MESSAGES 2012 :: MAY 17, 2012

MAY 17, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message

With the start this week of the General Assembly's short session, it makes sense for all of us to pay attention to what our lawmakers are doing to address public school needs. The number one goal of local school superintendents and many others in this year's session is to end the discretionary cuts. This budget feature requires local school districts to return approximately $500 million to the state in 2012-13 and creates a very challenging environment for local school district operations. At this point, the negative reserve requirement is an ongoing part of the state's public school budget, and it affects everyone involved in public schools. It is especially important to pay close attention to the work of our legislators. I encourage you to share your views and ideas with your legislators (contact information is available at so that they have the opportunity to hear directly from the school-level educators in North Carolina who know best the impact of budgets and other decisions. The State Board of Education's legislative director Ann McColl regularly updates the legislative website during the session. It is available for you at .

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. Governor Perdue Presents 2012-13 Budget
  2. Race to the Top: Taking Stock of North Carolina's Progress
  3. Education Evaluation System Lockdown
  4. North Carolina Extended Social Studies Standards Posted for Comment
  5. Teacher Evaluation Training Alert
  6. North Carolina 2011 NAEP Science Test Results Released
  7. North Carolina High School Feedback Reports
  8. Getting the Facts Straight on North Carolina Public Schools
  9. NC FALCON Webinar #2 Online
  10. North Lincoln Middle School Joins "Schools to Watch"
  11. Win a One-Year Scholastic Reading Counts! Subscription for Your School

Governor Perdue Presents 2012-13 Budget

Last Thursday, Gov. Bev Perdue presented her 2012-13 budget focused on "Investing in Our Future." Perdue stated her budget reflects the state's priorities of education, jobs and supporting military families. In presenting her budget, Perdue said, "This budget invests in the priorities that all North Carolinians share. We must strengthen our ability to educate and prepare North Carolina's children for the future. We must make concrete investments to help companies create jobs. And we must stand up for our military families." To view the Governor's full budget proposal, please visit

Race to the Top: Taking Stock of North Carolina's Progress

State Superintendent June Atkinson and other state education leaders attended North Carolina's annual take-stock meeting with US Department of Education (USED) Secretary Arne Duncan on May 7 in Washington, DC. This meeting focused on the progress the department has made toward the implementation of new standards, assessments and more in North Carolina public schools this fall. All of this work is supported by North Carolina's Race to the Top grant, which provides $400 million to support school improvement and was awarded by the USED in 2010. Secretary Duncan and his team commended the state for taking the lead in reaching educators across North Carolina with information concerning the new Common Core State Standards and Essential Standards, a new accountability model and a refined Educator Effectiveness System. Secretary Duncan and his team also noted:

  • A major boost in professional development for educators around the new standards. Summer Institutes held in 2011 and scheduled for this summer have reached thousands of principals and lead teachers. The NCDPI is providing support to local school districts to ensure that this is replicated at the individual school level. In addition, multiple online modules are in place to help teachers prepare for the new Common Core.
  • Progress toward the development of new assessments. North Carolina is on track to have online tools that will simplify how students are tested and produce data that will determine areas for improvement much more quickly.
  • Thoughtful planning of a new Instructional Improvement System. The NCDPI is working with a number of partners to create a new data system that measures student success and informs teachers, principals and policymakers about how they can improve the delivery of educational services to students. Proposals for building this system are being reviewed, and vendor selections are expected in the next several months.
  • Building support for a new educator evaluation system. A new evaluation system for educators that incorporates student growth as one of six factors and involved input from teachers and principals will give a more accurate view of classroom effectiveness.

Education Evaluation System Lockdown

The online Educator Evaluation System will close for the 2011-12 school year on June 30 for all teacher, assistant principal and principal evaluations. Please note that this is a change from last year. The system must be locked down at this time in order to compile the data for state and federal reporting requirements. As a result, all aspects of the evaluation process must be completed in the online tool prior to June 30. It is important for all educators to be aware of this deadline. If you have further questions, contact Lynne Johnson at

North Carolina Extended Social Studies Standards Posted for Comment

NCDPI staff have posted the Extended Social Studies Standards for review and comment at . The standards include Civics & Governance and U.S. History (American History) I and II courses. Please send feedback via email to by Friday, June 1. Staff will consider all comments during the documents revision process. If you have any questions, please contact Clair Greer at

Teacher Evaluation Training Alert

Kim Simmons has joined NCDPI's Educator Recruitment and Development staff as the North Carolina Educator Evaluation Consultant and will provide lead in the training process. Kim has experience as a principal and professional development leader. All LEAs have access to Kim Simmons, Eliz Colbert, Robert Sox and the professional development leads in your district. Training by these individuals comes at NO cost to you. A list of professional development leads is available online at . Face-to-face and online training occurs frequently in your region and you have the option to customize if appropriate. It has come to our attention that outside vendors are being hired to assist you with training. Please be advised that many of these vendors are neither trained on our current online system nor the inclusion of Standards 6 and 8. Utilizing department staff will ensure that you are observing and evaluating your teachers with accuracy and fidelity. Please contact Kim Simmons at with professional development training options and questions.

North Carolina 2011 NAEP Science Test Results Released

North Carolina eighth graders improved their average score on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in science in 2011, but continued to perform at a level lower than the national average. The NAEP last week released results for eighth grade science for each state and the nation. This is the fifth time that the NAEP has measured science achievement since 1996. Results were available this year only for eighth grade students. North Carolina's students had an average score of 148 as compared to the national average score of 151. The state's students improved their science score by 4 points since the 2009 administration when the state's average score was 144. To read more, please visit and click on the appropriate link under "News."

North Carolina High School Feedback Reports

Every year, the UNC General Administration does a few reports about freshman applications and enrollment from NC high schools called the Freshman Applications Report and the Freshman Performance Report. The Freshmen Applications Report (FAR) shows the number of applications submitted to each UNC institution by your graduates. The Freshmen Performance Report (FPR) presents summary data on the academic performance of your graduates in their freshman year. These reports include application and one year of performance data on your 2009-10 graduates who sought admission to a UNC institution in the fall of 2010. UNC Freshmen measures as of fall 2011 have been added. FAR and FPR reports are available for each of your high schools and for graduates of all public high schools in the local school district and in the state. The FPR also contains a report summarizing the academic performance of all UNC freshmen, including those who graduated from private or out-of-state high schools. A third report on retention, graduation, and persistence also is available. This report provides data on the long-term retention, graduation and persistence of your graduates. Data is reported in the aggregate as well as broken down by each LEA and high schools. The North Carolina high school feedback reports can be found on the University's web site at

Getting the Facts Straight on North Carolina Public Schools

In her latest blog post, "Can You See the Great Wall from Space?" State Superintendent June Atkinson discusses the importance of ensuring citizens have their facts straight about North Carolina public schools and the need to immediately correct misinformation. Her latest post is available online at

NC FALCON Webinar #2 Online

The second NC FALCON webinar in the Department's formative assessment series, "Collecting Evidence of Student Learning," that was held Friday, April 27, is now available online at under Additional Resources. The webinar features Amanda Horne, a teacher from Cumberland County, who shared successful strategies to collect evidence of student learning and details on how to plan for adjusting instruction based on the evidence. If you have any questions, please contact Carmella Fair at

North Lincoln Middle School Joins "Schools to Watch"

North Lincoln Middle School (Lincoln County Schools) recently joined the state's Schools to Watch having recently received this distinction from the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. North Lincoln Middle was designated a school to watch because of its emphasis on strong academics, sensitivity to young adolescents' needs and interests, and commitment to equal access to a high-quality education. Their selection brings the total number of North Carolina Schools to Watch to 40. To read more about North Lincoln Middle School's selection and the Schools to Watch program in general, please visit and click on the appropriate link under "News."

Win a One-Year Scholastic Reading Counts! Subscription for Your School

If your school is doing a special program to promote summer reading, don't forget to register to win a subscription to the Scholastic Reading Counts! program at Submit your school name and a short description of your summer reading program to and your school will be entered into a drawing for a free subscription to this Lexile®-based independent reading program that tracks student success on the books they read, in and out of school. All entries MUST be submitted by May 31 and the winning school will be announced in June. The giveaway is a part of Superintendent Atkinson's READ NC campaign ( /lexiles), which gives parents, educators and librarians tools and resources to help students use Lexile measures to select books for summer reading.