MESSAGES 2013 :: NOVEMBER 15, 2013

NOVEMBER 15, 2013 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

More than 71 percent of North Carolina schools posted expected or high growth in 2012-13 - despite the inevitable bumps in the road associated with implementing a new Standard Course of Study in all subjects and grades. Thank you for your diligence in putting new content standards in place. North Carolina has never overhauled its entire Standard Course of Study all at once before. Although I know that all of us wish our proficiency rates were higher, I remain confident that rates in North Carolina will go up in future years. Kentucky and New York - who experienced this process recently - showed gains in proficiency after the first year under higher standards. Virginia, another state that has moved to career- and college-readiness standards, also saw a dip in October, the first time it reported on its new standards.

In my remarks to news media on Thursday, I noted that teachers and students had worked very hard in the 2012-13 school year and that the growth percentages reflect this.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. NC Fourth and Eighth Grade NAEP Scores Hold Steady in 2013
  3. Professional Development Calendar
  4. Why NC Teachers Should Seek National Board Certification
  5. November is American Indian Heritage Month
  6. American Education Week 2013
  7. NC PAEMST Finalists Named
  8. 2014 Arbor Day Photo Contest
  9. Martin Luther King Jr. Art Contest
  10. Biweekly Message Breaks for Thanksgiving Holiday

State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

At last week's State Board of Education meeting, members approved the 2012-13 READY Accountability/AMO Report, the 2013 Career and Technical Education Textbook Adoption and Textbook Commission Report and digital learning funds. Among the Board's discussion items were credit by demonstrated mastery, model teacher contract, and grading scale and course weighting changes. Members also heard a presentation on Teacher-Level Value-Added Analysis for the 2012-13 school year and approved a resolution on compensation for public school educators. Visit http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/minutes-actions/sbe-actions/2013 for a complete list of Board actions.

NC Fourth and Eighth Grade NAEP Scores Hold Steady in 2013

North Carolina fourth and eighth grade students' performance on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) held steady according to The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). The NCES found that North Carolina students are continuing to perform at or above the national average on NAEP's mathematics and reading assessments. To read more, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org and click on the appropriate link under "News."

Professional Development Calendar

The NCDPI's Professional Development Initiative (PDI) builds on strong regional and statewide professional development programs and resources to provide a comprehensive, targeted system for all educators. In partnership with the Regional Education Service Alliances (RESAs), the NCDPI is hosting professional development sessions in each of the eight regions of the state. Please visit the online calendar at www.ncpublicschools.org/profdev/calendar for events in your region. For more information, please contact Yvette Stewart at Yvette.steward@dpi.nc.gov.

Why NC Teachers Should Seek National Board Certification

NC is very proud of leading the nation in National Board certified teachers. Among the benefits, National Board Certification offers higher salary potential, strengthens teaching practice and impacts student instruction. Some of the highlights of North Carolina's program include

  • Over 20,000 North Carolina teachers are National Board certified
  • 17 percent of all North Carolina teachers are National Board certified
  • National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) embody teaching excellence
  • NBCTs are leaders in our schools and our districts - grade level chairs, PLC leaders, mentors, School Improvement Team Leaders, PTA reps, curriculum leaders
  • Commitment to the National Board process parallels commitment to students
  • NBCTs model effective teaching practices
  • National Board Certification is a reflective process for growth

Due to the new National Board process, submitting during the 2013-14 cycle is the last opportunity to become National Board certified until November 2017. The next cycle will take three years to complete. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31. For more information, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org/educatoreffectiveness/nationalboardcertification. Questions may be directed to Sonja Brown at sonja.brown@dpi.nc.gov.

November is American Indian Heritage Month

Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed November as American Indian Heritage Month in celebration of the rich heritage and myriad contributions of American Indians. Educators are encouraged to commemorate this month with appropriate programs honoring the state's rich American Indian population.

American Education Week 2013

The National Education Association has designated Nov. 18-22 as American Education Week in recognition of the fact that public schools are the "backbone of our democracy, providing young people with the tools they need to maintain our nation's precious values of freedom, civility and equality."

NC PAEMST Finalists Named

Congratulations to the following 7-12 grades mathematics and science teachers for recently being named North Carolina's 2013 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching finalists: 7-12 Mathematics: Brian Frees, Hendersonville Middle (Henderson County Schools), Julie Riggins, East Forsyth High (Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools), and Katie Salter, West Carteret High (Carteret County Schools); 7-12 Science: Jeffrey Milbourne, NC School of Science and Mathematics (Durham), and Mark Townley, Holly Springs High (Wake County Schools). The PAEMST are the nation's highest honor for mathematics and science teachers. The national award is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation and allows outstanding mathematics and science teachers to be recognized for their subject area content knowledge and their ability to motivate students.

2014 Arbor Day Photo Contest

The North Carolina Forest Service's Urban & Community Forestry Program is again sponsoring its annual Arbor Day Photo Contest. The contest is open to all students in the 5th through 12th grades. Students are encouraged to submit photographs of trees in or around urban areas, depicting this year's contest theme, "Young and Old." The contest is designed to engage students' critical thinking skills by having them submit a photographer's statement discussing the contest theme and their interpretation of how their photo relates to the contest theme. The deadline for entries is Feb. 28. Prizes will be awarded for the top three photos. For more information on the contest, and to download an entry form, please visit www.ncforestservice.gov/Urban/arbor_day_photo_contest.htm. Questions may be directed to Jennifer Rall at jennifer.rall@ncagr.gov or 919.857.4849.

Martin Luther King Jr. Art Contest

The Governor's Office and the North Carolina MLK Commission are sponsoring an art contest for all K-12 students. Students are invited to submit drawings conveying the theme "content of character" for use in the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and State Employee Celebration. The winning drawing will be used as the cover for the event's brochure. Submissions will be accepted through Dec. 2. Details are available online at http://governor.nc.gov/sites/default/files/StateEmployees2014MLKArt.pdf.

Biweekly Message Breaks for Thanksgiving Holiday

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no Biweekly Teachers' Message sent Thursday, Nov. 28. Interim messages will be sent if appropriate. NCDPI staff wish you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!