MESSAGES 2012 :: AUGUST 2, 2012

AUGUST 2, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message

For the sixth consecutive year, North Carolina's high school graduation rate has increased. For the first time, our four-year cohort graduation rate has passed the 80 percent mark. This is excellent news for our state and for our schools. In 2006, the first year that we were able to provide a cohort graduation rate, we posted a rate of 68.3 percent. Today's news represents a gain of nearly 12 percentage points and most important, it means better opportunities and better economic prospects for thousands of your students and their families. Congratulations to you and to your schools! Whether you lead an elementary, middle or high school - all of you play a key role in preparing youngsters for high school graduation. The high school principals have the pleasure of awarding diplomas on graduation day, but every one of you from K-12 have made a difference in some way in each young person's life and their opportunities. I am so proud of you, your teachers and our students.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Final ABCs Report Released
  3. State Graduation Rate is Highest in NC History
  4. Instructional Improvement System Functional Specifications Analysis Document
  5. Instructional Improvement System Resource Consortium
  6. NC Educator Evaluation System Update
  7. The Phase II Professional Development Online Modules
  8. K-8 Week-by-Week Essentials
  9. School Bus Safety Materials for Students and Drivers Online
  10. Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

At this morning's State Board meeting, members approved the 2011-12 ABCs/AMOs Report (more info in next item), the statewide expansion of mClass Reading 3D Diagnostic Assessments, additional flexibility for textbook funds, North Carolina Extended Content Standards for High School Social Studies, and a rubric for school social workers. Among the Board's discussion items were proposed rubrics for school counselors, psychologists, instructional technology facilitators and school library media coordinators. A summary of Board action items will be available online at .

Final ABCs Report Released

According to the 2011-12 ABCs of Public Education report today presented to State Board of Education members, nearly 80 percent (79.5 percent) of North Carolina public schools met or exceeded their academic growth goals. This is the final year of the ABCs of Public Education accountability program before the state transitions to the READY school accountability model in the 2012-13 school year. The report also found that 46.2 percent (1,165 schools) of all schools met all of their Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs). AMOs have replaced the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures previously required by the U.S. Department of Education. State Superintendent June Atkinson noted that the ABCs model has served North Carolina well by focusing on school-level accountability, but that the new READY accountability model will more squarely measure career and college readiness. To read more, please visit and click on the appropriate link under "News."

State Graduation Rate is Highest in NC History

For the first time ever, North Carolina's four-year cohort graduation rate exceeded 80 percent, according to North Carolina's 2012 graduation report presented to State Board of Education members this morning. In 2012 80.2 percent of students who started ninth grade in 2009-09 completed high school in four years or less. The five-year cohort rate also surpassed the 80 percent threshold coming in at 81.1 percent. State Superintendent June Atkinson said, "This is tremendous news for North Carolina public schools and a testament to the hard work of principals, teachers, counselors and students." To read more, please visit and click on the appropriate link under "News."

Instructional Improvement System Functional Specifications Analysis Document

The Instructional Improvement System (IIS) is an exciting and innovative move for our state to a "one-stop-shop" solution for improving instruction. The IIS will support the teaching of the new North Carolina Standard Course of Study and be a system to improve and personalize student learning. With the IIS, North Carolina districts and schools will have increased access to high quality resources and timely and relevant information and data to improve instruction. Information will be available for teachers, administrators, parents and students.

In response to the need expressed at the July 25 Superintendent's Quarterly Meeting to understand what functionality may be provided in the IIS for comparison with what districts currently have, NCDPI staff have made available online ( the IIS Functional Specifications Gap Analysis. LEAs/schools can decide to use this document to make a preliminary determination regarding how well the IIS will meet their needs. Completing this document is NOT required and does not need to be submitted back to the NCDPI. This is being provided for informational purposes and for local use.

The IIS specifications were gathered through regional requirements gathering sessions that NCDPI staff held with local staff, parents, and students and through discussions with the IIS User Group members and IIS Stakeholders Advisory Committee members. For more information about the IIS, visit . Please send questions/comments to or contact Sarah McManus at

Instructional Improvement System Resource Consortium

The IIS Resource Consortium is an advisory group and a forum created to encourage collaboration and promote the sharing, in accordance with licensing agreements, of instructional/learning, assessment, professional development and talent management/educator evaluation resources among all NC public school educators. The IIS Resource Consortium meets each month with the group having just met on July 31. The Consortium discussed processes for vetting and submitting resources for use in the IIS. A summary from the July 31 meeting will be provided in the next update. For a membership list, please visit . LEAs or charter schools interested in joining are encouraged to complete a short interest form located at or contact LaVerne Weldon at

NC Educator Evaluation System Update

Based on user feedback, several updates have been made to the NC Educator Evaluation System tool this summer. These changes offer a deeper alignment of functionality, and resolve some redundancy issues with the generation of Professional Development Plans. These basic updates include the following:

  • Record of Teacher Activity form is now automatically created for all teachers.
  • Record of Teacher Activity form is now accompanied by a "refresh" icon. This icon is only viewable by administrator class accounts. This allows administrators to remove all text and signatures added to this form, comparable to their previous ability to "delete," without actually removing the form from the system.
  • There is a limit of one Summary Rating Form per teacher, per year.
  • The school year "drop down" under the Teacher Observation Manager has been moved from the top right hand side of the interface to the left hand side above the staff list. This mirrors the interface found under the Principal Evaluation System.
  • Teachers will receive a warning message if they attempt to create a Preliminary Professional Development plan if a roll over Professional Development Plan form already exists for them.
  • A rollover Professional Development Plan for the next year will be automatically created when the current year Summary Rating Form is signed and completed.
  • Stand-alone Professional Development Plans (not affiliated with a Summary Rating Form) are no longer a form available for creation by a principal.
  • A rollover Professional Development Plan for the next year is automatically generated by the system and available for editing within the current school year once the Summary Rating Form is signed. It will appear below the Summary Rating Form to the right of a green arrow indicating the forms are linked. Editing is limited to the first tab of PDP until the new school year begins.
  • It is now possible to email copies of the Summary Rating Form from the Teacher Observation Manager. This is the same functionality as the current ability to email Teacher Observations.
  • The Teacher comment box on the Summary Rating form now appears grey, the same as other forms with comment boxes in the system.
  • Mentor assignments for Professional Development Forms and Preliminary Professional Development forms now appear under the correct headings when viewed under the Teacher Peer Assessment Manager.
  • Professional Development Plans now have a more straightforward naming convention (i.e., Professional Development Plan for 2012-13, Preliminary PDP for 2012-13) rather than the "based-on" naming convention.

For additional information, please contact your Regional PD Lead, or Robert Sox at

The Phase II Professional Development Online Modules

The Department of Public Instruction has developed nine new online modules as a means of providing professional development that is flexible and can be used by districts and charter school teams in ways that best suit their needs. These include: Connecting with Our 21st Century Learners (10 hours, 1.0 CEU), North Carolina School Executive Standards and Evaluation Process (10 hours, 1.0 CEU), Understanding Young Student Behavior in the Classroom (5 hours, .5 CEU), Introduction to Data Literacy (4 hours, .4 CEU), Digital Literacies in the K-12 Classroom (12 hours, 1.2 CEU), Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects (3 hours, .3 CEU). For additional information about the modules, enrollment information, and strategies for implementation, please see the Phase II Online Module Implementation Guide at . The following three additional modules are available in different locations: The North Carolina Educator Evaluation System: Online Tutorials for Administrators, The North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards and NC FALCON: Student Ownership Manual. Please see the implementation guide for specific instructions and access information. There also are six modules available through the NC Education website at To enroll, educators will need an NC Education account. For additional information contact Geetanjali Soni, or Lynne Johnson at

K-8 Week-by-Week Essentials

NCDPI staff have begun the process of selecting high cognitively demanding tasks from the K-8 Week-by-Week Essentials and Strategies to create a new support document that aligns with the Common Core State Standards. With the support of North Carolina educators and other public school partners, staff anticipate the release of this new document in late fall. Updates regarding this new document will be posted on the NCDPI Math Wiki at .

School Bus Safety Materials for Students and Drivers Online

NCDPI Transportation Services staff have placed a number of resources on their web page - - that can be used for bus driver training or continuing education, including several videos (bullying, train crash, passenger stops, explosion). The national Bullying curriculum also can be found online at . In addition, there are some School Bus Safety minutes that will be included on the web page next week, but for now you can reference them at and . The PDF file is ready to go. The DOCX file can be modified for your use. These lessons were designed to be usable by school bus drivers in talking to the students on their bus - for example, in the extra time they might spend on the bus in the morning after arriving at school. Questions regarding these materials should be directed to Derek Graham at .

Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers

The Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers is a five-year, $175,000 award available to outstanding science or mathematics teachers in the North Carolina public schools. The purpose of this award is to recognize teachers who have demonstrated solid knowledge of science or mathematics content and have outstanding performance records in educating children. This five-year award presents opportunities for professional development and collaboration with other master science or mathematics teachers who will help to ensure their success as teachers and their satisfaction with the field of teaching. The Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers program is a partnership between the North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE) and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The SBE is providing additional salary support to secure 12-month contracts for award winning teachers. Teachers may self-nominate, but should read the guidelines for more details. Sept. 18 is the application deadline. For more information, please visit .