MESSAGES 2012 :: APRIL 5, 2012

APRIL 5, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message

Oak Hill Elementary Principal Patrice Faison today was named the 2012 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year during a luncheon ceremony held in Cary. The Guilford County principal succeeds Cuthbertson High School (Union County Schools) principal Rob Jackson. Faison has special expertise and success in transforming schools to help students attain significant academic growth. Keys to her success include setting high expectations and providing the support for those expectations to be met, hallmarks of an exceptional school administrator. Oak Hill Elementary School has experienced important successes under Faison's leadership and through her focus on collaboration. As our new Principal of the Year, Ms. Faison will serve as a principal advisor to the State Board of Education. I am very pleased to welcome her to this role. Each year, it is a pleasure to participate in the awards ceremony for Wells Fargo Principal of the Year and to recognize all of the regional Wells Fargo winners. North Carolina is fortunate to have so many strong school leaders.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. State Board Meeting Highlights
  2. 2013 Wells Fargo NC Principal of the Year Named
  3. Farwell Address from 2011 Wells Fargo NC Principal of the Year
  4. NCVPS Registration Now Open
  5. Free Online Training on EVAAS Available
  6. Next Generation Assessments: Resources for Online Transition
  7. English Language Arts Assessment Samples
  8. Formative Assessment Webinar to be Posted Online
  9. New FAFSA Tools Helps School Counselors Track Completion Rates
  10. Teacher Working Conditions Survey Update
  11. Middle/High School Bus Video Competition
  12. Scholarship Opportunity for High School Seniors

State Board Meeting Highlights

At today's State Board of Education meeting, members approved Catawba County Schools' Alternative Learning Program application, standards for the evaluation of Instructional Technology Facilitators and School Library Media Coordinators, and school-based calendar waiver requests for educational purposes for two schools in Warren County. Members also discussed the State Literacy Plan and Academic Scholars Program. A summary of Board action items in addition to the full agenda and executive materials are available online at .

Guilford County Principal Named Principal of the Year

Congratulations to Oak Hill Elementary School (Guilford County Schools) Principal Patrice Faison who today was named the 2012 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year. Faison was selected from the following regional finalists following interviews and on-site visits by a statewide selection committee.

  • North Central Region: Drew Cook, Garner High (Wake County Schools);
  • Northeast Region: Clay Wagner, Riverside High (Martin County Schools);
  • Northwest Region: Kelly Withers, Jesse Carson High (Rowan-Salisbury Schools);
  • Southeast Region: Glenn Reed, Blue Creek Elementary (Onslow County Schools);
  • Southwest Region: Hilda Batts, AT Allen Elementary (Cabarrus County Schools);
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Sara Bigley, Pinehurst Elementary, (Moore County Schools); and
  • West Region: Brad Teague, East Rutherford Middle (Rutherford County Schools).

As Wells Fargo Principal of the Year, Faison will receive an additional $3,000 for her school and $3,000 for personal use. Regional finalists received $1,000 for their school and $1,000 for personal use.

Farwell Address from 2011 Wells Fargo NC Principal of the Year

As I have traveled the state this year, I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to speak with and learn from fellow school administrators. In addition, I have developed a greater appreciation for how vast our state is geographically. Despite the great differences in distance and terrain, I found a universal desire among the principals I met to give their all for their students. My travels have confirmed my belief that all across our state amazing educators are working hard to provide every public school student the educational opportunities they deserve.

The North Carolina Standards for School Executives call for principals who are "a driving force behind major initiatives that help students acquire 21st century skills." Regardless of whether the principals I met are from the mountains or the coast, the foothills or the piedmont, rural areas or inner cities, each has been obviously committed to their students. I am proud to be a product of our public schools, the parent of public school students, and proud to be your colleague. It has been an incredible honor and blessing to represent you this year. Rob Jackson, 2011-12 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year

NCVPS Registration Now Open

NCVPS registration for the 2012-13 school year is now open. Registration will be open for both Fall and Spring blocks. The number of enrollments available to each LEA or charter school will soon be determined by NCDPI's Financial and Business Services department using a statistical projection. This projection will not be final until June 1. We can share preliminary enrollment projections with school districts now. Projections for school districts and charter schools have been sent to the central office distance learning coordinators. Superintendents or their designees may request additional enrollments be added to these preliminary projections until June 1.

Legislation provides an enrollment reserve but, as noted this year, it does not guarantee that needed enrollments will be available for students. Requesting additional enrollments before June 1 is the best way to ensure that your LEA or charter school will be able to enroll students as needed. Additional enrollments will be added to your projection and enrollment balance.

LEAs and charter schools will be able to track their enrollment balance in the NCVPS registration system beginning in May. If you have further questions, please contact your central office distance learning coordinator or David Edwards at

Free Online Training on EVAAS Available

In February 2012, the State Board of Education approved the use of the Educator Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) as the statewide growth model for ratings on the sixth and eighth standards of the teacher and principal evaluation instruments. Additionally, in 2012-13, EVAAS will become the growth model used for school accountability. While additional professional development on EVAAS will be rolling out, districts and schools can already take advantage of a wealth of training opportunities.

Periodically visit for a list of drop-in webinars on reports and features in the EVAAS tool. Click on "Schedule of Virtual Professional Development" for a current list of webinar topics. Educators do not need to register for these sessions. Previous topics covered include Teacher Awareness of Educational Progress Rates (Student Pattern Reports), Empowering Effective Teaching (Teacher Value Added and Diagnostic Reports) aka Capitalize on Highly Effective Teaching, EVAAS Value-Added Reports, District Summary Reports, Diagnostic and Performance Diagnostic Reports, Student Reports and Projections, Academic At-Risk Reports, Custom Student Reports, EVAAS Q&A: Get Your EVAAS Questions Answered, EVAAS Diagnostic and Academic Preparedness Reports: Tools for School Improvement, and EVAAS School Search Reports.

Districts and schools also can contact the EVAAS training team for private coaching sessions. In these sessions, EVAAS trainers will walk through the district's or school's own data, offer help with report interpretation and answer any questions. If you have questions about the use of EVAAS for educator effectiveness, please contact Jennifer Preston at or 919.807.4187. If you have questions about the use of EVAAS for school accountability, please contact Faye Atkinson at or 919.807.3803.

Next Generation Assessments: Resources for the Online Transition

To help districts and schools prepare for the next generation assessments and the transition to online, the following resources are available:

  • Best Practices Guide - purpose of this document is to serve as a guide to help districts and schools prepare for the transition to online assessments. This guide provides tips and recommendations based on conversations with LEAs and charter schools around the state that have already started this transition and are administering some or all of the current end-of-course tests in the online format.
  • Quick Reference Guide – quick reference guide for the next generation of summative assessments includes the expected timeline for full implementation of online testing.
  • SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium - is the main website for The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, which is a state-led consortium working to develop next generation assessments that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and that accurately measure student progress toward college and career readiness.
  • Online Assessment Tutorial - assessment tutorial shows you how the online testing system works. You can select a test and then practice moving between and answering questions.
  • NC Test Information - related to the latest version of the online testing system, NCTest v 2.5. Here you can find the technical requirements for the system, information on registration and administration, the assessment tutorial, and other resources related to administering online assessments.

Additional resources can be found on the online assessment resources page at . For more information, please contact Kayla Siler at

English Language Arts Assessment Samples

To provide a better understanding of the writing expectations outlined in the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, the attached samples of student writing have been provided with annotations to illustrate the criteria required to meet the Common Core State Standards in various types of writing (including argument, informative/explanatory, and narrative). Following is the list of student samples attached to this message.

  • Grade 2, Argument (Opinion) "Owl Moon" (writing argument is a new requirement for second graders)
  • Grade 5, Informative/Explanatory "Author Response: Roald Dahl"
  • Grade 7, Informative/Explanatory "A Geographical Report" (long research report example)
  • Grade 8, Narrative "Miss Sadie"
  • Grade 10, Argument, "_____School Board Levy"

Please contact Julie Joslin at if you have any questions.

Formative Assessment Webinar to be Posted Online

The NC FALCON formative assessment webinar that was held on March 29 was recorded and will be uploaded for viewing in NC FALCON this week. Once it is posted, you can find the file of the recorded webinar under Additional Resources (#7) NC FALCON Webinars. Click on the webinar with March 29, 2012 in the title. There also will be a message with a link to the webinar in the Falcon Forum and Site News within NC FALCON.

Resources and materials presented by Donna Wade during the webinar are already available in the Falcon Forum in NC FALCON. These files are downloadable once you login to NC FALCON and go to the Falcon Forum. Click on the lesson template notebook to download her lesson file or click "discuss this topic" at the bottom of the message to find three additional files within the message. All NC educators have access to NC FALCON if they have created a login through NC Education at .

If you have not created a login, go the URL above and click on login in the upper right hand corner. On the login page you will be prompted to enter your login, find an existing account (if you have forgotten your login), or create a new account. When you click on "create new account" you will be prompted to enter information to set up a login. If you have trouble with the login, contact the help desk at or 919.515.1320.

Thank you for your interest in NC FALCON webinars. If you have additional questions about the webinar, contact Carmella Fair at or 919.807.3840.

New FAFSA Tools Helps School Counselors Track Completion Rates

High school principals are encouraged to share this information with school counselors. The U.S. Department of Education has released a new tool that will help high school counselors and school leaders by giving them a resource to monitor Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completions and better help students access higher education. School officials can now track FAFSA submission and completion statistics at individual high schools on the FAFSA Completion website at . Access to this information will help counselors ensure that students are filling out the FAFSA and therefore are able to determine their eligibility for federal student aid – a key factor in families' college decisions. Through the FAFSA Completion Tool, which will be updated every two weeks, school officials can determine their school-wide FAFSA completion rate by comparing the number provided by the FAFSA Completion Tool with the number of seniors in their high school.

Teacher Working Conditions Survey Update

At the end of the first day of the survey launch, over 31,483 (26 percent) responses were calculated. This is above our historical previous response rates for this point in time. Please encourage your teachers to complete this survey. Visit to view real-time response rates in every district and school.

Middle/High School Bus Video Competition

NCDPI's Transportation Services Division is helping sponsor a Youth Video Contest entitled "Making Tracks" that is open to middle and high school students across the state. The purpose of the video contest is to help students teach others the importance of pedestrian safety to and from school and, in particular, to and from the bus stop. Videos must be uploaded between April 23 and May 6. Contest information, including rules and regulations, is available online at . Please pass this information along to appropriate staff. Contest questions may be directed to Derek Graham at or 919.807.3571.

Scholarship Opportunity for High School Seniors

Superintendents are asked to share this information with school counselors. High school seniors may want to participate in $1,000 Student Scholarship Essay Contest. To participate, students must be graduating high school seniors, or freshman or sophomores in college and between the ages of 16 and 21. Eligible contestants may enter by submitting a 500 to 1,000-word essay answering one of these important financial questions:

  1. What is the positive impact that debt can have on a student? Is there a positive impact?
  2. If you are awarded this scholarship, what will you do as a student do to be financially responsible in college?

The winner will be selected based on who has written the essay that is most compelling and beneficial for other students to read. Essays must be sumitted to Chris Mettler at with student's name, birth date and " Scholarship" included in the email title. Please mention your current high school in the body of the email. The deadline for submission is May 29 and the contest winner will be announced June 1. Contest details are available online at .