MESSAGES 2012 :: OCTOBER 8, 2012

OCTOBER 8, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message

Last week, we took a step forward with NC WISE by signing a contract with Pearson to implement PowerSchool statewide. This step means that the eSIS software now powering a significant portion of NC WISE will be replaced with PowerSchool. This move will provide us with more functionality and stability in this key part of our data collection and business information system. The switch will happen in July 2013, and your district NC WISE coordinator and technology staff will be working to prepare for the transition throughout the 2012-13 school year. The good news is that for teachers and principals, your roles and the way you interact with NC WISE will not be significantly different. Teachers who have gotten used to using gradebook and taking attendance on their desktop computer will continue to do so - just in PowerSchool rather than in eSIS. Pearson has experience in making the switch from eSIS to PowerSchool, so we look forward to a relatively smooth transition. PowerSchool is one of the elements that will, all together, make up the instructional improvement system. I am especially excited by the fact that PowerSchool is accessible on a greater array of devices. (By the way, check out the 12th item below…the IIS will soon have its own snappier and more memorable name. More on that soon.)

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Principals' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. State Board Adopts Vision of Public Education in North Carolina
  3. Online Assessments for 2012-13
  4. The Online Assessment Tutorial
  5. 2012-13 Assessment Reminders for Algebra I/Integrated I and ELA
  6. CEDARS Data Warehouse News
  7. North Carolina Learning Technology Initiative (NCLTI) Education Technology Planning Summits
  8. Register Now for Common Exams Webinar
  9. Online Evaluation Tool: Observations Webinar
  10. Webinar Addresses Accountability, Testing and Common Exams
  11. NC FALCON Coordinators Webinar
  12. New Formative Assessment Plans Available
  13. Instructional Improvement System (IIS) User Group
  14. IIS or ISS? Which One and What Does it Mean?
  15. Data Integration Pilot Underway
  16. Schools Urged to Participate in Earthquake Drill
  17. LEARN NC's September Update Online
  18. North Carolina Students Represent at 2012 FCCLA National Leadership Conference
  19. Nominations for the 2013 SMT Center Awards
  20. 2012 National Student Mock Election

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

At this morning's State Board meeting, members adopted a vision of public education in North Carolina (see next item), the Annual Teacher Turnover Report, the CPR graduation requirement (effective 2014-15 school year) and changes to State Board policy concerning teacher effectiveness standards. Members received a report on care for school children with diabetes, and discussed Career and Technical Education revisions to the Essential Standards, dual credit for Career and College Promise, and their 2013-15 Biennial Budget requests. A summary of Board action items will be available online at on Board Actions).

State Board of Education Adopts Vision of Public Education in North Carolina

The North Carolina State Board of Education today adopted the "Vision of Public Education in North Carolina: A Great Public Education System for a Great State" to guide their work and encourage a shared commitment to assuring a strong, flexible and coherent education system that serves all students and that is geared toward the promotion of the public interest. The vision statement is the culmination of work the Board began in 2011 and reflects input from hundreds of education, business and community leaders. To read the full vision statement, visit and select the appropriate link under "News."

Online Assessments for 2012-13

End-of-course (EOC) assessments have been available to be administered online since 2007. For the 2012-13 school year, the EOC assessments will continue to be available online along with the science end-of-grade (EOG) assessment and all NCEXTEND2 assessments. In summary, the following assessments will be available through the NCTest online assessment system:

  • Algebra I/ Integrated I EOC;
  • Biology EOC;
  • English II EOC;
  • Grades 5 and 8 Science EOG; and
  • NCEXTEND2 (EOC assessments in Biology, English II, Algebra I/Integrated I, and EOG assessments in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Grades 5 and 8 Science)

Paper-and-pencil versions of these assessments will be available for order, but the NCDPI strongly encourages administering these assessments online. Additional information is available online at . Questions regarding these online assessments may be directed to Kayla Siler at

The Online Assessment Tutorial

Would you like to know what the online assessment system looks like? Would you like your students to be able to practice navigating through an online assessment, using the tools (e.g., flag, strike, highlight) and complete sample items? Then you may want to check out the Online Assessment Tutorial available at . The purpose of the Online Assessment Tutorial is to provide teachers, students and parents with an interactive experience closely resembling an online test administration. Using the Online Assessment Tutorial, students can:

  • practice answering questions while becoming familiar with the new item types (e.g., technology enhanced, short answer, numerical entry);
  • learn how to navigate the pages; and
  • use the tools that are available in the system (e.g., flag, strike, highlight).

Beginning this school year, schools must implement a process to ensure that every student who will participate in an online assessment completes the Online Assessment Tutorial for the assessment at least once at school before test day. The process must be documented in the school's testing plan. For more information, please contact Kayla Siler at .

2012-13 Assessment Reminders for Algebra I/Integrated I and ELA

Algebra I/Integrated Math I: The following chart provides the required mathematics assessments based on the course of study for the 2012-13 school year. As a reminder, all students must have a test score for Algebra I or Algebra I/Integrated I by the end of their 10th grade year for federal reporting of Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs).

2010 CCSS Algebra I or Integrated I (1) Algebra I/ Integrated I
2010 CCSS Math I (local option) (1)Algebra I/ Integrated I
2010 CCSS Transitional Course (2)No Assessment
1. The NCEXTEND2 is available for students who meet the eligibility criteria.

2. The 2012-13 transitional course is recommended for current (2011-12) students enrolled in Algebra I who do not demonstrate mastery of the current content standards. The transitional course is an elective, and it will provide an opportunity for instruction on the Algebra I/Integrated I Common Core State Standards prior to this cohort taking geometry in 2013-14.

English II: Participation in an end-of-course assessment is based on enrollment in the course. Students currently enrolled for credit in English II for the 2012-13 school year, must participate in the English II assessment (i.e., based on the 2010 Common Core State Standards). The 2012-13 Courses for Credit Requiring the North Carolina READY End-of-Course Assessment or READY NCEXTEND2 End-of-Course Assessment document provides additional information and a list of course codes that require the administration of the appropriate EOC assessment. This document is available at . For more information, please contact Kayla Siler at or visit .

CEDARS Data Warehouse News

The CEDARS Data Warehouse (CDW) is the NCDPI's Longitudinal Data Store (LDS) that contains the LEA authoritative data submitted to the state. The CDW is designed to support data use among NCDPI staff, school principals, local administrators, and state and federal policy makers. This system can be used for analytical and reporting purposes by both the state and LEAs. One example of the state's use of CEDARS data is to meet federal reporting requirements including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The CDW has been operational and open to state, LEA and school level staff since September 2011. Last fall, over 250 trainers designated by LEA and charter schools attended one-day training for the CDW focused on project history, user registration and security management, the data availability and general functionality. To date, the CDW contains three years of data: 2009-10 - 2011-12. Authoritative sources include NC WISE, Exceptional Children, Limited English Proficient, Accountability, Migrant and Finance. To learn more about the CDW, please register and join us for upcoming webinar events by visiting . Questions also may be directed to

North Carolina Learning Technology Initiative (NCLTI) Education Technology Planning Summits

The NCDPI and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University have collaborated on preparing the state for technology-enabled learning. The partnership is committed to providing "just-in-time" assistance and support to LEAs and charter schools planning and/or implementing educational technology initiatives by hosting a series of intensive two-day Planning Summits. The first is an intensive two-day leadership-planning summit to provide an orientation to the NCLTI Framework for Planning and its supporting tools and resources. During sessions, you will have the opportunity to begin using the tools and resources to launch your district and/or school planning efforts or strengthen existing plans for technology-enabled learning environments. Additional information and application/registration information is available online at .

Register Now for Common Exams Webinar

On Oct. 10 from 10 a.m.-noon, NCPAPA and the NCDPI will host a webinar to provide updates and answer questions on the Common Exams (formerly referred to as Measures of Student Learning). During the hour-long webinar, NCDPI staff will provide information aligned to frequently asked questions and also provide an opportunity for additional questions. To participate, please visit to register. For more information, please contact Jennifer Preston at or Emily Doyle .

Online Evaluation Tool: Observations Webinar

The Online Evaluation Tool: Observations webinar will provide administrators with an opportunity to review the process of completing the annual evaluation cycle for teachers with a focus on using the online evaluation tools to complete the observation rubric. Topics to be addressed during the webinar include:

  • Review the NC SBE policy on the evaluation process;
  • Review Step 3 in the annual evaluation cycle;
  • Present strategies for managing observations;
  • Demonstrate copying an existing observation to inform the Rubric for Evaluating NC Teachers to complete a new observation;
  • Demonstrate accessing, notating, and authenticating the observation rubric in the online evaluation tool; and
  • Share resources, strategies, and best practices for coaching teachers for peak performance.

This webinar is offered four times in October: Oct. 9, 1-3 p.m.; Oct. 9, 3:30-5:30 p.m.; Oct. 24, 9-11 a.m.; and Oct. 24, 2-4 p.m. Webinar and registration information is available online at . For more information, contact the professional development lead for your region.

Webinar Addresses Accountability, Testing and Common Exams

On Oct. 25 from 3:30-5 p.m., the NCDPI Accountability Services staff and the Race to the Top Project Coordinator for Educator Effectiveness will host an informational webinar on the state's new accountability model, the new end-of-course and end-of-grade assessments, and the Common Exams (formerly known as Measures of Student Learning). The primary audience for this webinar is principals and classroom teachers. However, superintendents, central office personnel, and test coordinators are welcome to attend. Space is limited, so please register early. The webinar will be recorded and made available, along with any documents/resources presented during the webinar, on the Accountability Services web page. To register, please visit .

NC FALCON Coordinators Webinar

The first of four meetings for NC FALCON Coordinators during the 2012-13 school year was held on Sept. 19. Approximately 40 educators attended the meeting in which updates on NC FALCON, current projects with a focus on formative assessment, and an upcoming NC FALCON showcase were provided. Randy Craven from the Center for Urban Affairs and Community Support at North Carolina State University provided information about helping users link to districts or schools when creating an account in NC Education. Linking to a user account is essential in the reporting process that occurs for NC FALCON. The coordinators were asked to consider teachers who may wish to participate in the NC FALCON Showcase which will occur at the Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement In March 2013. Teachers participating in the showcase will discuss and display strategies and artifacts from their classroom implementation of formative assessment. The webinar was repeated on Sept. 25.

New Formative Assessment Plans Available

New formative assessment plans developed by NC teachers aligned to the Common Core State Standards and NC Essential Standards have been created to support the formative assessment principles outlined in NC FALCON. After logging into NC FALCON, the plans can be found under the heading "Formative Assessment Plans."

Instructional Improvement System (IIS) User Group

The IIS User Group meets monthly to provide input and support for the IIS. Another successful meeting was held on Sept. 20. During that meeting, members expressed the need and desire for the inclusion of NCLive/NCWise Owl resources, especially at grades 6-12, in the IIS when it is deployed. Catherine Baker from Edenton-Chowan Public Schools presented ideas around the use of Blogs to create excitement and support for the IIS among teachers. The group also discussed the search function that will be available in the IIS. It seems that most members on the call would be likely to do a keyword search rather than search by subject or standard. This information will help guide implementation of the IIS.

IIS or ISS? Which One and What Does it Mean?

How many times have you called the Instructional Improvement System the ISS instead of the IIS? Doesn't ISS stand for In School Suspension? How can we keep it straight? Good news, the NC Department of Public Instruction has been working on a new name for the IIS - without an acronym! Look for more information about the new name soon.

Data Integration Pilot Underway

As part of the preparation for the Instructional Improvement System, a data integration pilot using the Shared Learning Infrastructure (SLI) is underway. The SLI is a data integration platform that has potential to enable vendors to more easily write applications that use agency and LEA data, enable sharing of applications and content across LEAs and states, and has potential to give LEAs greater access to their data. The NCDPI IIS Team was successful in setting up the Shared Learning Infrastructure (SLI) Sandbox environment and completed the initial test load of the first data group containing SEA, LEA and school data entities. North Carolina is the first state to successfully load data to the SLI sandbox environment. To learn more about the SLI project and how it will help education, watch a video at .

Schools Urged to Participate in Earthquake Drill

State emergency management officials are encouraging North Carolina schools to join the rest of the southeast in participating in the regions' first-ever earthquake exercise Thursday, Oct. 18, at 10:18 a.m. "While earthquakes in North Carolina are rare, they do happen," said NC Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell. "Even earthquakes in other areas can send shockwaves across our state as we experienced last year. We want to be sure people know what to do to protect themselves." Similar to the annual tornado drill held each spring, people will be asked to take a few minutes of their day to rehearse what they would do in such an emergency. Since earthquakes happen with no warning, there WILL BE NO Emergency Alert System test to announce the drill. Instead, each school, business, agency and family is asked to practice recommended safety techniques on their own. Additional information and resource guides are available on to help various groups prepare for the exercise. You also can follow Facebook/NC Emergency Management for details. Individuals and agencies can sign up in advance to register their participation on the website.

LEARN NC's September Update Online

LEARN NC has published its September update ( . Educators will find resources to help teach about the election, implement the new Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, and keep up with LEARN NC on social media. Don't forget to check out LEARN NC's fall line-up of online professional development courses.

North Carolina Students Represent at 2012 FCCLA National Leadership Conference

Over 245 North Carolina students represented their school chapters in the 2012 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla. In addition to attending several leadership workshops, students had an opportunity to participate in STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) events. STAR events, which are designed to support and enhance college and career-readiness, leadership, management, and problem-solving skills, award students gold, silver or bronze ratings based on their mastery of the event specifications. North Carolina had 141 participants to advance to the national competition where they were among 3,700 competitors in 31 different STAR events. North Carolina students were very successful in the competitions earning 18 bronze, 69 silver and 54 gold awards. For more information, please contact Janet Johnson, NC FCCLA state advisor, at or visit to learn more about FCCLA in North Carolina.

Nominations for the 2013 SMT Center Awards

Each year, the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center offers awards that recognize individuals and organizations for their extraordinary contributions to science, mathematics and technology education in North Carolina. Recognition categories include K-8 teacher, 9-16 teacher, informal educator, administrator, student leadership and awards that recognize businesses and organizations that support STEM education. Educator and student award recipients receive $1,000. Recipients of the awards are honored in the spring. Visit for more information and to see videos of last year's winners. The deadline to nominate is Dec. 1.

2012 National Student Mock Election

Elementary, middle and high school classes across North Carolina are invited to participate in the 2012 National Student Mock Election, the largest student-driven civics project in the United States. The election will be held Oct. 25-Nov. 1. For more information, including curriculum materials and directions for class registration, please visit . Questions also may be directed to Brett Little, North Carolina coordinator for the National Student Mock Election, at or 877.258.6837.