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TEACHERS' MESSAGES 2014

MESSAGES 2014 :: MARCH 13, 2014

MARCH 13, 2014 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

Later this month, watch for the launch of the Governor's Teacher Network project. North Carolina teachers will be invited to apply to serve for one year as content experts for North Carolina's Race to the Top initiative.

In April, approximately 450 teachers from across the state will be selected based on a rigorous application process that includes project proposals. Application details will be sent to you as soon as possible. Beginning this summer, these teachers will serve for one year developing projects that support key RttT initiatives (professional development and digital instructional resources for Home Base) in their schools and districts. Network teachers will remain in their current roles, but also will design and deliver individual projects that address needs at the classroom, school or district level. Each teacher selected to be a network member will receive $10,000 for this additional work.

Regards,
June Atkinson


In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Weeks Named Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer
  3. State Comprehensive Reading Plan and Reading Interventions/Strategies Attached
  4. Comment Now on the NC Application for Grant Award Under Part B of the IDEA as Amended in 2004 for Federal Fiscal Year 2014
  5. New Home Base Professional Development System
  6. State Superintendent Launches 2nd Annual Give Five - Read Five Campaign
  7. Topliff Named 2014 NCVPS Teacher of the Year


State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

Among the items last week approved by State Board of Education members of interest to teachers were academic achievement levels and descriptors (moved from four to five achievement levels), waiver of the clock hour requirement for course credit for the 2013-14 school year (primarily impacts high schools on the block schedule) and the 2014 invitation to submit textbooks for evaluation and adoption in North Carolina for mathematics. Members also heard presentations on the state's progress toward implementing the Race to the Top initiative and the Healthy Active Children Policy Report for 2014. A summary of Board actions is posted online at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/minutes-actions/sbe-actions/2014-actions.


Weeks Named Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer

Former North Carolina Virtual Public School Executive Director Tracy Weeks was named NCDPI's Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer at last week's State Board of Education meeting. Weeks is a former high school math teacher, instructional technology specialist and adjunct assistant professor at the university level. She has strong experience in collaborating with teachers on integrating technology and online learning into their classes; leading teams in developing and implementing online curricula; and managing and organizing the business, financial and instructional aspects of the NCVPS. She has a bachelor's degree in secondary mathematics education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master's degree in instructional technology and a doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction from North Carolina State University. In her new role, she will lead the department's Curriculum and Instruction, Career and Technical Education, Digital Teaching and Learning, and Exceptional Children divisions, NCVPS and Home Base support and development.


State Comprehensive Reading Plan and Reading Interventions/Strategies

One component of the Read to Achieve legislation was the development of a state Comprehensive Reading Plan (www.livebinders.com/media/get/NjAxNTEONg==). This plan was completed last September with input from parents, teachers, principals, curriculum coordinators, literacy experts and representatives from higher education across North Carolina. Throughout the document there is reference to a listing of research-based interventions and strategies. This listing of reading strategies that are separated by the National Reading Panel's five pillars of reading instruction is attached. For more information, contact Carolyn Guthrie at Caroly.Guthrie@dpi.nc.gov.


Comment Now on the NC Application for Grant Award Under Part B of the IDEA as Amended in 2004 for Federal Fiscal Year 2014

The NCDPI is making available its annual state application for receiving grant award under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as amended in 2004. The proposed application will be available for public review until May 7. Comments will be accepted March 24-April 24. A copy of the state application is available on the NCDPI website at http://ncpublicschools.org/publicnotices and http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov under Hot Topics. Also, each local school district will receive a copy of the state application for public review. Interested citizens may submit comments via email to IDEAGrant2014@dpi.nc.gov or by U.S. mail to: NCDPI, Exceptional Children Division, ATTN: Valerie Herndon/Ira Wolfe, 6356 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6356.


New Home Base Professional Development System

The new Home Base Professional Development System will be live for all district/charter educators to enroll in state-provided courses beginning April 1. All of our NC Education online modules, including facilitator-led sessions, are included in this system. Our NCDPI module developers are currently creating additional modules based upon district request for release this summer and fall.

This spring, we will pilot the opt-in functionality of the system with a small group of districts. District and charters that opt-in to Home Base will benefit from additional local course/catalog creation and enrollment management functionality beginning in the fall. This is a great opportunity to use one portal for state and local educator professional development transcripts.

To learn more about this exciting new component and available options, please view the archived webinar held Thursday, Feb. 27, at https://vimeo.com/87813848. In addition, regional face-to-face sessions will be held in all eight regions starting March 20. Please see the NCDPI/RESA partnership schedule online at www.ncpublicschoools.org/profdev/calendar for more information. Human resource and professional development directors, and professional development coordinators and leaders, are especially encouraged to attend.

For more information, please contact Lynne Johnson at lynne.johnson@dpi.nc.gov or Robert Sox at Robert.sox@dpi.nc.gov.


State Superintendent Launches 2nd Annual Give Five

Read Five Campaign - In 2013, 74 elementary schools collected more than 123,000 books to send home with students at the end of the school year thanks to the Give Five - Read Five campaign. This year, State Superintendent June Atkinson is starting the campaign earlier to enable even more schools, districts, businesses and community organizations to collect books and promote summer reading. Atkinson launched the campaign at the March State Board of Education meeting in Raleigh. She was joined by a group of high school students who have been working over the past few months to plan and implement their own Give Five - Read Five book drive to benefit eight elementary schools in Garner. To read more, visit www.ncpublicschools.org and select the appropriate link under "News."


Topliff Named 2014 NCVPS Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) Occupational Course of Study teacher Maria Topliff who was named the 2014 NCVPS Teacher of the Year. Prior to joining the NCVPS where she teaches OCS Blended English 2 and is one of the instructional leaders for American History, Topliff taught for six years in the Onslow County School System. She said her top priority is making a difference in the lives of her students. "I believe that teachers have far more influence in our students' lives than we can imagine." She will now represent North Carolina in the National Online Teacher of the Year competition. The previous three state winners were finalists for the National Online Teacher of the Year Award; and NCVPS's Leslie Fetzer was the 2012 national recipient.