MESSAGES 2014 :: FEBRUARY 27, 2014

FEBRUARY 27, 2014 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

Recently, staff at the Friday Institute presented some research and evaluation findings based on the Race to the Top activities of the North Carolina schools and the Department of Public Instruction. One of the most interesting facts I learned during the presentation was that only 51 percent of the teachers teaching in North Carolina now were teaching in the same school in the 2009-10 school year. For principals, only 31 percent of them were principals in the same school four years ago. For our state overall, this presents a challenge. Professional development, proper induction of new staff and other orientation activities to make sure that teachers and principals are ready for success are essential for our state to support. Of course, that’s just one part of what it takes to have strong schools in North Carolina. We know that teacher pay, respect and positive working conditions are key too. Please note the item in today’s newsletter that highlights this year’s Teacher Working Conditions Survey to ensure that your voice is heard in that important way.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. Severe Weather Awareness Week March 2-8
  2. 2014 NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey
  3. March IIS Webinar Focuses on Data Analysis
  4. #NCed Chat l Spring Topics
  5. Support Materials for the World Language Essential Standards
  6. Virtual Professional Learning Network: #WLCHATNC
  7. Join Early Learning Listserv
  8. Cherokee County Schools’ Teacher Named Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow
  9. NC Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Nomination Deadline Approaching
  10. LEARN NC Professional Development Learning Opportunities
  11. Student Science Enrichment Program Grant

Severe Weather Awareness Week March 2-8

Severe Weather Awareness Week is scheduled for March 2-8. The statewide tornado drill will take place on Wednesday, March 5, at 9:30 a.m. Most NOAA weather radios will NOT sound an audible alert to mark the beginning of the drill. As such, schools are encouraged to self-initiate their tornado drills at 9:30 a.m. as if an alert had been broadcast. The drill will conclude when participants complete their drill activities. No all-clear message will be issued. If this time is not convenient for your school’s instructional program, principals may reschedule the tornado drill on another day close to March 5.

2014 NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey

The 2014 NC Teacher Working Conditions (NC TWC) Survey will be administered March 10-April 4. The NC TWC Survey is an anonymous statewide survey of licensed school-based educators that assesses teaching conditions at the school, district and state levels. All school-based, licensed educators and instructional staff, including administrators are encouraged to take the survey. As in previous years, survey materials will be mailed to each school via USPS to arrive the week of March 3. The packages will be addressed to the NCAE representative in each building or the principal. Teachers needing anonymous access codes may contact the help desk during the survey window. The help desk will be operational beginning March 10 from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. A real-time response rate tracker is available on the TWC website at www.ncteachingconditions.org. Survey results are one component of an ongoing process for collaborative school improvement planning. For more information, please contact Yvette Stewart at yvette.stewart@dpi.nc.gov.

March IIS Webinar Focuses on Data Analysis

The next IIS webinar for teachers will be held Thursday, March 13, and will focus on Data Analysis. To register for this webinar, please visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/163326432. If you have additional questions, please contact LaVerne Weldon at laverne.weldon@dpi.nc.gov.

#NCed Chat March Topics

Engage with state, national and international educators on the following #NCED Chat March topics: Flipped Classroom Learning, Best Practices for 1:1, Digital Footprint and Mentoring. Check out the blog and archived conversations online at http://ncedchat.blogspot.com. You also can download the app by visiting myapp.is/NCed on your mobile device. Join this Professional Learning Network (PLN) today!

Support Materials for the World Language Essential Standards

The World Languages Collaborative Team is in the process of crafting additional tools for teachers and administrators to use as they implement the World Language Essential Standards. Recently, a set of proficiency outcome posters were posted to the World Language wiki at http://wlnces.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/Proficiency+Posters, which can be used in classrooms or in communication with stakeholders to illustrate what students will be able to do with the language being learned once they complete a course. This spring, a set of Administrator Briefings is being drafted, which will include a short overview of a World Language program paired with an observation form aligned to the NCEES standards. For more information, please contact Ann Marie Gunter at ann.gunter@dpi.nc.gov.

Virtual Professional Learning Network: #WLCHATNC

The World Languages Collaborative Team is building a network for sharing information and resources about policies, the World Language Essential Standards, the Analysis of Student Work process for Standard 6, and general feedback from World Language colleagues across the state. A monthly Twitter chat is scheduled for the first Monday of each month from 7-8 p.m. using the hashtag #WLchatNC. Please visit http://wlnces.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/WLchatNC for more information, including a five-minute video on how to join the conversation, a schedule of topics, and links to the archives. For more information, please contact Ann Marie Gunter at ann.gunter@dpi.nc.gov.

Join Early Learning Listserv

Would you like more information on early learning (PreK-grade 3) issues including professional development opportunities? Then you may want to consider joining the Office of Early Learning e-mail group. Just send an e-mail to the Office of Early Learning PreK-Grade 3 Listserv by cutting and pasting join-office_of_early_learning_pre-k-grade-3@lists.dpi.state.nc.us into your "To" box within your e-mail application. Be sure and leave the subject line and the body of the message blank. You will receive a confirmation e-mail once you have successfully subscribed.

Cherokee County Schools’ Teacher Named Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow

Congratulations to Tri-County Early College High School math and science teacher Ben Owens for recently being selected as a Hope Street Group 2014 National Teacher Fellow. Ben is only one of 13 educators nationwide to be invited to participate in this fellowship program. The program provides educators with rigorous training, an opportunity to network with teachers across the country, and the ability to participate in national conversations on how to elevate the teaching profession. For more information on the Hope Street Group, please visit www.hopestreetgroup.org.

NC Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Nomination Deadline Approaching

As a reminder, April 1 is the nomination deadline for the 2014 Awards Cycle for elementary teachers (grades K-6) for the North Carolina Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teaching. One mathematics teacher and one science teacher will be selected. Each will receive a $10,000 award and a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Awards Recognition Program. Nomination details are available online at www.paemst.org.

LEARN NC Professional Development Opportunities

LEARN NC still has seats available in its spring online professional development courses. Whether you are interested in picking up credit hours in the Common Core, technology, literacy, ESL, or American history, there is something for you. Educators completing LEARN NC courses will receive 20-30 seat hours for renewal credit. Visit www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/7698 for course opportunities and check back often to see new additions to the course schedule.

"Paintings as Windows to the Past" - In an age of high stakes testing, driven by a pedagogy resting on a "facts-based" approach to learning, history teachers are sometimes hard-pressed to engage students and challenge them to use higher level thinking skills. Through an interdisciplinary approach to learning, however, teachers can address the content of the curriculum and challenge students to develop interpretive skills and think critically. Through this methodology, students can begin to "do" history. The "Paintings as Windows to the Past" online professional development course will explore proven strategies to bring the fine arts into the history classroom. Paintings will become the primary sources through which students explore the past. Instructors will explore ways to inject additional primary documents into the lesson so that students can build strong, evidence-based interpretations of works of art. This seven-week course runs from April 9-May 28. For more information, including registration, please visit http://tinyurl.com/m84ced3.

Student Science Enrichment Program Grants

Burroughs Wellcome Fund is offering grants to support creative, hands-on science and mathematics education activities. Awards provide up to $180,000 over three years to improve primary and secondary students’ competence in science, nurture their enthusiasm for science, and interest them in pursuing careers in research or other science-related areas. Programs must take place outside of standard school time. The application deadline is April 10. For more information, please visit bwfund.org.