MESSAGES 2013 :: OCTOBER 10, 2013

OCTOBER 10, 2013 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

Last week, the State Board of Education approved the recommended cut scores for new achievement levels on the end-of-course and end-of-grade assessments. These new levels, set with the guidance of approximately 200 classroom teachers, are more rigorous and more challenging to meet. When the local scores are released in November, we expect to see significant score drops as a result. Fellow states that have recently gone through a similar standard-setting process saw initial drops in scores followed by increases in performance. We believe that Kentucky and New York's experiences will be similar to North Carolina's. It is important to note that the 2012-13 school year is being considered a transition year; scores will not be used to grade schools or to make student placement decisions.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. State Board of Education Approves Higher Proficiency Standards
  3. National Board Certification Process to be Revamped in 2014-15
  4. Excess Professional Liability Insurance
  5. SMART goals for PDPs and School Goals
  6. Teacher Leaders: Making Connections and Staying Connected through Personal
  7. Learning Networks (PLNs)
  8. Teacher Tweet: Twitter Chats 101 - Mastering the Twittering Basics
  9. America's Legislators Back to School Program
  10. NC Schools and You UNC-TV Program Now Online
  11. Six NC Public Schools Awarded Blue Ribbons
  12. Fall Holocaust Teacher Workshops
  13. Samsung Video Contest

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

At the State Board of Education's October meeting in Cullowhee, members approved the 2012-13 academic achievement cut scores as they were presented at the September meeting. Members also approved implementation of the NC General Assembly's Read to Achieve portfolio process, and changes to policies related to the duties of school counselors, educator effectiveness and rules for the individual class size waiver process. Reports to the General Assembly regarding the Founding Principles Act, children with disabilities, mobile communication devices and public school procurement of information technology also received approval from Board members. In addition, members discussed digital learning funds and CTE credential allotments. Visit http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/minutes-actions/sbe-actions/2013 for a complete list of Board actions.

State Board of Education Approves Higher Proficiency Standards

North Carolina students now have a higher proficiency standard to meet on the state's end-of-grade and end-of-course tests. New standards were recently approved by the State Board of Education to bring expectations for student performance in line with current career and college expectations. Local school and district scores will be released on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the State Board of Education's monthly meeting in Raleigh. To read more, as well as access a chart that shows the anticipated statewide impact of the new proficiency standards, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org and click on the appropriate link under "News."

National Board Certification Process to be Revamped in 2014-15

The 2013-14 school year will be the last year for the current National Board Certification process. The new National Board Certification process starts in 2014-15. The process will be phased in over a three-year period, so anyone who starts the process in 2014-15 will not know if they have achieved National Board certification until November/December 2017. The new process will be based on four components:

  • Component One will be the assessment piece, which will be completed at an assessment center and will have no more than six open-ended questions.
  • Component Two will focus on using data to meet students' needs by setting goals for them. This will include an analysis of student work similar to previous entries.
  • Component Three will focus on classroom pedagogy and will include a video analysis.
  • Component Four will focus on the teacher as a reflective practitioner.

Components will be phased in as follows: 2014-15 - Components One and Two; 2015-16 - Component Three; and 2016-17 - Component Four. Candidates will pay only for the component(s) that they are working on at the time. The certification cost under this new process is $1,900. The state will continue to offer a loan program. Candidates will have three years to complete all components and two years to do retakes if needed.

The National Board Standards, the Five Core propositions, and the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching will not change. National Board Certification remains performance-based and peer-reviewed, with the same emphasis on content knowledge and commitment to student learning.

Beginning in 2017-18, all four components will be available for candidates at one time, and candidates can choose how many they want to complete at one time.

For more information about the new certification process, please visit www.nbpts.org/newsroom/national-board-revise-certification-process. North Carolina teachers interested in applying for National Board Certification should visit www.ncpublicschools.org/educatoreffectiveness/nationalboardcertification. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31.

Excess Professional Liability Insurance

Legislative funding has again provided for excess professional liability insurance for NCDPI and public school employees. Coverage is excess over any commercial general liability, errors and omissions, employment practices liability, and any other valid and collectible insurance resulting from a claim. In some cases, coverage may become primary. Coverage highlights include:

  • $1,000,000 Educators Professional Liability
  • $10,000 Personal Identity Coverage
  • $10,000 Accident Insurance
  • $ 2,500 Attorney Reimbursement (Employment Related Claims)

There is no enrollment process necessary to be covered. Coverage is automatically provided to employees of North Carolina public schools, North Carolina charter schools and the Department of Public Instruction in accordance with The North Carolina General Assembly's 2011-12 Appropriations Act. Details of coverage and how to file a claim are available online at www.professionalliabilitync.com. Please contact Eileen Townsend, NCDPI Insurance section chief, at eileen.townsend@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3522 with any questions.

SMART goals for PDPs and School Goals

Professional Development Plans (PDPs) offer a rich opportunity for educators to improve their practice and continued learning. Many educators wish to align their PDPs with school priorities, school improvement plans and/or student achievement data. This strategy can offer some well focused adult learning for the educator, but getting the most out of the PDP depends on the quality of the goals. Well-crafted goals offer information to help teachers identify priorities, align strategies, and make the best use of available resources. One great strategy for PDPs is to utilize SMART goals. SMART Goals are: Strategic, Measurable, Attainable, Results Oriented, Time Bound. Some helpful resources for developing SMART goals are available online at http://ncees.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/SMART+Goals. For additional support with Professional Development Planning or developing SMART goals, contact your NCDPI Regional Professional Development Consultant. The list of consultants is available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/profdev/directory.

Teacher Leaders: Making Connections and Staying Connected through Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)

Strategic leaders make connections that empower and embed personal learning networks (PLNs) within LEAs, statewide and nationally. Want to sharpen your leadership skills and achieve amazing results? Investigate how teacher leaders can develop, create and embed PLNs within their classrooms resulting in student achievement and amazing results by taking advantage of the PLN Starter Kit online at www.livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit?id=441748. Kit topics include:

  • What is a PLN, anyway?
  • Getting Started with a PLN
  • How to Become a Connected Educator: Developing an Effective PLN
  • Video: It's a Small World PLN Keynote
  • Creating a Professional Learning Network
  • Using Twitter to Expand your PLN

To learn more about this topic, visit the SI2013 wiki at http://si2013.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/Leaders+with+Leaders. Scroll down and look for "Making the Most of Your PLN." For additional help accessing these tutorials, please contact Educator Effectiveness staff member Beth Ann Williams at beth.williams@dpi.nc.gov or 919.278.8513.

Teacher Tweet: Twitter Chats 101 - Mastering the Twittering Basics

Need to boost your Tweeting skills? Want to get connected and stay connected with your fellow educators? Learn how to Tweet like a pro! NCDPI's Educator Effectiveness staff developed an empowering 60-minute mini-tutorial that will enable educators to do the following:

  • Understand how to use Twitter to network with educators
  • Create a Twitter account
  • Decipher Tweets
  • Participate in a Twitter chat
  • Build your PLN with #NCed Chat
  • Identify and explore a variety of Twitter resources

This tutorial is embedded within the NCDPI wikispace. You do not need to join wiki to access the tutorial. To access this tutorial visit http://classroom21.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/Twitter+Chats+101#tchat1. It's that simple. Start Tweeting today! If you need additional help accessing these tutorials, please contact Beth Ann Williams, at beth.williams@dpi.nc.gov or 919.278.8513.

America's Legislators Back to School Program

America's Legislators Back to School Program, sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures, kicked off Sept. 16 and will run throughout the school year. Educators are encouraged to extend invitations to their local representatives to visit and talk with students about the legislative process and what it's like to be a state legislator: the processes, the pressures, and the debate - the negotiation and compromise that are the fabric of representative democracy. Classroom discussions are being encouraged over school-wide assemblies. North Carolina has actively participated in the America's Legislators Back to School program since its inception in 1999.

Sign Up Now for ELA Listserv

NCDPI's English Language Arts section is holding a fall listserv drive. By being a member of this e-mail group, English/language arts teachers will be among the first to receive information on upcoming webinars, helpful resources, and the ELA newsletter, The SCOOP. Sign up today at http://elaccss.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/listjoin.

NC Schools and You UNC-TV Program Now Online

North Carolina Schools and You: What Changes in Our Schools Mean for Parents and Students, which originally aired on Sept. 19 on UNC-TV, is now online at http://video.unctv.org/video/2365082029 in case you missed it. As a reminder, North Carolina Schools and You is an hour-long show that offers information and discussion around recent important changes in public schools and how parents could 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.

Six NC Public Schools Awarded Blue Ribbons

Congratulations to the following six North Carolina public schools for recently being named 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: Greene Early College High (Greene County Schools), The Middle College at NC A&T (Guilford County Schools), Providence Spring Elementary (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools), Rutherford Early College High (Rutherford County Schools), Shiloh Elementary and Weddington Middle (Union County Schools). These schools are among 236 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. Schools selected for this prestigious award model excellence in leadership, teaching, curriculum, student achievement and parental involvement.

Fall Holocaust Teacher Workshops

These one-day, multi-county workshops are for middle and high school social studies and English/Language Arts public school teachers. Workshops presenters may include Dr. Karl Schleunes (UNC-G historian and Holocaust scholar) or Dr. Thomas Kaplan (Davidson College), and one of the following Holocaust survivors: Hank Brodt, a Holocaust survivor who recounts his experiences in six concentration camps; Morris Glass, a survivor of Nazi ghettoes and camps including Auschwitz and Dachau; Manfred Katz, a slave laborer in two concentration camps; or Zohara Boyd, a survivor who "hid in plain sight" during the Holocaust. Participants receive a copy of The Holocaust: a North Carolina Teacher's Resource, a guide for teaching about the Holocaust at middle and high school levels. There is no cost to attend the workshop and substitute pay is provided for all teachers attending. Space is limited so prompt registration is encouraged. Workshop dates and locations are as follows: Oct. 21, Salisbury (Rowan County); Oct. 24, Roxboro (Person County); Nov. 19, Boone (Watauga County); and Dec. 4, Winston-Salem (Forsyth County). For additional information, including registration, please e-mail Linda Scher at Brisket234@aol.com.

Samsung Video Contest

Samsung is sponsoring a video contest, Samsung Solve for Tomorrow, for middle and high schools that will award over $2 million in technology, plus other additional prizes. Prizes will be awarded at each stage of the competition, from the 255 state finalists to the five national winners. Entrants must answer a few, simple questions about their school and STEM education at www.samsung.com/solve. One school per state will win a technology kit to produce a video addressing the challenge, "Show how STEM can be applied to help improve your local community." National winners will receive $140,000 in technology and prizes, and a trip to Washington, D.C., for a celebratory event. Full contest rules are available online at www.samsung.com/solve. Oct. 31 is the deadline to participate.