MESSAGES 2013 :: MAY 23, 2013

MAY 23, 2013 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

As the news unfolded this week about Oklahoma's storm devastation, I noticed that teachers, once again, were prominent. Teachers did so many heroic things to shield, save and care for their students. I was not surprised because I know the kind of people who become teachers, but I am always touched by the way that you and your colleagues put your students first. With the end of the 2012-13 school year clearly in view in North Carolina, it is a good time to take stock of the progress that our state's public school students have made this year. I could not be more proud of you and your colleagues for implementing the new Standard Course of Study and preparing students to take the new assessments that are underway. I know that completing this transition in one year was challenging, especially for elementary school teachers and others who handle multiple subjects. Your students will be the better for it, and future North Carolina students also will benefit. Again, thank you.

Since this is my final e-mail message to you for this school year, I want to remind you to stay informed about the progress of North Carolina's budget. The Senate budget released Sunday evening did not include pay increases for teachers and did include a number of adjustments to allotment formulas that will affect teachers and other parts of the school budget. The budget process is far from over, however, and I encourage you to continue to check on this issue through professional organizations and on our legislative website at http://legislative.ncpublicschools.gov. Lawmakers will be working to finalize a state budget over the next few weeks. The teachers' email newsletter takes a hiatus in June and July and returns with the start of the traditional schools' calendar in late August. I hope you have a good summer, and I look forward to beginning a new school year with you in the fall.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. Podcasts on Common Core, Assessments and More
  2. Reflections from 2012-13 NC Teacher of the Year
  3. Follow 2013-14 NC Teacher of the Year
  4. NCDPI Requests Waivers to Title I, Part A School Improvement Grants Section 1003(g) Tydings Amendment
  5. NCAEA Permanent Display of Student Artwork at the NCDPI
  6. Biweekly Message Breaks for the Summer

Podcasts on Common Core, Assessments and More

With the many changes occurring in the NC Standard Course of Study, along with new assessments, a new educator evaluation system and more, the NCDPI has produced a number of podcasts for teachers, principals, parents and others interested in a video resource to explain the work under way. Topics include READY Overview, Why the Common Core, Assessments, Educator Effectiveness Common Exams and more. Visit www.ncpublicschools.org/ready/resources to access these podcasts.

Reflections from 2012-13 NC Teacher of the Year

Like most of you, I cannot believe it is already May and the end of the school year! It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in front of my computer attempting to write my first Teacher of the Year message. Last May, I had no idea what to expect about the upcoming school year. I was filled with many emotions: nervous, excited, happy and sad. I was nervous about representing all of you and was unsure if I could be successful. I was excited about the opportunity to travel across the state and meet so many amazing teachers. I was happy that I was going to be able to learn from the best teachers in the state whether in the mountains, piedmont, or the coast. But, most of all I was sad that I was going to be away from my students for an entire year. I have shared with many of you that I have wanted to be a teacher my entire life and the thought of not having students for an entire school year made me extremely sad.

What I quickly realized though, is that while I might be away from my students at Bethel Elementary, I was able to reach, teach, and help thousands of students across our state by the work that I was doing as Teacher of the Year. This year I have been on countless committees at the Department of Instruction, an advisor to the State Board of Education, met with numerous state senators and representatives to discuss public education, participated in meetings at the US Department of Education, co-chaired the first annual District Teacher of the Year Summit, worked with both public and private colleges to discuss their education colleges and programs, and collaborated with teachers across our state and nation.

Although this has been a wonderful year filled with many life-changing experiences, I won't lie by saying that this has been an easy year. It hasn't, as most of you would agree. For many this year has been a year full of change, struggles, and frustrations. We as teachers were given a new curriculum, new assessments, and a new way to teach. In August, for a countless number of teachers across the state, this was a daunting task that I observed first hand as I traveled. But, as the months went by I saw a change in the teachers who held on. I saw teachers who were collaborating with teachers in their school and across our state. I saw determination in the eyes of teachers who knew they needed to keep their students at the center focus in order for the students to be successful.

With change and determination comes growth. Although you may not be able to tell, I know I have changed and grown this year. As have all of the teachers and students in our state. Although I believe in growth, I do not believe growth can always be measured mathematically. If I took a test will it show that I have grown this year? Probably not, but it is something I can feel so deeply in my heart that I know it is there. And that is something we need to remember as we look in the eyes of our students. Look at where they were as they came into your classroom in August to a new curriculum and look where they are now. That is where the growth can be found.

Although this is my last message as the NC Teacher of the Year, I am not finished growing and changing. I will continue to work hard for the teachers and students across our state because I believe every student deserves the best education possible. Before I end, I do want to say thank you to each of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the time and hard work you put into teaching each day. Thank you for not giving up when things became difficult. But, most of all thank you for what you do for students every single day! Darcy Grimes, 2012-13 NC Teacher of the Year

Follow 2013-14 NC Teacher of the Year

North Carolina's 2013-14 NC Teacher of the Year Karyn Dickerson has created a blog on her website to allow her peers and other interested educators to follow her travels across the state and to read her reflections on her experiences. Bookmark www.karyndickerson.com to read her latest blog entries. Currently on the site is her acceptance speech given at the May 2 Teacher of the Year banquet.

NCDPI Requests Waivers to Title I, Part A School Improvement Grants Section 1003(g) Tydings Amendment

Notice is hereby given that the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) will submit a request for a waiver of section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) (the "Tydings Amendment") as it affects the authority of the NCDPI and its sub-recipients to obligate fiscal year FY 2009 regular and Recovery Act School Improvement Grant (SIG) 1003(g) funds after Sept. 30. Specifically, the NCDPI is requesting that the authority to obligate funds for the stateadministered Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) programs listed below be extended to Sept. 30, 2014.

  • CFDA 84.377A School Improvement Grants
  • CFDA 84.388A School Improvement Grants, Recovery Act

This request to extend the waiver, submitted pursuant to section 9401(d)(2) of the ESEA, would permit the NCDPI in accordance with criteria the NCDPI develops, to identify and allow local education agencies (LEAs) with Cohort 1 SIG schools additional time to expend remaining FY 2009 SIG funds in those schools. In particular, the extension would allow Cohort 1 Tier I or Tier II schools with unexpended FY 2009 funds to use those funds to continue to implement a SIG model during the 2013–14 school year, if the schools satisfy criteria developed by their state education agency. Continued use of available funds will allow LEAs to fully implement one of four rigorous intervention models to significantly turnaround the school. The state believes that the requested waiver will increase the quality of instruction for students, improve the academic achievement of students, and continue to assist the same populations served by the programs for which the waiver is being requested in accordance with applicable program requirements.

The public is invited to review and comment on the waivers being requested by May 31. Interested persons may present their written comments to: Donna Brown, Director, Federal Program Monitoring and Support, NC Department of Public Instruction, MSC# 6351, Raleigh, NC 27699-6351, e-mail: donna.brown@dpi.nc.gov.

NCAEA Permanent Display of Student Artwork at the NCDPI

Beginning this October, the North Carolina Art Education Association is planning to showcase student artwork from all LEAs in a permanent display at the NC Department of Public Instruction. K-12 art teachers are asked to select a student's artwork for consideration. To ensure statewide representation, each NCAEA region coordinator will chair a team to select works from those submitted from their region. Visit http://ances.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/NCAEA+Student+Art+at+NCDPI to access the letter of invitation and guidelines for NC art educators, which includes a link to the student submission form. This link also will take you to the parent information and permission form required for submission. The deadline for the digital submission is June 30.

All NCAEA art educators will have an opportunity to view the exhibit at a special viewing during the NCAEA Professional Development Conference on Friday night Oct. 3. A special reception for students, their parents and educators will be planned after the initial viewing during the month of October. Please consider submitting a work for consideration of this great honor for your student, community, and you to have in the NC Department of Education Building on permanent display.

Biweekly Message Breaks for the Summer

The Teachers' biweekly e-mail message will take a break for the summer following this issue and resume its normal biweekly distribution schedule on Thursday, Aug. 29. Using our school information database, we will refresh this email list in August and will hopefully capture all current addresses when the first message of the new school year is sent. If you have any questions over the summer, please don't hesitate to email Lynda Fuller at Lynda.Fuller@dpi.nc.gov.