MESSAGES 2012 :: JANUARY 13, 2012

JANUARY 13, 2012 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

On Tuesday, the US Department of Education issued its first Race to the Top State Specific reports tracking the progress of each of the 12 recipients of these federal grants. North Carolina's report notes that we made significant progress toward raising standards with the adoption of the Common Core and Essential Standards, have substantially increased our professional development support for you and your colleagues and are working to better leverage technology tools to support teaching and learning. Without these funds, which continue into 2014, our agenda to reform the state's public school system and to continue innovating and improving for our students would have been slowed to a crawl or to a complete stop given the state's budget situation. If you would like to see North Carolina's report, please visit the Department's Race to the Top website at www.ncpublicschools.org/rttt.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board Meeting Highlights
  2. Teacher Payment Changes
  3. High School Math Sequencing Webinar Online
  4. Information and Technology Toolkit
  5. STEM Announcements
  6. February Marks Love the Bus! Month
  7. Spring Holocaust Teacher Workshops
  8. 2012 Intel Schools of Distinction Awards
  9. NC Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Nominations Reminder
  10. Funding Available for Anti-Bullying Projects

State Board Meeting Highlights

At last week's State Board of Education meeting, members approved the Articulation Agreement with the North Carolina Community College System for postsecondary Career and Technical Education programs of study, a State Pre-Kindergarten Curricula, the North Carolina New Schools Project's STEM Teacher Education Program and replacement members and/or new members for the Compliance Commission and State Advisory Council on Indian Education. A quick summary of all Board action items, as well as the agenda and executive materials, are available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/stateboard/meetings .

Teacher Payment Changes

The new year brings a number of changes in North Carolina law, some involving public schools. One significant change for teachers is the law change that ended the option of paying teachers an entire month's pay in the August paycheck. Instead, as you know, local education agencies are required to pay only for time actually worked. This means the August paycheck for most teachers will be a fraction of what they are used to seeing. On the other end of the year, teachers will be receiving a check in June for time worked in that month. Most teachers are not used to receiving a check in June. The exception to this is teachers who work 11 or 12 months.

Several groups, including the State Board of Education, NC Department of Public Instruction, NC School Boards Association, NC Association of School Administrators and NC Association of Educators requested some technical corrections in the new law, but these were not made. So, for now, the only compliant option is to provide partial payment at the end of August (for days worked in August only) and full payment at the end of September (for all days worked in September).

The new legal requirements do not allow the delay of teachers' first payment until the end of September and will not result in any change in pay rates or annual amount of pay for teachers.

High School Math Sequencing Webinar Online

The "Common Core High School Mathematics 2012 and Beyond" webinar conducted by the NCDPI on Nov. 17 is available online at www.ncdpi.wikispaces.net (click on Mathematics then the High School Mathematics link to the left). This webinar addressed ensuring that students entering 9th grade in the 2012-13 school year are proficient in the Common Core High School Mathematics Standards by 2014-15 school year and launching the Common Core High School Mathematics Standards within the current course titles. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Maria Pitre-Martin at maria.pitremartin@dpi.nc.gov .

Information and Technology Toolkit

A digital toolkit has been created to assist teachers in identifying information and technology resources, strategies, objectives and tools helpful in understanding essential standards, common core and professional standards. The toolkit, which is available online at http://informationtechnologytoolkit.ncdpi.wikispaces.net, provides practical resources and ready-to-use techniques that help teachers build the relationships and teamwork needed to face the challenges of assessment, teaching and learning, and student-centered classrooms with success. This toolkit will be invaluable in providing guidance as teachers infuse information and technology essential standards into their classroom instruction.

STEM Announcements

  • Webinar Scheduled - The NCDPI in collaboration with NC STEM will host a STEM Webinar on Thursday, Jan. 26, from 10-11 a.m. The webinar will focus on a new service for North Carolina schools called the NC STEM Learning Network. This webinar is designed to elaborate on STEM tools, resources and professional development programs for schools, school systems and programs. To register, please visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/370399552 . After you register, you will receive an email message with participation instructions. For more information contact Tina Marcus at tina.marcus@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3423.
  • Invitation to join the NC STEM Learning Network - The NCDPI is now accepting applications for schools and school systems interested in joining the NC STEM Learning Network. The NC STEM Learning Network's purpose is to connect schools and school systems with national and state organizations committed to advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Network members will have access to best practices through technology tools, professional development opportunities, on-line convening's and webinars. Application review process is now open. First round of application reviews are being accepted through March 1. Individual schools or school systems can apply at www.ncstem.org/ . The NCDPI is working with the NC STEM and other partners to develop and manage the NC STEM Learning Network. For additional information, contact Rebecca Payne at rebecca.payne@dpi.nc.gov or Tina Marcus at tina.marcus@dpi.nc.gov.
  • STEM Conference Announcement - Join North Carolina educators and students with leaders from business and government from across the nation sharing strategies to implement STEM practices and demonstrate STEM's impact in the community. Registration is now open for Scaling STEM: Transforming Education Matters. Please visit http://newschoolsproject.org/2012stemconference/ to register. This conference will be held April 16-18 at the Sheraton Imperial. For more information, contact Tina Marcus at tina.marcus@dpi.nc.gov or Linsey Dyson at ldyson@newschoolsproject.org.

February Marks Love the Bus! Month

For nearly 800,000 students in North Carolina, the school day begins when they step onto their yellow school bus. We may not often think about it, but more than half of America's schoolchildren ride the bus to school. These vehicles and the people who drive them play a critical role in making education more accessible for students across the country. These are just a few reasons why this Valentine's Day and throughout the month of February, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is once again encouraging schools to celebrate the American School Bus Council's "Love the Bus" campaign. During this time, schools can hold activities to highlight the safety of school buses and to recognize the many dedicated bus drivers who make sure the trip to and from school is a safe one for hundreds of thousands of young people in our state. To register your event or for more information (including LOVE THE BUS! songs), go to www.ncbussafety.org/LoveTheBusNC or contact NCDPI Transportation Services Section Chief Derek Graham at derek.graham@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3571.

Spring Holocaust Teacher Workshops

These one-day, multi-county workshops for middle and high school social studies and English/Language Arts public school teachers present Holocaust survivors Hank Brodt, a Holocaust survivor who recounts his experiences in six concentration camps; Morris Glass, a survivor of Nazi ghettoes and camps including Auschwitz and Dachau; or Zohara Boyd, a survivor who "hid in plain sight" during the Holocaust. Dr. Karl Schleunes, historian and Holocaust scholar, will speak as well. Participants receive a copy of The Holocaust: a North Carolina Teacher's Resource, a guide for teaching about the Holocaust at middle and high school levels. There is no cost to attend the workshop and substitute pay is provided for all teachers attending. Space is limited so prompt registration is encouraged. Workshop dates and locations are as follows: Feb. 23, Wilmington (New Hanover County), March 22, Charlotte (Mecklenburg County), March 26, Wilkesboro (Wilkes County) and April 5 Enka (Buncombe County). For additional information, including registration, please e-mail Linda Scher at Brisket234@aol.com .

2012 Intel Schools of Distinction Awards

Does your school demonstrate 21st century teaching and learning environments that promote excellence in math and science? Then you will want to enter the 2012 Intel Schools of Distinction Awards where they could win up to a $25,000 cash grant from the Intel Foundation and more than $100,000 in products and services from program award sponsors. Six winners will be selected - two from each grade range (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12) - in each of the two categories of math and science. Don't miss this opportunity to apply at www.intel.com/about/corporateresponsibility/education/soda/index.htm . The application deadline is Feb. 23.

NC Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Nominations Reminder

As a reminder, the 2012 Awards Cycle for Elementary Teachers (grades K-6) for the North Carolina Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is now open. One mathematics teacher and one science teacher will be selected. Each will receive a $10,000 award and a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Awards Recognition Program. Nominations will be accepted through April 1. Nominations details are available online at www.paemst.org .

Funding Available for Anti-Bullying Projects

In honor of its new book, Bullying in Schools, Townsend Press has made a commitment to help curb violence and intimidation in schools. As a result of this commitment, they are making funds available for anti-bullying project proposals (for $400 or less in materials) that include the Bullying in Schools book. Within a month of posting, qualifying projects will appear with an Almost Home offer to bring their cost to $98 or less. Possible projects include creating bully-free zones, building classroom libraries or reading and listening centers with resources that teach students tolerance and acceptance, of flip cameras for students to record documentaries, peer interview or skits that address bullying. To participate,

  • log in to your teacher account on DonorsChoose.org (if you don't have one, any public school teacher can sign up at www.donorschoose.org/teacher).
  • once logged in, submit a project for $400 or less in anti-bullying materials to teach about bullying in your classroom, including Bullying in Schools from AKJ Books.
  • in your essay, clearly explain how each item you request will contribute to an effective anti-bulling curriculum. Projects that combine Bullying in Schools with unrelated classroom items, will not qualify for this offer.

Be sure to submit your request as soon as possible for the best chance of funding. Within one month of posting, if your project meets the above criteria, you will see a Townsend Press logo on your project page with an offer to bring the project cost down to $98 and encouraging other donors to chip in and fund the rest. Some projects on the site will also qualify for a Double Your Impact offer from Townsend Press. This offer applies to projects that meet the criteria above, but do not include the Bullying in Schools book. For more information on how the Almost Home offer works, please visit http://help.donorschoose.org/app/answers/detail/a_id/168/~/how-it-works%3A-almost-home-offers .