MESSAGES 2012 :: JANUARY 26, 2012

JANUARY 26, 2012 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

Who are the people at the NCDPI who make important decisions about curriculum standards and other important items that affect you? It might interest you to know that approximately half of the NCDPI staff are new to their positions or have been at the Department fewer than five years. In many cases, these staff members joined us directly from the classroom, the principalship or local school district leadership. At the NCDPI, their hands-on and current experience makes an important difference in decision-making. Other staff members are not educators, and they provide support services such as ensuring that the more than $7 billion in public school funds are distributed correctly to your school districts, providing insurance for school buildings, and supporting the child nutrition programs that are essential for many children's health and well-being.

Fortunately, today's technology allows us to include more of you in the decision-making and development process. To date, thousands of local classroom teachers and other educators have participated in face-to-face meetings and through online surveys to provide direction and feedback in the development of the new Essential Standards and Common Core as well as the new educator evaluation system. It takes all of us working together to make the best decisions and generate the best ideas for our students.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board Meets Next Week
  2. Teacher Payment Change Clarification for 10-Month Employees who Get Paid Over 12 Months
  3. Feb. 1 is Digital Learning Day
  4. Regional Teachers of the Year Announced
  5. 2012 Teacher Working Conditions Survey
  6. Publication Addresses Character Education
  7. Workshop Addresses Deployment and Transition Issues for Military Families

State Board Meets Next Week

The State Board of Education will meet next week, Feb. 1-2, in the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, Raleigh. Action items include approval of re-visioned teacher education programs, revisions to Career and Technical Education Licensure, and Recommendations of Qualifying Praxis II Test Scores for Music (0114) and Teaching Students with Visual Impairments (0282). Among the Board's discussion items are Arts Education courses eligible for Honors weight, recommendations for Statewide Growth Model for Educator Effectiveness, Educator Effectiveness policies and an update on the Measures of Student Learning Design Group meeting. On Thursday, Board members will recognize NC Online Teacher of the Year Leslie Fetzer and hear a presentation on "Maximizing Success for Exceptional Children Through Blended Learning." The full agenda and executive materials are available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/stateboard/meetings . The State Board's committee meetings and full Board meeting are audio streamed for those who can't attend. To listen to the sessions, use the Live Audio Stream links at www.ncpublicschools.org/stateboard/meetings/ .

Teacher Payment Change Clarification for 10-Month Employees who Get Paid Over 12 Months

Since there were a number of teachers who had additional questions on how the payment change would affect 10-month employees who get paid over 12 months, the following clarification is provided: The new payment changes continue to allow for teachers to be paid over a 12-month period. For all teachers, under the law that goes into effect on July 1, 2012, the first check in August and subsequent months will only reflect the actual number of days worked during that month. It will be up to your district to determine how they will pay your installments but you will still receive a check in all 12 months. Because the law does not allow for prepayment, you may not necessarily receive 12 equal payments; however, your total salary over the 12-month period will not change.

Feb. 1 is Digital Learning Day

Teachers may want to sign up to take part in Digital Learning Day on Feb. 1. Your students can join 350,000 other students from 33 states to see exciting things happening with technology. Use the information as your own professional staff development on effective and innovative practices. You can add your class to the event by going online to www.digitallearningday.org and also get information via Twitter @DLDay2012 and Facebook (www.facebook.com/NationalDigitalLearningDay). Congratulations to Mooresville Graded School District for being one of two school districts nationwide to be featured on National Digital Learning Day. There will be a live downlink to Mooresville Senior High School on the event website (www.digitallearningday.org).

Regional Teachers of the Year Announced

Congratulations to the following teachers who were recently named 2012-13 North Carolina Regional Teachers of the Year:

  • North Central Region: Malinda Pennington, Toisnot Middle (Wilson County Schools);
  • Northeast Region: Lisa Staats, Chocowinity Middle (Beaufort County Schools);
  • Northwest Region: Darcy Grimes, Bethel Elementary (Watauga County Schools);
  • Southeast Region: Melissa Warren, South Brunswick High (Brunswick County Schools);
  • Southwest Region: Lenora Crabtree, Forest View High (Gaston County Schools);
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Karrie Detwiler, JW Turlington Alternative School (Hoke County Schools);
  • Piedmont-Triad/Central Region: Jennifer Arberg, Kiser Middle (Guilford County Schools);
  • West Region: Edith Callahan, Smoky Mountain High (Jackson County Schools); and
  • Charter Schools: Jenni Clayton, Forsyth Academy (Forsyth County).

Each will receive $5,000 and a technology package. The 2012-13 North Carolina Teacher of the Year will be announced in early May at an awards ceremony in Raleigh. The winner will succeed the 2011-12 North Carolina Teacher of the Year Tyronna Hooker, an exceptional children's teacher at Graham Middle School (Alamance- Burlington Schools).

2012 Teacher Working Conditions Survey

In 2010, 105,688 licensed educators completed the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey! Districts and schools can use the data collected through the survey for continuous school improvement and professional development planning. The Teacher Working Conditions website (www.ncteachingconditions.org) is rich with school data, resources and tools for school teams.

The 2012 Teacher Working Conditions Survey is set for March 26-April 20. Anonymous access codes will be distributed via the same process as in previous years to the NCAE association representative in each school. The survey also may be accessed online at www.ncteachingconditions.org. The Help Desk will be available to answer all your questions via phone, IM or email during that week. If you have lost or have not received an access code, the help desk will be available to assist. We will publish the help desk number prior to the survey release date. For more information, please contact Lynne Johnson at lynne.johnson@dpi.nc.gov or Eliz Colbert at eliz.colbert@dpi.nc.gov.

Publication Addresses Character Education

What do you get when you bring 24 talented teenagers and their teachers from North Carolina public schools across the state, drop them off in an art museum for three days, and challenge them to create a book that will teach character education to young children? The answer is "What Can a Small Bird Be?" This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a little yellow bird that uses character traits such as courage, good judgment, integrity and kindness to lend a helping hand to animal friends in distant lands. The DPI's English Language Arts section and the North Carolina Art Museum sponsored the creative venture as part of the Character Education Teen Residency Project. Under the inspired leadership of the artist Marguerite Jay Gignoux and writer Susie Wilde, the students and teachers met in March 2011. Together, they transformed their ideas into images and words that tell the story of what it means to be a good person. The book is available for $5 through NCDPI's Publication Sales by calling 800.663.1250 or 919.807.3301.

Workshop Addresses Deployment and Transition Issues for Military Families

The Military Impacted Schools Association will hold a workshop for educators on Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at the NC Rural Center, 4021 Carya Drive, Raleigh. The purpose of the workshop is to address deployment and transition issues for military families on the move. There is no registration fee. All materials, in addition to breakfast and lunch, will be provided. To preregister, please call 910.907.5044 or 866.567.5899.