MESSAGES 2012 :: SEPTEMBER 27, 2012

SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

Last week, I had the opportunity for the fifth consecutive year to recognize schools and districts with very high or even 100 percent graduation rates. Nearly 30 high schools posted 100 percent rates. (You can see the entire list of honorees at www.ncpublicschools.org under News.) For North Carolina as a whole, our graduation rate is 80.4 percent, the highest ever. While we still have work to do to get our state close to a 100 percent graduation rate, we are on the right path. Not only is graduation a key step for success in adulthood, but counties with high graduation rates also tend to have lower unemployment rates according to an analysis done by NCDPI staff. Thank you for what you do every day to prepare students well, to encourage them, and to set the expectation that high school graduation is possible for all students. This is good for students and their families, and it is good for communities and North Carolina's overall economic health.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Sets Fall Planning Meeting/Monthly Meeting
  2. New School Year Greetings from NC Teacher of the Year
  3. New NC Standard Course of Study Site and READY FAQs
  4. K-12 Social Studies Updates Online
  5. Looking for a Specific Wikispace?
  6. Fall Holocaust Workshops
  7. Eight Schools Earn National Blue Ribbon Recognition
  8. Annual Exceptional Children Conference Scheduled for November
  9. LEARN NC's September Update Online
  10. National Teachers Hall of Fame
  11. Nominations for the 2013 SMT Center Awards
  12. 2012 National Student Mock Election
  13. The Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation Challenge
  14. Real World Design Challenge
  15. Future City Challenge

State Board of Education Sets Fall Planning Meeting/Monthly Meeting

The State Board of Education will hold its fall planning and work session on Oct. 2 (11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) and Oct. 3 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) at the Downtown Sheraton, Raleigh. Members will hold their monthly meeting on Thursday, Oct. 4, from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., in the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, Raleigh. Action items on the Board's agenda include the Annual Teacher Turnover Report, the Report to the North Carolina General Assembly on Students with Disabilities - Annual Child Count, and the CPR graduation requirement. Members will receive a report on care for school children with diabetes, and discuss Career and Technical Education revisions to the Essential Standards, dual credit for Career and College Promise, and its 2013-15 Biennial Budget requests. The complete agenda as well as supporting executive summaries are available online at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/ (click on SBE Meetings then Meetings). The meeting is audio streamed for those who cannot attend. To listen in, please visit the above link and click on the live audio streams link to the right.

New School Year Greetings from NC Teacher of the Year

Happy fall! With this new school year comes a new curriculum and new challenges. As you know, the Common Core State Standards and NC Essential Standards are more rigorous than any curriculum we have had in the past. While I have been traveling across our state, I have had the opportunity to meet with many teachers. Some teachers were at first apprehensive about the changes but have now embraced the challenge. Others are excited about the opportunity to challenge their students on a higher level. I have seen teachers collaborating throughout schools and across districts in order to create lessons that involve 21st century skills. I have been very impressed with our excellent teachers in North Carolina and the positive outlook they have for their students. I am looking forward to continuing my travels to many districts across our state in the next couple of months. If you have any questions or concerns that I can help with, please don't hesitate to contact me (darcygrimesnctoy@gmail.com). Good luck with an exciting new school year! Darcy Grimes, 2012-13 NC Teacher of the Year

New NC Standard Course of Study Site and READY FAQs

The NCDPI wants educators and public school supporters to have access to the answers they need surrounding the many changes occurring this year in our public schools. To that end, staff have developed a new website that features a wealth of information on the state's new Standard Course of Study, including a thorough overview of the new standards, plus a menu of resources for educators to explore. It can be found online at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/.

NCDPI staff also have been synthesizing and researching the answers to a multitude of questions received from READY meetings earlier this year, along with a number of questions that have been submitted via our website and e-mail. The categories posted on the READY website thus far are Accountability, Assessments and Educator Effectiveness. These FAQs may be found at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/ready/faq/.

K-12 Social Studies Updates Online

The first Social Studies update of the 2012-13 school year is packed full of information ranging from Essential Standards resources, professional development opportunities for teachers and opportunities for students. Within the update are links to resources for additional information.

The Sept. 14 NCDPI K-12 Social Studies update also has been recently added and contains items on implementation of the social studies essential standards, curriculum and instructional resources, opportunities for educators and criteria for future submissions.

Social studies teachers will want to check out this resource online at http://ssnces.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/Updates .

Looking for a Specific Wikispace?

Having difficulty finding a specific NCDPI Wikispace? Wish the process was easier and more convenient? Your wish is about to come true! Department staff are currently working on Wikicentral - a central location for those NCDPI wikis that provide information to educators across the state. Wikicentral is intended to guide educators to the resources they need. The site, available online at http://wikicentral.ncdpi.wikispaces.net, is continuously being updated with the most recent information, so please "pardon our progress" while the site is under construction. If you have any questions regarding this website, please contact Robert Sox at Robert.Sox@dpi.nc.gov.

Fall Holocaust Workshops

Middle and high school social studies and English/Language Arts teachers may want to consider attending a free one-day, multi-county Holocaust workshop. Dr. Karl Schleunes, a historian and Holocaust scholar, and an additional holocaust survivor will present at the workshops. Participants will receive a copy of "The Holocaust: a North Carolina Teacher's Resource," a guide for teaching about the Holocaust at the middle and high school levels. The workshop is particularly useful for teachers of World History or American History as well as teachers at the sixth-grade level teaching Eastern European history. It also is recommended for middle school language arts teachers teaching "Anne Frank's Diary" or high school English teachers studying Elie Wiesel's "Night" and other Holocaust literature at the upper grades. Substitute pay is provided for teachers attending, but space is limited and teachers are encouraged to make early contact with Linda Scher, Holocaust Teacher Workshop Coordinator. Workshop dates and locations are as follows: Oct. 22 Greensboro (Guilford County); Oct. 29, Carthage (Moore County); Nov. 19, Albemarle, (Stanly County) and Dec. 4, Kenansville (Duplin County). For additional information, including registration, please email Linda Scher at Brisket234@aol.com.

Eight Schools Earn National Blue Ribbon Recognition

Eight North Carolina public schools were recently named 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. These schools are among 219 public and 50 private schools to be recognized for helping all students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap. Congratulations goes to: The Academy at Smith (Guilford County Schools); Jamesville Middle (Martin County Schools); Middle College at Bennett (Guilford County Schools); Park Road Montessori (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools); Pauline Jones Elementary (Cumberland County Schools); PSRC Early College at Robeson Community College (Public Schools of Robeson County); Saluda Elementary (Polk County Schools); and Whitaker Elementary (Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools). Representatives from each of these schools will be honored at a conference and awards ceremony to be held Nov. 12-13 in Washington, DC. They will receive a plaque and a flag signifying their National Blue Ribbon School status.

Annual Exceptional Children Conference Scheduled for November

The NC Department of Public Instruction's Exceptional Children Division invites you to attend its 62nd Conference on Exceptional Children scheduled for Nov. 14 -16 at the Koury Convention Center/Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons, Greensboro. This event is the singular opportunity each year for more than 3,000 special education and regular education teachers, administrators, parents, related service providers, university personnel and more to convene, collaborate and explore issues and promising practices for educating children with disabilities in North Carolina public schools. Online registration and additional information is available at http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/conferences-profdev/annual-conference .

LEARN NC's September Update Online

LEARN NC has published its September update (http://blogs.learnnc.org /blog/2012/09/24/learn-ncs-september-update) . Educators will find resources to help teach about the election, implement the new Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, and keep up with LEARN NC on social media. Don't forget to check out LEARN NC's fall line-up of online professional development courses.

National Teachers Hall of Fame

Every year, the National Teachers Hall of Fame recognizes five teachers who have demonstrated commitment and dedication to the teaching profession. Candidates must be certified teachers with at least 20 years experience teaching in grades preK-12. Anyone may nominate a teacher by completing a nomination packet. The nomination packet for the 2013 Teacher Induction Program is available online at www.nthf.org (click on Nominate a Teacher link). Nominations submitted by mail must have a postmark date no later than Jan. 2. Nominations submitted online must be received by Jan. 2.

Nominations for the 2013 SMT Center Awards

Each year, the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center offers awards that recognize individuals and organizations for their extraordinary contributions to science, mathematics and technology education in North Carolina. Recognition categories include K-8 teacher, 9-16 teacher, informal educator, administrator, student leadership and awards that recognize businesses and organizations that support STEM education. Educator and student award recipients receive $1,000. Recipients of the awards are honored in the spring. Visit http://ncsmt.org/prog.awards.html for more information and to see videos of last year's winners. The deadline to nominate is Dec. 1.

2012 National Student Mock Election

Elementary, middle and high school classes across North Carolina are invited to participate in the 2012 National Student Mock Election, the largest student-driven civics project in the United States. The election will be held Oct. 25-Nov. 1. For more information, including curriculum materials and directions for class registration, please visit www.nationalmockelection.org . Questions also may be directed to Brett Little, North Carolina coordinator for the National Student Mock Election, at little@ncvotered.com or 877.258.6837.

The Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation Challenge

NC State University's Institute for Emerging Issues is sponsoring its third annual Prize for Innovation challenge. North Carolina high school students are encouraged to unleash their creativity and work collaboratively to come up with an innovative product or tool that will benefit their community. The team with the most innovative and viable product will receive $5,000 to make that idea a reality. Finalist teams will receive $1,000. The Institute for Emerging Issues will host an informational webinar about the challenge on Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 3-4 p.m. Webinar registration is available online at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/710558623 . If you are unable to make the webinar, a recording will be available online at www.emergingissues.org . Applications are due Nov. 16 and should be sent electronically to emerging_issues@ncsu.edu or by mail to Campus Box 7406 Raleigh, NC 27695 to the attention of Prize for Innovation. To learn more about the challenge, including how to apply, please visit www.emergingissues.org (click on News+Events, then Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation).

Real World Design Challenge

The Real World Design Challenge is an annual design competition that provides students the opportunity to collaborate and experience real world design projects with a STEM focus. Students will experience real world challenges in the following ways:

  • Real Problem: An industry-defined problem provides a practical application of classroom curricula;
  • Real Tools & Resources: Inspire students by showing them what is at their fingertips;
  • Real Roles for Students: Require teamwork, leadership, innovation and problem solving skills; and
  • Real Contribution: Students can make a difference, solving industry-based problems.

The Challenge is FREE for students and teachers. Each teacher that signs up a team will receive access to professional engineering software for the project as well as access to mentors from industry, government and academia. State champion teams get an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC for the students and the teacher to compete in the National Challenge. Teachers can sign up today and add their roster of students later by visiting www.realworlddesignchallenge.org . For more information, please contact Tina Marcus, state coordinator for The Real World Design Challenge, at tina.marcus@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3423.

Future City Challenge

Middle school super stars are needed to build future cities of tomorrow, today! FutureCity.org is looking for students to design, build and create solutions in this year's Future City Challenge: Rethink Runoff-Design Clean Solutions to Manage Storm Water Pollution. Future City is a competition for 6-8 grade students where participants apply science, technology, engineering and math concepts to real-world issues developing writing, public speaking, time management skills and discover how engineering is both accessible and can make a difference in the world. Through hands on applications and SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition software, students will develop their own solutions to this year's real world challenge that examines the devastating effect of flooding after prolonged drought brought on by severe weather events. Register for the Annual Future City Competition at www.futurecity.org . The registration deadline is Oct. 31. For more information on STEM education, please contact Rebecca Payne at Rebecca.payne@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3423.