MESSAGES 2012 :: NOVEMBER 8, 2012

NOVEMBER 8, 2012 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

Imagine a time when you will come to work, log in once and have all the technology tools you need at your fingertips. Those tools include attendance, grade book, lesson planning tools, student assessments, professional development modules, a parent portal and more. North Carolina is building this technology infrastructure now to be completed and launched fully by 2014 when the 2014-15 school year begins. You may have heard people talk about the Instructional Improvement System (IIS) or PowerSchool, but all of these technology-based tools and resources will be accessed through one portal - Home Base. Home Base will be the place where educators can find reliable and solid tools to make their work easier, whether you're taking attendance or creating a classroom quiz or finding ways to help students understand a new concept. I look forward to seeing many of you over the next month at the second regional READY meetings where Home Base will be described in even more detail.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Fall 2012 READY Regional Outreach Meetings
  3. Accountability, Testing and Common Exams Webinar PowerPoint Online
  4. Smarter Balanced Sample Items and Performance Tasks Released
  5. iPads Compatible with NCTest
  6. Curriculum Webinar Schedule Online
  7. NCDPI Wikis Available in Central Location

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

At last week's State Board of Education meeting, members approved the 2013-15 Biennial Expansion Budget Request, approved LEA-wide weather-related school calendar waiver requests for 12 school districts, Race to the Top bonus payments for teachers and principals in low-performing schools that met high growth in 2011-12 and appointments to the Governor's School Board of Governors, the State Advisory Council on Indian Education and the Council on Education Services for Exceptional Children. Members also received reports on the Dropout Recovery Project and Career and Technical Education credentials earned by students. A summary of Board action items is available online at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/highlights/2012 .

Fall 2012 READY Regional Outreach Meetings

Principals and a teacher representative from each public school in North Carolina have been invited to attend the Fall 2012 READY Regional Outreach Meetings in November and December to give school-level staff more information on:

  • the new Instructional Improvement System;
  • the Educator Effectiveness System; and
  • the General Assembly's new school accountability model.

A key feature of the fall meetings will be additional time for questions and answers about these topics, so if you have questions you'd like asked and you are not your school's teacher representative at these meetings, please share your question with your principal so that as many questions as possible can be addressed. It would be great if we had enough room to accommodate all of North Carolina's more than 92,000 teachers, but we are committed to posting the FAQs generated at the meetings and all presentation materials online at www.ncpublicschools.org/ready .

Accountability, Testing and Common Exams Webinar PowerPoint Online

The PowerPoint used in the Oct. 25 webinar on the state's new accountability model, the new end-of-grade and end-of-course assessments, and the Common Exams is available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability under Hot Topics. The actual webinar recording will be available in the coming weeks.

Smarter Balanced Sample Items and Performance Tasks Released

The Smarter Balanced sample items and performance tasks were recently released and, in less than a week, more than 45,000 people visited the website. Public interest has been high, as indicated by numerous articles, blog posts, and the volume of social-media activity, including tweets and retweets on Twitter. The sample assessment items and performance tasks can be viewed on the Smarter Balanced website at www.smarterbalanced.org/sample-items-and-performance-tasks .

iPads Compatible with NCTest

Effective with the 2012-13 school year, iPads may be used to administer assessments using the online testing system (i.e., NCTest). Schools planning to use iPads must review the technical requirements at http://go.ncsu.edu/nct . Schools that administer an online assessment, but do not meet the technical requirements, are at risk of providing students items that cannot be manipulated (e.g., technology-enhanced items), items that do not display with associated artwork (e.g., tables, graphs, symbols), and items that do not fit properly on the screen. Schools should periodically review the technical requirements at http://go.ncsu.edu/nct/ for updates. Communication among district-level staff and school-level staff is extremely important when planning online test administrations and all facets of the process should be discussed as early as possible. For more information, please contact Kayla Siler at kayla.siler@dpi.nc.gov or visit www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing.

Curriculum Webinar Schedule Online

A schedule of webinars for curriculum content areas is now available on the K-12 Curriculum and Instruction website under the "Common Core State Standards and Essential Standard Resources" section at www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum (last link under Common Core State Standards and Essential Standard Resources). The schedule lists webinars that run through January. Registration links for each webinar also are provided.

NCDPI Wikis Available in Central Location

The NCDPI has a number of wikis that allow local educators to collaborate and share resources. Now, there is one place to go to find all of these wikis! Bookmark wikicentral.ncdpi.wikispaces.net for all NCDPI sponsored wikis.