MESSAGES 2012 :: APRIL 19, 2012

APRIL 19, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message

Communicating with nearly 100,000 people is a tricky thing because everyone comes to the table with different knowledge and experiences, different expectations and different styles of interaction. That's why it is so important to pause and ask how our communication efforts are working to help you. If you attended one of the READY regional outreach meetings, please take the time to go online and take a short 10-question survey to give us important feedback about our communication efforts. Your responses will be very helpful as we plan for our communications and professional development activities in the coming year. The survey is available now for you at Please complete the survey no later than Thursday, April 26.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. Unpacking Standards for Social Studies Electives Online
  2. AP/IB Test Fee Grant Update
  3. Live Stream of Special State Board Meeting Online
  4. NC FALCON Webinar No. 2: Collecting Evidence of Student Learning
  5. STEM Webinar Reminder
  6. Summary of Office of Adult and Vocational Education Assistant Secretary Visit
  7. "Birth of a Colony: North Carolina"

Unpacking Standards for Social Studies Electives Online

Unpacking Standards for Social Studies Electives have been added to the Essential Standards Support Tools page at . The new material includes eight documents that begin with 20th Century Civil Liberties Civil Rights and finish with World Humanities. Unpacking standards are documents for educators that define the skills students must master to accomplish specific goals. The documents list the essential standards for each grade level and subject, and provide detailed examples on how to teach a standard. Please make sure your social studies teachers are aware of this valuable resource.

AP/IB Test Fee Grant Update

The USED just notified the NCDPI that they have increased the funds available for test fee assistance for low-income students so that all eligible low-income students will receive FULL funding for AP/IB tests. There will no longer be an anticipated $15 test fee/exam, up to three exams, for students. There will no longer be a cap for only three test fees. This is very exciting news for NC students! The USED will be asking for new grant submissions from state agencies in the next two weeks; the grant the Department submitted two weeks ago will have to be re-written. DPI will work with district-level AP/IB coordinators to redo the grant documentation and ensure that we have notified all high schools and their students of these changes. Please contact Sneha Shah-Coltrane, firector of Gifted Education and Advanced Programs, at with any questions or comments.

Live Stream of Special State Board Meeting Online

Thanks to WRAL-TV, the special meeting between the State Board of Education and local superintendents held last Tuesday, April 3, was live streamed enabling citizens across the state to hear how previous budget cuts have impacted and potential budgets cuts may impact local school districts and schools. The live stream is available online at . If you did not have the opportunity to attend this event or would like to share the conversation with your school community, please refer to this link.

NC FALCON Webinar No. 2: Collecting Evidence of Student Learning

Looking for ways to collect evidence of student learning before the end of the class period? You can narrow the search for successful strategies by attending the second NC FALCON webinar in the formative assessment series, Collecting Evidence of Student Learning, on April 27 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Amanda Horne, a teacher from Cumberland County, will share successful strategies to collect evidence of student learning. She also will detail how to plan for adjusting instruction based on the evidence. After the webinar, shared resources will be posted in NC FALCON for you to download. Join us to hear and see what has made Amanda's implementation of Formative Assessment a success! Space is limited so make your reservations early by going online to: . After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have questions about the webinar, contact Shanon Daniels at or 919.807.3285.

STEM Webinar Reminder

Please join the NCDPI in collaboration with NC STEM for a webinar on changes to the STEM Attribute Implementation Rubric for middle and elementary schools. The webinar will be held Tuesday, April 24, from 10-11 a.m. In addition, we will share how to implement the Do-it-Yourself Community Engagement Guide. To register please visit /941555504 . After you register, you will receive an email message with participation instructions. For more information, contact Tina Marcus at or 919.807.3423.

Summary of Office of Adult and Vocational Education Assistant Secretary Visit

On Thursday, March 29, Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier, from the US Department of Education's Office of Adult and Vocational Education, came to visit North Carolina to see how we are connecting high school and college education programs.

The visit began in Huntersville (near Charlotte), where she and other guests visited the Hopewell High School Academy of Engineering. The tour included the computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) class, design labs and engineering classrooms. A wealth of equipment lined the rooms, and various students demonstrated what they were learning.

After the tour, Dr. Dann-Messier moderated a panel discussion about the school's Academy of Engineering. On the panel were the principal, academy teachers, parents of academy students and a representative from a local advanced-manufacturing company. Everyone on the panel praised the work of the academy and could see the benefits to the students as well as the employers who would like for their new recruits to have these kind of experiences.

A second panel discussion was then convened comprised of students in the Academy of Engineering. The students seemed enthusiastic about their participation in the program and many had aspirations of engineering careers. It was apparent that Dr. Dann-Messier was listening to all that was said with the hopes of sharing the best practices that she encounters as she travels around the country. The audience included LEA staff, several principals, parents, engineers from local businesses, and a representative from the governor's office.

Chris Droessler represented NCDPI at this event and got to spend an informal lunch with Dr. Dann-Messier discussing the benefits of the career academy concept as well as the future of education funding from the federal level.

The afternoon began with a tour of the Advanced Technology Center at Central Piedmont Community College. This could be a natural next step for many of the Hopewell High School Academy of Engineering students. This center is where Mechanical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Control Engineering, and Systems Design Engineering all come together in a multi-disciplinary Mechatronics program. Various industrial robots and automated assembly lines that students built were demonstrated.

After this tour, Dr. Dann-Messier moderated a panel discussion about programs of study that connect high school and college programs. Included on this panel were representatives from the community college, local chamber of commerce, workforce development board and several local businesses. It was agreed that high school programs such as the Academy of Engineering were crucial to preparing students for postsecondary education that prepares them for present day and future high-demand jobs.

"Birth of a Colony: North Carolina"

Beginning in early to mid-May, middle and high school principals should begin receiving copies of a DVD entitled, "Birth of a Colony: North Carolina." This documentary, which covers the state's history over a period from 1524-1713, examines the arrival of European explorers and settlers and the eventual clash of cultures with the Native Americans. The documentary was produced through a partnership between UNC-TV, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and Horizon Productions. Social Studies and History teachers will benefit from the availability of this rich instructional resource.