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MESSAGES 2010 :: FEBRUARY 25, 2010

FEBRUARY 25, 2010 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

I want to thank those of you who have provided feedback on Draft 1.0 of the proposed revised social studies standards and to let you know that your voices have been heard and will continue to be heard as we cycle through Draft 2.0 later in the spring and possible future drafts. As we move forward to revise essential standards in every subject, we will continue to request and incorporate teacher feedback on each draft. That is an important part of our process to make sure that our State Board of Education adopts curriculum standards that are appropriate for North Carolina's students. You can see all of the work underway in this regard in every subject online at (click on Essential Standards then Phase II link to the left).

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board Holds Monthly Meeting in Halifax County
  2. NCBCE and DPI Partner to Educate About ACRE
  3. Severe Weather Awareness Week
  4. NCDPI Continues Partnership with PIRC
  5. North Carolina Students Continue to Excel on AP Exams
  6. NCVPS Announces GO LIVE
  7. Greene County Schools' Teacher Featured in Publication
  8. Davidson IB Middle is Future City Grand Champion
  9. Register Now for Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps Conference
  10. LEARN NC Aligns Resources to New Teaching Standards
  11. Focused Intervention Theme of Education Symposium
  12. Inaugural Agriscience Awards

State Board Holds Monthly Meeting in Halifax County

State Board of Education members will hold their March meeting in Halifax County next week, March 3-4, in the auditorium at William R. Davie Middle School, Roanoke Rapids. Action items include Science Safety Standards, recommendations for compliance with HB 88 - the Healthy Youth Act, changes to the policy delineating the components of the ABCs accountability program for the 2010-11 school year and revisions to HRS-A-000: Acts of School Violence Reported to Law Enforcement and to the State Board of Education. Discussion items include tuition fees for non-public school students in the NCVPS, school-based calendar waivers for educational purposes, and program approval requests under the Innovative Education Initiatives Act. Board members also will receive the Consolidated Data Report: Crime and Violence, Suspensions and Expulsions and Dropout Rates and Counts during their Information Agenda on Thursday. The complete agenda and executive materials are posted online at

NCBCE and DPI Partner to Educate About ACRE

The North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) partnered with the NCDPI recently to host a Webinar about the ACRE (Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort) project. The purpose of the Webinar was to provide the state's business community with an introduction and/or update of the department's work to reform the state's Standards, Assessments, and Accountability systems. The Webinar was well attended, and attendees asked lots of questions about the goals and timeline of ACRE, as well as how the effort will ensure more students graduate college and career ready. The PowerPoint slides used for the presentation are available on the ACRE Web site at The NCBCE and the NCDPI plan to partner again in April to provide state business leaders with information about the NCDPI's Performance Navigator, which is the performance management tool the agency is developing to guide its work towards meeting the State Board's goals and targets.

Severe Weather Awareness Week

Severe Weather Awareness Week is scheduled for Feb. 28-March 6. The statewide Tornado Drill will take place at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 3. At that time the National Weather Service will issue a Required Weekly Test over the NOAA weather radio system. This will serve as a signal for school administrators to begin their tornado drill. The drill will conclude when participants complete their drill activities. No all- clear message will be issued. Following is a list of weather-related Web site for additional information:

NCDPI Continues Partnership with PIRC

The NCDPI is continuing its partnership with the North Carolina Parent Information Resource Center (PIRC) to enhance collaboration and support for parents, families, schools and communities. The partnership strengthens the department's capacity to effectively engage families throughout their children's educational experiences.

Funded by the federal government, PIRC provides services to families and educators in Title I schools through a multi-level system of training and information dissemination. Currently, the PIRC and the NCDPI are developing a comprehensive approach to parent engagement through its "Parent and Family Involvement: A Guide to Effective Parent, Family, and Community Involvement in North Carolina Schools." The guide is available online at The NCDPI in collaboration with the PIRC intends to lead in building a network of partners across the state to support students, schools and families. For additional information on how this partnership can support your parent involvement efforts and initiatives, please contact Yvonne Perry at or 919.807.3919.

North Carolina Students Continue to Excel on AP Exams

North Carolina is one of 16 states in which the percentage of students that scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam exceeds the national average according to a report recently released by the College Board. A total of 24,563 (29.1%) students from North Carolina's public high school class of 2009 took at least one AP exam during high school. This number exceeds the national average of 26.5% and represents an increase of 6,473 students from 2004. A total of 14,697 students (17.4%) from the class of 2009 earned a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP exam. This number represents an increase of 3,874 students from 2004 and exceeds the national average of 15.9%. To read more, please visit the NCDPI Web site at and click on the appropriate link under "News."


NCVPS staff are pleased to announce their new Web site for "Getting Organized to Lead Virtual Innovation" (GO LIVE) at This site was shaped by the wonderful efforts of local districts over the past two and a half years, as well as trips to Alexander and Halifax counties this fall to sharpen the message. We also include a link to best in class resources for you across NCVPS classic, modular, mobile and blended solutions for student success. In addition, we have listed resources of forward thinkers of our day such as Tom Vander Ark's Five Learning breakthroughs of the next 10 years at

An introductory vidcast is provided and we encourage you to contribute to the site by clicking the "solutions form" link to the left or by following the discussion on twitter using the hashtag #golivemcs.

Much of the site is inspired by North Carolina school districts' and schools' contributions toward leading "blended learning." We invite you to join us to continue the collaborative wave of the virtual advantage of NCVPS,, and Learn and Earn Online,

Greene County Schools' Teacher Featured in Publication

Jose Garcia, a science teacher at Greene County Middle School, is featured in a LEARN NC online article for his innovative approach to student inquiry. The article, which is the fifth in a series of spotlighting teachers who employ inventive instructional techniques, explains how he covers all of grades 6, 7 and 8 NC Standard Course of Study requirements two months ahead of end-of-grade exams, assigns no homework, and has plenty of time to help struggling students one-one-one while guiding his students to a 98 percent EOG pass rate. LEARN NC's goal for the series was to allow outstanding teachers to present, in their own words, successful instructional practices for the benefit of other teachers, policymakers, school administrators and education researchers. The article is available online at Links to previous articles in this series are available at .

Davidson IB Middle is Future City Grand Champion

Congratulations to Davidson IB Middle School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) students Luke Churchill, Emily Yue, Ruth Swallow, teacher Jay Hager, and volunteer mentor Dane Horna, an engineer with S&ME, Inc., for recently winning the grand prize at the 2010 National Engineers Week Future City Competition. Teams from 39 middle schools nationwide, who were winners of regional competitions in January, participated in the finals held in Washington, DC. The students will receive a trip to the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.; and the school will receive a 10-seat academic suite of engineering software. The students also met with President Obama and got to speak with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The video chat is available online for viewing at

Register Now for Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps Conference

It's not too late to register for the 14th Annual Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps Conference to be held March 29-31 at the Sheraton Four Seasons/Koury Convention Center, Greensboro. This year's conference will continue examining the causes of the achievement gap as well as research-based practices that raise and sustain achievement among all students. Complete conference details, including registration, are available online at .

LEARN NC Aligns Resources to New Teaching Standards

LEARN NC is aligning its resources to the new North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards. They've also created a video, available online at, that demonstrates how to easily find resources and online professional development courses on the LEARN NC Web site that are aligned to the standards.

Focused Intervention Theme of Education Symposium

"Saving our Children Through Focused School Interventions" is the theme of North Carolina Central University's Second Annual Education Symposium 2010. The event will be held March 20 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at the H.M. Michaux, Jr. School of Education, NCCU Campus, Durham. For registration information, please visit .

Inaugural Agriscience Awards

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is accepting nominations for its new 2010 Agriscience Awards. The awards are being presented by the Foundation in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Foundation. The first annual awards will provide eight monetary awards to two adult scientists, three current high school teachers and three high school students. Three, $10,000 Agriscience Educator Awards will be presented to current teachers with at least five years of teaching experience and who emphasize concepts, principles and applications in their curriculum to promote the study of agriscience to students. Three awards in the amount of $5,000 will be presented to high school students who are making or have recently made significant and positive contributions related to the study of agriscience. Complete competition information is online at . The deadline to submit nominations, which must be done online, is April 6. Questions regarding the competition should be directed to Judi Shellenberger, executive director of the Foundation, at or 315.258.0090.