NOVEMBER 1, 2012 - Principals' Biweekly Message
Invitations began going out in the past few days for the November-December READY regional meetings. This time our focus will be on the educator effectiveness model, the Instructional Improvement System, and the General Assembly's new accountability model utilizing A-F grades for all schools. At our last round of meetings, many of you said that you would like more time for questions and answers so we are building our agenda accordingly. I hope you will work with your faculty to select a teacher representative to attend with you. I look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks.
If you haven't taken advantage of early voting opportunities there is still time as early voting ends on Saturday, Nov. 3. The next time you will be able to vote is on Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 6. It doesn't matter when you vote…as long as you vote!
In this Biweekly Principals' Message:
- State Board Meeting Highlights
- State Superintendent Featured as Guest Blogger for Huffington Post
- NC Receives Grant for Aligning K-12 and Postsecondary Standards
- Innovative Preparation Program for STEM Teachers Expands to More Schools
- Smarter Balanced Sample Items and Performance Tasks Releases
- Arts Education, Healthful Living and World Language Assessment Examples
- iPads Compatible with NCTest
- Webinar Addresses Professional Development Plan Mid-Year Review
- Curriculum Webinar Schedule on the Web
- Accountability, Testing and Common Exams Webinar PowerPoint Online
- Final Call for ABCs Recognition Logos
- Don't Forget to Apply for Green Ribbon Schools Award
- National Principals Leadership Institute/School Change Awards
At this morning's State Board of Education meeting, members approved the 2013-15 Biennial Expansion Budget Request and the N.C Public Charter School Advisory Council's recommended changes to parts of the charter school application process. Members also approved LEA-wide weather-related school calendar waiver requests for 12 school districts, Race to the Top bonus payments for teachers and principals in low-performing schools that met high growth in 2011-12 and appointments to the Governor's School Board of Governors, the State Advisory Council on Indian Education and the Council on Education Services for Exceptional Children. Members also received reports on the Dropout Recovery Project and Career and Technical Education credentials earned by students. A summary of Board action items will be available online at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/highlights/2012 .
State Superintendent June Atkinson made her debut as a guest blogger for the Huffington Post earlier this month with a post highlighting the importance of financial literacy education in North Carolina. The Huffington Post's list of blog contributors includes Robert Redford, Jillian Michaels, Gary Hart, Daniel Ellsberg and many more. The Huffington Post is a news website and blog that covers politics, business, entertainment, environment, technology, popular media, lifestyle, culture, comedy, healthy living, women's interests, and local news. To read Atkinson's first post, visit www.huffingtonpost.com/june-st-clair-atkinson/financial-literacy_b_1971260.html .
The NCDPI, NC Community Colleges and the University of North Carolina System have received a three-year, "Core to College" grant. The $673,000 award aims to promote collaboration between higher education and NC's public schools in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Educators from the three recipient agencies are working together to ensure a more seamless transition from high school to postsecondary education. One objective of the grant is to better align policies and processes to provide stronger support for career and college readiness. Core to College funding is provided by the Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information, please contact NCDPI Chief Academic Officer Rebecca Garland at Rebecca.Garland@dpi.nc.gov.
College graduates interested in becoming high school science, math and technology teachers can now take a cost-free alternate route to certification that combines intensive, school-based preparation with online learning.
Now in its first year, the N.C. STEM Teacher Education Program (NC STEP) is providing hands-on training at four innovative high schools across North Carolina to an initial round of candidates who are being prepared for teaching jobs beginning in the fall of 2013. The addition of four more participating schools next year will open slots to 40 teachers-in-training.
The non-traditional teacher education program is administered by North Carolina New Schools and funded by the federal Transitions to Teaching grant program. To read more about this exciting initiative, please visit http://newschoolsproject.org/ .
The Smarter Balanced sample items and performance tasks were recently released and, in less than a week, more than 45,000 people visited the website. Public interest has been high, as indicated by numerous articles, blog posts, and the volume of social-media activity, including tweets and retweets on Twitter. The sample assessment items and performance tasks can be viewed on the Smarter Balanced website at www.smarterbalanced.org/sample-items-and-performance-tasks .
Arts Education, Healthful Living and World Language assessment examples were developed as part of North Carolina's Race to the Top plan to support standards implementation. These examples are not intended to be used as standardized statewide tests, but to serve as examples of some ways the standards (or parts of the standards) could be assessed by classroom teachers. Teachers are encouraged to implement assessments in ways that make sense to their teaching situations and best fit the needs of their students. The examples that have been reviewed and approved, along with a description of the development process, are accessible from the following web pages:
Additional examples are being refined and are expected to be available by mid-December. Please contact Helga Fasciano at Helga.Fasciano@dpi.nc.gov for more information.
Effective with the 2012-13 school year, iPads may be used to administer assessments using the online testing system (i.e., NCTest). Schools planning to use iPads must review the technical requirements at http://go.ncsu.edu/nct . Schools that administer an online assessment, but do not meet the technical requirements, are at risk of providing students items that cannot be manipulated (e.g., technology-enhanced items), items that do not display with associated artwork (e.g., tables, graphs, symbols), and items that do not fit properly on the screen. Schools should periodically review the technical requirements at http://go.ncsu.edu/nct/ for updates. Communication among district-level staff and school-level staff is extremely important when planning online test administrations and all facets of the process should be discussed as early as possible. For more information, please contact Kayla Siler at email@example.com or visit www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing.
This NCDPI sponsored webinar provides teachers and principals with an opportunity to review the process for completing the mid-year review of the teacher's Professional Development Plan. The following topics will be addressed during the webinar:
- the North Carolina State Board of Education policy on the evaluation process;
- the teacher process for accessing the existing Professional Development Plan, reviewing the plan at mid-year, and authenticating the plan;
- the principal process for accessing the existing Professional Development Plan, reviewing the plan at mid-year, and authenticating the plan; and
- resources, strategies, and best practices for developing SMART goals at the mid-year review to promote continuous professional growth.
The webinar will be held on Nov. 13 from 1-3 p.m. and again at 3:30-5:30 p.m., and on Nov. 28 from 9-11 a.m. and again at 2-4 p.m. To register for the webinar, please visit http://ncees.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/Upcoming+Webinars . For more information, please contact Eliz Colbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A schedule of webinars for curriculum content areas is now available on the K-12 Curriculum and Instruction website under the "Common Core State Standards and Essential Standard Resources" section at www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum (last link under Common Core State Standards and Essential Standard Resources). The schedule lists webinars that run through January. Registration links for each webinar also are provided.
Principals, please share the following information with your teachers: The PowerPoint used in the Oct. 25 webinar on the state's new accountability model, the new end-of-grade and end-of-course assessments, and the Common Exams is available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability under Hot Topics. The actual webinar recording will be available in the coming weeks.
If your school achieved School of Distinction, School of Excellence or Honor School of Excellence recognition under the 2011-12 ABCs of Public Education program and you still have not received the appropriate logo for use on your website and stationery - now is the time to act! Although district central offices have been provided the artwork for these logos for distribution to schools in their systems, you may also request the logo from the NCDPI Communications division. Just email Lynda Fuller at Lynda.Fuller@dpi.nc.gov and note the logo you need. This is the last call!
The deadline to apply for the 2013 Green Ribbon Schools Award is a little over a month away - Dec. 19. 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. Up to four North Carolina schools will be nominated by the department and sent to the USED for national consideration. The application is available online at www.schoolclearinghouse.org under "Current Items."
The 16th Annual National Principals Leadership Institute, Overcoming Obstacles to Change, will be held July 13-19 in New York City. Complete details and online registration are available at www.npli.org . Early bird registration fees as well as scholarship opportunities are available.
In addition, the National Principals Leadership Institute is again sponsoring its National School Change Awards to recognize schools achieving the greatest improvements. Complete details, including an application, are available at the above URL. The deadline to apply is March 11.