MESSAGES 2012 :: SEPTEMBER 21, 2012

SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message

Wednesday I had the opportunity to publicly recognize 28 high schools in our state that posted a 100 percent graduation rate in 2012, the 11 school districts with the highest graduate rates and 35 schools that earned top graduation rates based on the 9th grade cohort size. You can view the entire list of these honorees at under News. I started this special The Message: Graduate recognition a few years ago to raise awareness of graduation as an important measure and goal for all schools and districts, and it is a pleasure each year to recognize those who are meeting that challenge. Fundamentally, the high school graduation rate is our most critical measure. Even if your school or district was not in a top recognition category, I know that all of you have been focusing on this goal. That is why North Carolina's high school graduation rate is now 80.4 percent, the highest level in state history. That is a great accomplishment, and I look forward to watching that rate continue to improve.

Also, in my message to you on Sept. 6, I mentioned that I had the opportunity to recognize two schools that have leveraged federal school improvement grant funds to make a very positive difference in school performance for students. One of those schools was Woodhill Elementary School in Gaston County. Unfortunately, I noted the principal as Judy Leahy when in fact Cindy Hester is the principal of Woodhill Elementary. Keep up the good work Cindy!

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. Principal's Biweekly Message Helps Keep Administrators in the Know
  2. Eight Schools Earn National Blue Ribbon Recognition
  3. 2011-12 ABCs Recognition
  4. Middle/Junior High School Athletic Manual Online
  5. K-12 Social Studies Updates Online
  6. Mentoring Webinar Offered
  7. Looking for a Specific Wikispace?
  8. NCAE Hosts Conference for Principals and Administrators
  9. New NC Standard Course of Study Site and READY FAQs
  10. Application for Green Ribbon Schools Award Online
  11. 2012 School Bus Poster Contest Winners Announced
  12. Annual Exceptional Children Conference Scheduled for November
  13. National Teachers Hall of Fame
  14. Search Underway for Nation's Top Youth Volunteers
  15. The Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation Challenge
  16. Real World Design Challenge

Principals' Biweekly Message Helps Keep Administrators in the Know

If you are new to our principals' e-mail list, welcome to this informational community! Every fall, we retrieve principal e-mail addresses from EDDIE to create our new school year e-mail list so that we can communicate directly with principals on issues of importance to you. Expect to receive a message from me on the first and third Thursdays of each month throughout the school year. Other information about North Carolina's READY initiative will come to you as stand alone distributions. If you ever have any questions regarding the items included in the message (that don't already contain contact information), please reply to this email and we will ensure you receive a timely response. Also, please don't hesitate to let us know if you have any issues you would like addressed in this message. And finally, if you would like to refer to a previous principals' e-mail message and can't seem to find it, all principals' biweekly messages are archived and available online at .

Eight Schools Earn National Blue Ribbon Recognition

Eight North Carolina public schools were recently named 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. These schools are among 219 public and 50 private schools to be recognized for helping all students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap. Congratulations goes to: The Academy at Smith (Guilford County Schools); Jamesville Middle (Martin County Schools); Middle College at Bennett (Guilford County Schools); Park Road Montessori (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools); Pauline Jones Elementary (Cumberland County Schools); PSRC Early College at Robeson Community College (Public Schools of Robeson County); Saluda Elementary (Polk County Schools); and Whitaker Elementary (Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools). Representatives from each of these schools will be honored at a conference and awards ceremony to be held Nov. 12-13 in Washington, DC. They will receive a plaque and a flag signifying their National Blue Ribbon School status.

2011-12 ABCs Recognition

As in the 2010-11 school year, schools achieving Honor School of Excellence, School of Excellence or School of Distinction recognition under the ABCs program will receive a logo that can be used on the school's website and another that has been formatted for use on stationery. District central offices have been provided the artwork for these logos for distribution to schools in their systems that earned these recognitions in 2011-12. If you have not received your logos, please contact your local superintendent's or communication's office for assistance. Or, you can reply to this email message and staff will forward you the appropriate artwork.

Middle/Junior High School Athletic Manual Online

The State Board of Education approved the revised version of the Middle/Junior High School Athletic Manual in July. This manual contains important information for schools to use in implementing middle/junior high school athletic programs. The manual is available for download at If you have any questions, please contact Les Spell, Health/Physical Education/Athletics consultant, at or 919.807.3637.

K-12 Social Studies Updates Online

The first Social Studies update of the 2012-13 school year is packed full of information ranging from Essential Standards resources, professional development opportunities for teachers and opportunities for students. Within the update are links to resources for additional information. The Sept. 14 NCDPI K-12 Social Studies update also has been recently added and contains items on implementation of the social studies essential standards, curriculum and instructional resources, opportunities for educators and criteria for future submissions. Social studies teachers will want to check out these updates online at .

Mentoring Webinar Offered

NCDPI's Educator Recruitment and Development staff are hosting a webinar focusing on mentoring. This webinar provides an opportunity to review the process of mentoring probationary teachers. The following areas are reviewed during the series:

  • North Carolina State Board of Education policy on the Beginning Teacher Support Program;
  • NC Beginning Teacher Guidelines for the 21st Century Professional;
  • Assigning a Mentor in the Online Tool System;
  • How the Mentor Accesses, Reviews and Authenticates the Professional Development Plan;
  • Using the Rubric for Evaluating NC Teachers to Complete a Peer Observation; and
  • Access New Teacher Support Data in the North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey.

This webinar series is offered four times during September. Please select a date and time to fit your schedule by visiting . For more information contact Kimberly Simmons,

Looking for a Specific Wikispace?

Having difficulty finding a specific NCDPI Wikispace? Wish the process was easier and more convenient? Your wish is about to come true! Department staff are currently working on Wikicentral - a central location for those NCDPI wikis that provide information to educators across the state. Wikicentral is intended to guide educators to the resources they need. The site, available online at, is continuously being updated with the most recent information, so please "pardon our progress" while the site is under construction. If you have any questions regarding this website, please contact Robert Sox at

NCAE Hosts Conference for Principals and Administrators

NCAE is sponsoring a conference for principals and administrators, "Leading 21st Century Schools," Oct. 12-13 in Winston Salem. Sessions include Managing Changes Amidst Perilous Times, Issues of Violence and the Laws Impacting Schools, Coping with the Internet and Free Speech, and Ensuring Students are Learning in a 21st Century Classroom. Visit to register.

New NC Standard Course of Study Site and READY FAQs

The NCDPI wants educators and public school supporters to have access to the answers they need surrounding the many changes occurring this year in our public schools. To that end, staff have developed a new website that features a wealth of information on the state's new Standard Course of Study, including a thorough overview of the new standards, plus a menu of resources for educators to explore. It can be found online at NCDPI staff also have been synthesizing and researching the answers to a multitude of questions received from READY meetings earlier this year, along with a number of questions that have been submitted via our website and e-mail. The categories posted on the READY website thus far are Accountability, Assessments and Educator Effectiveness. These FAQs may be found at

Application for Green Ribbon Schools Award Online

The application for the 2013 Green Ribbon Schools award is available online at under "Current Items." U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan started the program in 2011 to recognize schools' exemplary achievement in environmental impact, health and education. One North Carolina school was recognized in the program's inaugural year - Evergreen Community Charter School (Asheville). As with the Blue Ribbon Schools award, schools do not apply to the USED but to the NCDPI. The application deadline is Dec. 19. Up to four North Carolina schools will be nominated by the department and sent to the USED for national consideration.

2012 School Bus Poster Contest Winners Announced

Congratulations to Kaleigh Cox, Franklinton Elementary (Franklin County Schools), Division 1 (grades K-2); Jennifer Sieredzki, Riverwood Elementary (Johnston County Schools), Division 2 (grades 3-5); Victoria Amaro, Southeast Middle (Rowan-Salisbury Schools), Division 3 (grades 6-8); and Bobby McIntyre, Deep River Elementary (Lee County Schools), Exceptional Children Division, for recently being named 2012 School Bus poster contest winners. The theme for this year's contest was "Stand Back from the Yellow and Black." All first, second and third place winners will receive a plaque featuring his or her artwork, which also will be featured on the state's School Bus Safety website, In addition, first place winners will receive a mp3 player featuring bus safety videos or other school bus safety prizes. First place winners also will go on to compete in the National School Bus Safety Poster Contest to be held in October in Memphis, Tenn.

Annual Exceptional Children Conference Scheduled for November

The NC Department of Public Instruction's Exceptional Children Division invites you to attend its 62nd Conference on Exceptional Children scheduled for Nov. 14 -16 at the Koury Convention Center/Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons, Greensboro. This event is the singular opportunity each year for more than 3,000 special education and regular education teachers, administrators, parents, related service providers, university personnel and more to convene, collaborate and explore issues and promising practices for educating children with disabilities in North Carolina public schools. Online registration and additional information is available at .

National Teachers Hall of Fame

Every year, the National Teachers Hall of Fame recognizes five teachers who have demonstrated commitment and dedication to the teaching profession. Candidates must be certified teachers with at least 20 years experience teaching in grades preK-12. Anyone may nominate a teacher by completing a nomination packet. The nomination packet for the 2013 Teacher Induction Program is available online at (click on Nominate a Teacher link). Nominations submitted by mail must have a postmark date no later than Jan. 2. Nominations submitted online must be received by Jan. 2.

Search Underway for Nation's Top Youth Volunteers

Prudential Financial, in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, is sponsoring its 18th annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. This awards program recognizes outstanding community service by students in grades 5-12. The top middle and high school candidates in each state win $1,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C. Program information has been sent to all middle and high school principals and school counselors but also is available online at or by calling 973.802.4568. Students must submit completed applications to his or her principal by Nov. 6. Schools will then select the top recipients in early November and submit those names for state-level judging. The middle and high school recipients for each state will be named on Feb. 5. State honorees will travel with a parent to Washington, D.C. May 4-7 for national recognition events. Ten national honorees will be named and among other things, will receive an additional $5,000 in awards.

The Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation Challenge

NC State University's Institute for Emerging Issues is sponsoring its third annual Prize for Innovation challenge. North Carolina high school students are encouraged to unleash their creativity and work collaboratively to come up with an innovative product or tool that will benefit their community. The team with the most innovative and viable product will receive $5,000 to make that idea a reality. Finalist teams will receive $1,000. The Institute for Emerging Issues will host an informational webinar about the challenge on Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 3-4 p.m. Webinar registration is available online at . If you are unable to make the webinar, a recording will be available online at . Applications are due Nov. 16 and should be sent electronically to or by mail to Campus Box 7406 Raleigh, NC 27695 to the attention of Prize for Innovation. To learn more about the challenge, including how to apply, please visit (click on News+Events, then Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation).

Real World Design Challenge

Registration Now Open! The Real World Design Challenge is an annual design competition that provides students the opportunity to collaborate and experience real world design projects with the goal of sustainably increasing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in the workforce. Students will experience real world challenges in the following ways:

  • Real Problem: An industry-defined problem provides a practical application of classroom curricula;
  • Real Tools & Resources: Inspire students by showing them what is at their fingertips;
  • Real Roles for Students: Require teamwork, leadership, innovation and problem solving skills;
  • Real Contribution: Students can make a difference, solving industry-based problems.

The Challenge is FREE for students and teachers. Each teacher that signs up a team will receive access to professional engineering software for the project as well as access to mentors from industry, government and academia. State champion teams get an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC for the students and the teacher to compete in the National Challenge. Teachers can sign up today and add their roster of students later by visiting . For more information, please contact Tina Marcus, state coordinator for The Real World Design Challenge, at or 919.807.3423.