MESSAGES 2013 :: MAY 9, 2013

MAY 9, 2013 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

The 2012-13 school year will be remembered as one of significance in our education careers. For the first time a state implemented a completely new Standard Course of Study in every subject at every grade and new assessments aligned with the new standards. I want to thank you for your hard work this year to accomplish this. Because our assessments are new, we will need to set proficiency cut scores this summer. As such, release of assessment results will be delayed. We anticipate that scores will go down based on the experiences we have had in the past when raising standards and the experiences of other states that have recently been through this process. We are working to communicate about this with news media, parents and lawmakers so that everyone understands this is what happens when you set a higher standard.

Also, this week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I hope you have felt appreciated by your students, their families and your school community. Teachers are life-changers. The work you do each day creates opportunities for youngsters to achieve their dreams. I know students who want to be environmental engineers because of AP Environmental Science, researchers because of a biology class, Spanish teachers because of a language class, and accountants because of a business education class. Your role in our society is unlike any other. In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) produced a video. If you have a moment, I encourage you to check it out at http://youtu.be/owY12CYpAS4. My deepest appreciation for all you do for our almost 1.5 million public school students!

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Spring 2013 Assessment Reminders
  3. Best Practices for Scoring Common Exams
  4. Guilford County Teacher Named 2013 Burroughs Wellcome Fund NC Teacher of the Year
  5. Greetings from 2013 Burroughs Wellcome Fund NC Teacher of the Year
  6. Comment Now on NCDPI Elementary Grades' Math Resources
  7. Are Your Elementary Students Ready for a Summer Math Challenge?

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

Among the items approved by State Board members at their meeting last week were Criteria for Endorsements to High School Diplomas, Race to the Top Career Readiness and College Course Completion Performance Measures, and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program applicants for 2013-14. Members discussed Proposed Standards, Rubrics and Users Guides for the Evaluation of Allied Health Service Professionals; Career and Technical Education Licensure Requirements; and a report from Duke University's Terry Sanford School of Public Policy Semester Project on Strategies for Compensating North Carolina's Teachers. A summary of all Board action items is available online at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/highlights/2013.

Spring 2013 Assessment Reminders

- Please note that all of the end-of-course (EOC) and end-of-grade (EOG) assessments for the 2012-13 school year are fully aligned with the new NC Standard Course of Study (Common Core State Standards and NC Essential Standards).

- Effective with the 2012-13 school year, schools must implement a process to ensure that every student who participates in an online assessment completes the Online Assessment Tutorial requirement for the assessment at least once at school before test day. Schools must show the appropriate tutorial video (i.e., desktop, tablet) and then allow students to complete the interactive tutorial for the assessment or use the appropriate NCDPIdeveloped tutorial script (i.e., EOC, grades 3-8) to manage students as they complete the tutorial. The Online Assessment Tutorials, videos, and scripts are available at http://go.ncsu.edu/nctdemo. The process must be documented in the school's 2012-13 testing plan.

- Schools should periodically review the technical requirements at http://go.ncsu.edu/nct/ for updates. 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), items that do not fit properly on the screen, and dysfunctional audio.

- The NCDPI is required to establish new achievement standards based on the scores from the first administration of the new assessments. The standard-setting process for all of North Carolina's new assessments and their alternate assessments is scheduled to take place during the summer. As such, the scores will be delayed until October pending the results of the scaling and standard-setting process and the approval of the achievement standards by the State Board of Education. Due to the delayed reporting, Retest 1 administrations will not be available for the 2012-13 school year.

- For more information, please contact your Regional Accountability Coordinator http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/directory/racs or http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing/.

Best Practices for Scoring Common Exams

Successful scoring of North Carolina's Common Exams is a result of careful planning by districts and schools. As a reminder, the NCDPI has information related to best practices for scoring constructed response/performance tasks on the state's Common Exams. This document is available online at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/effectiveness-model/measures/performance-tasks.pdf.

Guilford County Teacher Named 2013 Burroughs Wellcome Fund NC Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Karyn Dickerson, an English teacher at Grimsley High School (Guilford County Schools) who recently was named the 2013-14 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year. In making the presentation, State Superintendent June Atkinson said Dickerson is an inspiring example of the teachers leading North Carolina public school classrooms. "Karyn encourages her students to think for themselves and provides them with numerous opportunities for open discussion and cooperative learning. These are valuable skills that will serve them well in further education and in their careers." As Teacher of the Year, Dickerson will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. She will receive a number of gifts including an automobile to use during her tenure, a $7,500 cash award, the opportunity to travel aboard and an $11,000 technology package. She also will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two years. Dickerson succeeds Darcy Grimes, a third grade teacher at Bethel Elementary (Watauga County Schools).

Greetings from 2013 Burroughs Wellcome Fund NC Teacher of the Year

Overwhelmed. One short word can positively summarize the past few days after being selected as the North Carolina Teacher of the Year for 2013-2014. While other adjectives such as humbled, honored, and touched also describe my emotions, overwhelmed encompasses all of these feelings. I am overwhelmed with the honor of being chosen to represent the outstanding educators in this state; overwhelmed by the love and support from my school and community; overwhelmed by the incredibly kind e-mail messages I've received in the past few days (seventy-eight the afternoon of the announcement!); overwhelmed with hugs, high fives, and fist bumps from students in my classes or in the hallway, some of whom I've never actually taught; overwhelmed with media interviews and opportunities to speak about education in North Carolina; and finally, overwhelmed with excitement for the upcoming year.

Education has always been central to my life. I have always loved being a student, and as an educator I believe that we never stop learning. I also have always loved teaching: teaching my stuffed animals, trying to teach my older brother and my parents when I was just a preschooler, tutoring students when I was in high school and college, and, of course, teaching English to high school students at Grimsley High School in Greensboro, NC.

That is why I am so excited about the upcoming year. I know the value of an education, and I am also keenly aware of how influential all teachers are in developing the minds of children and guiding them along their educational journeys. All too often I read articles in the paper or peruse online comments following articles about teachers that belittle, vilify, and underestimate the incredible positive impact that teachers have on students daily.

As an ambassador for educators in North Carolina over the next year, I hope to provide a strong voice in support of the outstanding advancements in education that are going on all over our state in spite of teachers often having to do more with less in their classrooms. Teachers are constantly encouraging students to develop their higher order thinking skills that will serve them well beyond the walls of public education. I want to share with others the innovative ways that educators in North Carolina are applying the Common Core curriculum and developing and using twenty-first century skills in their classes, in spite of limited resources in their classrooms.

I want to advocate for our teachers and students by helping put the importance of supporting education both dialogically and fiscally back at the forefront of conversations. When a reporter last Thursday asked me, "So are you the best teacher in the state of North Carolina?" I was briefly taken aback. I do not believe that there is any one best educator in this state; instead, we are blessed to have many outstanding educators, each with his or her own set of skills. It is only with a collaborative effort from kindergarten to graduation that we can reach out to all of our students. As a collective whole, the educators in North Carolina are at their best, and I am so honored to be able to serve as an advocate and representative for all of you. - Karyn Dickerson, 2013-14 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year

Comment Now on NCDPI Elementary Grades' Math Resources

The NCDPI Mathematics Section is constantly looking to improve resources. Elementary grades staff currently are in the process of revising/editing the "Unpacking" and "Lessons for Learning" documents located on its wiki at http://maccss.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/home (click on Common Core State Standards, Elementary Resources, then appropriate grade level). If you have any recommendations, feedback or suggestions, please contact Denise Schulz for K-2 at denise.schutz@dpi.nc.gov or Kitty Rutherford for 3-5 at kitty.rutherford@dpi.nc.gov.

Are Your Elementary Students Ready for a Summer Math Challenge?

Did you know that, on average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer months? MetaMetricsĀ® is trying to stop this loss in math skills by offering the Summer Math Challenge. The Summer Math Challenge is a free, six-week, email-based, math skills program based on the Common Core State Standards for students who have finished second through fifth grades. As a part of the program, parents receive daily emails with fun, targeted activities and resources to help children retain the math skills learned during the previous school year. The Summer Math Challenge begins Monday, June 24, and runs until Friday, Aug. 2. For more information, including how to encourage your students to participate in the Summer Math Challenge, visit quantiles.com/summer-math.