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TEACHERS' MESSAGES 2014

MESSAGES 2014 :: APRIL 11, 2014

APRIL 11, 2014 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the announcement of North Carolina's 2014 Burroughs Wellcome Teacher of the Year, James Ford, a World History teacher at Garinger High School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools).He succeeds Karyn Dickerson, an English teacher at Grimsley High School (Guilford County Schools). The Teacher of the Year announcement is always a highlight of the year because it gives us an opportunity to celebrate teachers and to recognize excellence. James is an exceptional teacher for many reasons. I am especially appreciative of the way he draws from his own experiences in a way that helps his students relate to him, respect him and learn from him. His true passion is to change lives and that is exactly what he does in his classroom, while working with colleagues and in his volunteer work in the community. I am excited that he will share this enthusiasm and his talents with teachers across the state as North Carolina's 2014 Teacher of the Year. I know that the Teacher of the Year is only one of the many excellent teachers in classrooms across our state. Thank you to each and every one of you for your dedication and work on behalf of students and learning.

Regards,
June Atkinson


In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. State Board of Education Meeting Highlights
  2. Public School Crime and Violence, Suspensions and Corporal Punishment Down; Expulsions Up in 2012-13
  3. Dropout Rate Hits Another Record Low
  4. CMS Teacher Named 2014-15 Burroughs Wellcome North Carolina Teacher of the Year Named
  5. NCDPI Requests ESEA Flexibility Extension
  6. Professional Development System Update


State Board of Education Meeting Highlights

During the Board's meeting last week on the campus of UNC-Pembroke, State Board of Education members participated in two days of planning sessions during which they finalized their Strategic Plan. This plan, which will be available online at https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/ViewMeetingOrder.aspx?S=10399&MID=1222, will guide the work of the Board and the Department of Public Instruction in the coming years. At their formal meeting on Wednesday, Board members accepted the Report to the North Carolina General Assembly on the Virtual Charter School Study. received the 2012-13 Consolidated Data Report containing data on School Crime and Violence, Suspensions and Expulsions, the Use of Corporal Punishment and the Dropout Rate (see next item for more information), and continued to discuss changes to the Course for Credit policy (GCS-M-001).


Public School Crime and Violence, Suspensions and Corporal Punishment Down; Expulsions Up in 2012-13

The 2012-13 school year saw the total number of reportable acts of school crime and violence, short- and long-term suspensions and the use of corporal punishment continue their downward trend although the number of expulsions increased according to the 2012-13 Consolidated Data Report presented to State Board of Education members last week. The total number of acts of school crime and violence was the lowest reported since 2008-09 while the number of students in North Carolina public schools was at an all-time high - 1,492,793. Other report findings:

  • The total number of reported acts of school crime and violence decreased by 4.8 percent to 10,630 from 11,161 acts in 2011-12. The rate of acts per 1,000 students also decreased by 5.6
  • Short-term suspensions (10 days or fewer) among students in all grades decreased by 4 percent.
  • Long-term suspensions (11 days or more) declined among students in all grades in 2012-13, with 1,423 reported. This is an 11.6 percent decrease from the 1,609 reported in 2011-12.
  • Expulsions were up with 37 reported as opposed to 30 in 2011-12. High school students received 28 of those expulsions
  • Corporal punishment declined by nearly 50 percent. Districts that employ corporal punishment reported 203 uses, a 49.8 percent decrease from the 404 reported in 2011-12.


Dropout Rate Hits Another Record Low

The 2012-13 school year reflected another record low for the number of students dropping out of school according to the 2012-13 Consolidated Data Report. Last school year, 2.45 percent of high school students dropped out of school, which was an 18.6 percent decrease from the previous year's record low of 3.01 percent. In addition, both the number of high school dropouts and the high school dropout rate have been cut in half over the last five years. Other report findings:

  • A total of 11,049 high school students dropped out in 2012-13 as compared to 13,488 in 2011-12 (18.1 percent decrease).
  • There were dropout count decreases in 77.4 percent (89 of 115) of school districts, which represents a 9 percent improvement from 2011-12 when 81 of 115 school districts reported dropout count decreases.
  • Attendance issues were again the reason most often cited for dropping out, accounting for 45.9 percent of all dropouts.


CMS Teacher Named 2014-15 Burroughs Wellcome North Carolina Teacher of the Year Named

Congratulations to James Ford, a World History teacher at Garinger High School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) who was recently named the 2014 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year. Ford succeeds Karyn Dickerson, an English teacher at Grimsley High School (Guilford County Schools). In receiving the honor, Ford said, "I am excited to use this stage to fulfill my life's work by doing just what I have been called to do-educate. My message to the general public is simple: It all begins with education. What we do every day may very well be the only profession every other profession is dependent upon." As Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Ford will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. Ford will receive a number of things including a one-year leased vehicle from Flow Automotive, LLC, a mobile device from Lenovo valued at approximately $1600, a one-time cash award of $7,500, the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment through the North Carolina Center for International Understanding, and a technology package valued at more than $11,000 from SMART Technologies. In addition, he will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two years and as a board member for the NC Public School Forum for one year.


NCDPI Requests ESEA Flexibility Extension

Notice is hereby given that the NCDPI will submit a request to the US Department of Education to extend North Carolina's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility so that the state can continue to implement ESEA flexibility through the end of the 2014-15 school year. As part of the extension process, North Carolina proposes to incorporate the following legislative and State Board of Education actions into its currently approved ESEA flexibility request:

  • Implement the A-F accountability model for grading schools (ยง 115C-83.11. School performance scores and grades);
  • Apply academic achievement levels and descriptors as levels one through five for state end-of-grade/end-of-course assessments;
  • Delay participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) until at least 2016-17; and
  • Implement changes in the State Report Card.

The state believes that the requested extension will provide educators and state and local leaders with continued flexibility regarding specific requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) in exchange for the state's rigorous and comprehensive plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity and improve the quality of instruction. This flexibility is intended to build on and support the significant state and local reform efforts already underway in critical areas such as transitioning to college- and career-ready standards and assessments; developing systems of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support; and evaluating and supporting teacher and principal effectiveness.

The public is invited to review and comment on the extension of ESEA flexibility being requested by April 25. Interested persons may submit their written comments to the attention of Lou Fabrizio via email at lou.fabrizio@dpi.nc.gov or by US Mail to Lou Fabrizio, director of Data, Research & Federal Policy, NCDPI, 6367 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6367.


Professional Development System Update

DPI staff are in the final stages of preparation for the official launch of the new Home Base Professional Development tool. You may have already noticed the addition of the professional development tab inside the Educator Effectiveness online tool. Many of you have taken advantage of the face-to-face overview training dates included on the Regional Education Services Alliances' partnership calendars. On April 15, the professional development catalog will go live enabling educators to sign up for available professional development modules. The catalog will continue to grow as new learning opportunities are added. Additional information about navigating the professional development system will be available on the regional wikis managed by the professional development leads. These wikis may be accessed at http://wikicentral.ncdpi.wikispaces.net. Regional wikis are located on the bottom right portion of the menu page. You also may listen to a recording from the Professional Development System Overview webinar at https://vimeo.com/87813848. Questions about the professional development system may be directed to your regional professional development leads.