MESSAGES 2013 :: SEPTEMBER 26, 2013

SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

One of my favorite events every year is the annual graduation rate celebration where NCDPI leaders and I have the opportunity to celebrate school districts and high schools with the highest graduation rates in North Carolina. On Monday, we recognized 36 schools for 100 percent graduation rates, the 10 top districts in terms of graduation rates and the top graduation rate schools by cohort size. Congratulations to Elkin City, Mooresville Graded School District, Pamlico, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Cherokee, Mount Airy, Dare, Gates, Catawba and Union school districts for having the top graduation rates in our state - all above 90 percent (to access the list of all award winners, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org and click on the appropriate link under "News").

Another bright spot this week was today's release of the 2013 SAT scores and AP data for North Carolina and our high schools and districts. Seniors increased their combined SAT score 10 points to 1,479 while the nation's remained flat at 1,498. I'm particularly pleased that high school seniors increased their average Critical Reading score. I fully expect to see this score continue to improve as students benefit from the Common Core State Standards. The College Board also released summary results for the state's Advanced Placement program where there were healthy increases in the number of test takers, numbers of exams taken and the number of exams scoring in the 3-5 range. Even better is the fact that all ethnic groups showed similar increases with the Hispanic population overall showing the best. If you would like to read more on this, just go to our website at www.ncpublicschools.org and look under "News."

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meets Next Week
  2. Public Hearings Scheduled to Receive Feedback on High School Accreditation Framework and Read to Achieve Program
  3. NC Schools and You UNC-TV Program Now Available Online
  4. Sept. 15 - Oct. 15 Proclaimed Hispanic Heritage Month
  5. Reading 3D Tutorials
  6. Educator Effectiveness Offers Professional Development Opportunities
  7. NC Department of Public Instruction Partners with Capitol Broadcasting on Character Matters Campaign
  8. 63rd Conference on Exceptional Children Set for November
  9. Grant/Travel/Recognition Opportunities
  10. Search Underway for Nation's Top Youth Volunteers

State Board of Education Meets Next Week

The State Board of Education will hold a Planning/Work session as well as its monthly meeting at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching in Cullowhee on Sept. 30-Oct. 3. Sunday night through Wednesday evening, the Board will discuss establishing goals, identifying potential objectives and measures, and next steps among other topics. On Thursday, the Board will take action on a number of reports to the NC General Assembly, the timeline for implementation of Academic Achievement Standards (cut scores) and Achievement Level Descriptors, implementation of the General Assembly's Read to Achieve Portfolio process and duties of school counselors as referenced in GS115C-316.1. Discussion items include the policy delineating the use of state-designated assessments for the North Carolina teacher evaluation process and career and technical education credential allotments. The complete agenda as well as supporting executive summaries for the Board's Thursday meeting are available online at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/ (click on SBE Meetings then Meetings). The Thursday 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.

Public Hearings Scheduled to Receive Feedback on High School Accreditation Framework and Read to Achieve Program

State Board of Education staff have scheduled two public hearings to receive feedback on the High School Accreditation Framework and the NC General Assembly's Read to Achieve Program. The High School Accreditation Framework public hearing will be held Wednesday, Oct. 9, and The NC General Assembly's Read to Achieve Program public hearing will be held Tuesday, Oct. 15. Both are scheduled from 1-3 p.m., in the 7th Floor State Board Lounge, Education Building, Raleigh. To read more about these public hearings as well as how to provide comment if you cannot attend in person, please visit the Department's website at www.ncpublicschools.org and click on the appropriate link under "News."

NC Schools and You UNC-TV Program Now Available Online

A second broadcast of North Carolina Schools and You: What Changes in Our Schools Mean for Parents and Students will air on Friday, Sept. 27, at 4:30 p.m. on UNC-TV. In addition, the program, which originally aired last week, is now available online, at http://video.unctv.org/video/2365082029. As a reminder, North Carolina Schools and You is an hour-long show set in a town hall meeting format. It offers information and discussion around recent important changes in public schools and how parents can be more productively engaged in their children's success. Topics include Teaching and Learning: What Students Are Learning and How; Measuring Performance: New Assessments and Accountability Model; and Parent Engagement: How Parents Can Support Learning.

Sept. 15 - Oct. 15 Proclaimed Hispanic Heritage Month

Gov. Pat McCrory has declared Sept. 15-Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month in recognition of the positive impact that our Hispanic communities have on the social, cultural and economic development of North Carolina and the United States. Educators are encouraged to recognize the rich culture, tradition and numerous contributions made by Hispanics in our school communities.

Reading 3D Tutorials

The K-3 Literacy division has developed interactive tutorials around mClass Reading 3D. These tutorials can be used as a refresher for experienced users of the assessment system or for training purposes for teachers just beginning to understand and learn about the program. Please visit the K-3 Literacy division livebinder website at http://www.livebinders.com/play/play/850102 to access the tutorials.

Educator Effectiveness Offers Professional Development Opportunities

NCDPI's Educator Effectiveness offers a variety of online professional development opportunities to keep teachers on top of issues impacting their profession. Current offerings include Building and Sustaining Professional Development, Data Literacy in Action and Measures of Student Learning, Grades 9-12. To learn more about these opportunities, please visit https://rt3nc.org.

NC Department of Public Instruction Partners with Capitol Broadcasting on Character Matters Campaign

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, in partnership with Capitol Broadcasting (WRAL/FOX 50), on Tuesday launched a new statewide character development campaign, Character Matters, in conjunction with Constitution Day (Sept. 17). The program's goal is to promote the development of character and leadership in youth through service learning and an emphasis on positive character traits. To read more, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org and click on the appropriate link under "News."

63rd Conference on Exceptional Children Set for November

The NCDPI Exception Children Division will host its 63rd Conference on Exceptional Children, Believing is Achieving, Nov. 20-22 at the Koury Convention Center/Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons, Greensboro. Division staff invite colleagues from across the state to attend this annual collaborative event to share and learn about innovations and exciting practices to help exceptional children achieve. Conference offerings include more than 90 informative instructional sessions, the annual Teachers of Excellence reception, a poster display of innovative programs and practices, the school-based Enterprise Bazaar showcasing products being created and marketed by North Carolina public school students with disabilities, and an exhibitor/vendor area. Conference details, including registration, are available online at http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/conferences-profdev/annual-conference.

Grant/Travel/Recognition Opportunities

  • Educational Seminars, Exchanges for Teachers and Administrators. K-12 teachers and administrators have a chance to attend summer seminars in Brazil, Portugal, India and China from the ECA and the U.S. Department of State. Visit http://www.americancouncils.org/program/4a/EDSPO/ for more information. The deadline to apply is Oct. 31.
  • Teachers at Sea. NOAA gives K-12 teachers the opportunity to work alongside scientists and crew at sea. The program lasts anywhere from a week to a month aboard NOAA research or survey ships. All travel and program fees are paid. Visit http://teacheratsea.noaa.gov/index.html for more information. The deadline to apply is Oct. 31.
  • The Fulbright Commission in Argentina and the Government of the City of Buenos Aires offer two-four scholarships to U.S. elementary school teachers to teach English at elementary schools in Buenos Aires for four months (March-June 2014). Applicants who have experience teaching English as a second or foreign language and who speak Spanish are preferred. The grantee will receive round trip travel, visa fee, health insurance, and a stipend of $3,100 dollars per month. If you are interested, send your CV to Dr. Norma Gonzalez, Executive Director, Fulbright Commission, at ngonzalez@fulbright.com.ar. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1.
  • The International Reading Association will honor an outstanding mainstream, elementary classroom teacher dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of reading and writing, across the curriculum in real world contexts in grades K-6 (ages 5-12). Visit http://www.reading.org/Resources/AwardsandGrants/teachers_routman.aspx for more information. The deadline to apply is Nov. 15.
  • Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program. K-12 teachers, curriculum specialists, media specialists, gifted and talented, or special education coordinators may be eligible for a unique international professional development opportunity for three-four months through the Fulbright Program. By conducting educational research abroad, U.S. teachers gain new skills, learn new instructional methods and assessment methodologies and share best practices with international colleagues and students. Teachers also have the opportunity to expand their understanding of other cultures and international education systems that will enrich their U.S. schools and local communities with global perspectives. The application is available online at https://dafulbrightteachers.org. The deadline to apply is Dec. 15.

Search Underway for Nation's Top Youth Volunteers

Prudential Financial, in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, is sponsoring its 19th annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply for the awards if they have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service within the past 12 months. Students must complete the application, which is available online at http://spirit.prudential.com, by Nov. 5 and then submit it for certification to a middle or high school principal. Schools will then select the top recipients in early November and submit those names for state-level judging. The middle and high school recipients for each state will be named on Feb. 11. The top middle and high school candidates in each state receive $1,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C. State honorees will travel with a parent to Washington, D.C. May 3-6 for national recognition events. Ten national honorees will be named and among other things, will receive an additional $5,000 in awards.

North Carolina's top youth volunteers for 2013 were Emma Astrike-Davis of Durham (high school) and Madison Bechtel of Wake Forest (middle school). Astrike-Davis also was named one of America's Top 10 youth volunteers for 2013.