MESSAGES 2012 :: APRIL 12, 2012

APRIL 12, 2012 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

In 2010, 105,688 licensed educators completed the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey, and provided an important inside look at what it is like to teach and work in North Carolina public schools. Your working conditions make a difference in how you feel about teaching, your students' learning and both your daily lives. The Teacher Working Conditions Survey provides you with an important opportunity to give feedback to your principal, local superintendent and board members. You should have received access information to complete the confidential Teacher Working Conditions survey from your NCAE representative, but if you have questions about that or if you have other problems completing the survey, please contact the survey help desk (1.888.601.5826 Monday-Friday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, or by email helpdesk@ncteachingconditions.org) for assistance. The survey closes on April 20. Our goal is to have 100 percent participation but we need at least 40 percent of each school's teachers to complete the survey for the school's results to be publicly available. You can see how many teachers have completed the survey in your school by going to www.ncteachingconditions.org.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board Meeting Highlights
  2. Live Stream of Special State Board Meeting Online
  3. Next Generation Assessments: Resources for Online Transition
  4. English Language Arts Assessment Samples
  5. Formative Assessment Webinar Online
  6. Wilkes County Teacher to be Inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame
  7. Guilford County Principal Named Principal of the Year
  8. NC Schools Compete for "Green Ribbon" Award
  9. NC Troops to Teachers Narrative Competition
  10. Middle/High School Bus Video Competition

State Board Meeting Highlights

At last week's State Board of Education meeting, members approved Catawba County Schools' Alternative Learning Program application, standards for the evaluation of Instructional Technology Facilitators and School Library Media Coordinators, and school-based calendar waiver requests for educational purposes for two schools in Warren County. Members also discussed the State Literacy Plan, Academic Scholars Program, minimizing the fiscal impact of large student populations transferring from LEAs to charter schools, and received the Institutions of Higher Education Report Card. A summary of Board action items in addition to the full agenda and executive materials are available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/stateboard/meetings .

Live Stream of Special State Board Meeting Online

Thanks to WRAL-TV, the special meeting between the State Board of Education and local superintendents held last Tuesday, April 3, was live streamed enabling citizens across the state to hear how previous budget cuts have impacted and potential budgets cuts may impact local school districts and schools. If you were unable to tune in, the broadcast is available online at www.wral.com/news/video/10938839/ .

Next Generation Assessments: Resources for the Online Transition

To help educators prepare for the next generation assessments and the transition to online, the following resources are available:

  • Best Practices Guide - www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/assessment/guide/ The purpose of this document is to serve as a guide to help districts and schools prepare for the transition to online assessments. This guide provides tips and recommendations based on conversations with LEAs and charter schools around the state that have already started this transition and are administering some or all of the current end-of-course tests in the online format.
  • Quick Reference Guide - www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/acre/assessment/assess1pageroct11.pdf This quick reference guide for the next generation of summative assessments includes the expected timeline for full implementation of online testing.
  • SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium - www.smarterbalanced.org/ This is the main website for The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, which is a state-led consortium working to develop next generation assessments that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and that accurately measure student progress toward college and career readiness.
  • Online Assessment Tutorial - https://center.ncsu.edu/nctest/NCTestSim.html#StudentSignIn This assessment tutorial shows you how the online testing system works. You can select a test and then practice moving between and answering questions.
  • NC Test Information - https://center.ncsu.edu/nc/course/view.php?id=361 Information related to the latest version of the online testing system, NCTest v 2.5. Here you can find the technical requirements for the system, information on registration and administration, the assessment tutorial, and other resources related to administering online assessments.

Additional resources can be found on the online assessment resources page at www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/assessment/resources . For more information, please contact Kayla Siler at Kayla.Siler@dpi.nc.gov.

English Language Arts Assessment Samples

To provide a better understanding of the writing expectations outlined in the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, the attached samples of student writing have been provided with annotations to illustrate the criteria required to meet the Common Core State Standards in various types of writing (including argument, informative/explanatory, and narrative). Following is the list of student samples attached to this message.

  • Grade 2, Argument (Opinion) "Owl Moon" (writing argument is a new requirement for second graders)
  • Grade 5, Informative/Explanatory "Author Response: Roald Dahl"
  • Grade 7, Informative/Explanatory "A Geographical Report" (long research report example)
  • Grade 8, Narrative "Miss Sadie"
  • Grade 10, Argument, "_____School Board Levy"

Please contact Julie Joslin at Julie.Joslin@dpi.nc.gov if you have any questions.

Formative Assessment Webinar Online

The NC FALCON formative assessment webinar that was held on March 29 is available for viewing in NC FALCON at http://center.ncsu.edu/nc by clicking on Formative Assessment and scrolling to the webinar link. Resources and materials presented by Donna Wade during the webinar are already available in the Falcon Forum in NC FALCON. These files are downloadable once you login to NC FALCON and go to the Falcon Forum. Click on the lesson template notebook to download her lesson file or click "discuss this topic" at the bottom of the message to find three additional files within the message. All NC educators have access to NC FALCON if they have created a login through NC Education at http://center.ncsu.edu/nc .

If you have not created a login, go to the URL above and click on login in the upper right hand corner. On the login page you will be prompted to enter your login, find an existing account (if you have forgotten your login), or create a new account. When you click on "create new account" you will be prompted to enter information to set up a login. If you have trouble with the login, contact the help desk at ncdesk@ncsu.edu or 919.515.1320.

Thank you for your interest in NC FALCON webinars. If you have additional questions about the webinar, contact Carmella Fair at Carmella.Fair@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3840.

Wilkes County Teacher to be Inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame

Congratulations to West Wilkes High School (Wilkes County Schools) teacher James Brooks for being one of five teachers from the United States who will be inducted this year into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. Brooks teaches English and photojournalism. The Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of exceptional career teachers and the teaching profession. The five inductees will be honored May 9 during a reception at the National Education Association headquarters in Washington, and will be in Emporia, Kansas June 13-15 for a series of events including the induction ceremony.

Guilford County Principal Named Principal of the Year

Congratulations to Oak Hill Elementary School (Guilford County Schools) Principal Patrice Faison who was recently named the 2012 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year. Faison was selected from the following regional finalists following interviews and on-site visits by a statewide selection committee.

  • North Central Region: Drew Cook, Garner High (Wake County Schools);
  • Northeast Region: Clay Wagner, Riverside High (Martin County Schools);
  • Northwest Region: Kelly Withers, Jesse Carson High (Rowan-Salisbury Schools);
  • Southeast Region: Glenn Reed, Blue Creek Elementary (Onslow County Schools);
  • Southwest Region: Hilda Batts, AT Allen Elementary (Cabarrus County Schools);
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Sara Bigley, Pinehurst Elementary, (Moore County Schools); and
  • West Region: Brad Teague, East Rutherford Middle (Rutherford County Schools).

As Wells Fargo Principal of the Year, Faison will receive an additional $3,000 for her school and $3,000 for personal use. Regional finalists received $1,000 for their school and $1,000 for personal use.

NC Schools Compete for "Green Ribbon" Award

The following three North Carolina public schools are competing for the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award, which recognizes the highest performing green schools in the nation:

  • Evergreen Community Charter School, Asheville;
  • Green Hope High (Wake County Schools); and
  • Moore Square Middle (Wake County Schools).

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan began the Green Ribbon Schools award as a way to improve education facilities and building energy savings while fostering student and staff health, wellness, productivity and achievement. The award recognizes demonstrated achievement or improvement in the following three areas: environmental impact and energy efficiency; healthy school environments and practices; and environmental and sustainability literacy. Award recipients will be named April 23. The 2011-12 school year is serving as the pilot year for this program.

NC Troops to Teachers Narrative Competition

If you are a United States military veteran and teaching in North Carolina you might want to consider participating in the NC Troops to Teachers Narrative Competition. The basic idea is to have military veterans tell their stories of transition from the military into public education. The goal is to use these stories to inspire others transitioning from the service to do the same. There are prizes for the top three essays. Submissions must be from currently employed educators and administrators. You do not have to be a participant in the program to participate. However for non-participants, verification of your military service (through DD-214) will be required. Entries will be accepted through April 30. Please see the attached flyer for submission details.

Middle/High School Bus Video Competition

NCDPI's Transportation Services Division is helping sponsor a Youth Video Contest entitled "Making Tracks" that is open to middle and high school students across the state. The purpose of the video contest is to help students teach others the importance of pedestrian safety to and from school and, in particular, to and from the bus stop. Videos must be uploaded between April 23 and May 6. Contest information, including rules and regulations, is available online at www.ncbussafety.org/videocontest . Please pass this information along to appropriate staff. Contest questions may be directed to Derek Graham at Derek.Graham@dpi.nc.gov.