetings reached over 3,000 participants in fall 2012 and 23,000 through spring 2013 virtual sessions. North Carolina also provided READY outreach materials for participants to use to deliver information locally.
  • Approximately 70 coaches provided customized support and professional development to schools and districts based on identified needs.
  • The NCDPI provided 10 regional professional development sessions and five Professional Development for School Leaders sessions that were tailored to the needs of leaders of low-performing schools.
  • Year 3 Summer Institutes reached nearly 3,000 participants and featured an introduction to Home Base, a technology-based tool that will help educators manage professional resources and data to improve instruction.
  • North Carolina ensured multiple opportunities to support educators on the transition to new standards and assessments, instructional technology, and the North Carolina Educator Evaluation System (NCEES) through its regionally-embedded professional development staff. North Carolina provided extensive training and resources, including over 200 face-to-face sessions, 40 webinars, and online modules to support the transition to new standards and assessments, instructional technology, and the NCEES.

For a copy of the NC Year 3 report, please visit here.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.