DPI Teachers Message for 6/14/07

From DPI:

TO:        NC Public School Teachers
FROM:  State Superintendent June Atkinson
DATE:   June 14, 2007

     After many months of discussion, a number of public meetings, review of
hundreds of email messages and conversations by phone with educators,
parents and community leaders from across the state, the State Board of
Education last week approved the Future-Ready Core Course of Study for high
school students. The Future-Ready Core will help ensure that our high school
students graduate with the academic foundation they need to be successful
life-long learners, workers and citizens. The new core, with six electives
(two of which are designated), allows students the opportunity to design a
concentration reflective of their interests beyond high school. Students
need to begin thinking about their long-term goals and dreams early on and
we all need to be prepared to support them.
                           Regards,
                           June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers’ Message:
1. State Board Meeting Highlights
2.  Future-Ready Core Approved; Preliminary Writing Results Released
3.  Blue Ribbon Commission on Testing and Accountability Meets
4.  Learn & Earn Online Expected to Provide College Credits this Fall
5. NCDPI Middle and High School Writing Institute: Writing on Demand
6.  Write On! Best Practices Conference to be Held in August
7.  Math and Science Presidential Awards’ Recipients Named
8.  Four North Carolina Schools Receive Technology Grants
9.  School Districts Recognized for Providing ‘What Parents Want’
10.  Education Mini-Grants Awarded

1.  State Board Meeting Highlights – At last week’s State Board meeting,
members approved the Future-Ready Core Course of Study for high school
students, proposed standards for the Standard Course of Study in American
Sign Language Secondary Level, and revisions to Praxis II testing
requirements for Exceptional Children’s teachers. Complete highlights of the
State Board meeting will be available online next week at
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/sbehighlights by clicking on the appropriate
link.

2.  Future-Ready Core Approved; Preliminary Writing Results Released – The
following press releases are available online at
http://www.ncpublicschools.org under ‘News.’
     New High School Graduation Requirements Approved – After many months of
discussion, the North Carolina State Board of Education yesterday approved a
Future-Ready Core Course of Study that will prepare all students for careers
and college learning in the 21st century. Board members unanimously approved
the new high school graduation requirements, effective with the ninth grade
class of 2009-10.
     Student Writing Scores Improve in 2006-07 – More fourth and seventh
grade students scored proficient in writing in 2006-07 when compared to
student scores from last year, according to the ‘Preliminary Report of
Student Performance on the North Carolina General Assessment at grades 4, 7
and 10.’ Results showed that 52.7 percent for fourth grade students scored
proficient on the assessment, an almost 3 percentage point increase from
2005-06. Seventh grade results also improved this year, with 50.8 percent of
students scoring proficient. Tenth graders showed a small decrease in their
scores in 2006-07. A total of 51.4 percent of students were proficient in
writing at 10th grade, down from 53.2 percent in 2005-06.

3.  Blue Ribbon Commission on Testing and Accountability Meets ­ The Blue
Ribbon Commission on Testing and Accountability has met twice to discuss the
state’s testing and accountability programs. Discussion by commission
members has been robust and frank, as they’ve identified a number of the
concerns many educators have regarding tests and accountability models. Sam
Houston, chief executive officer and president of the Science, Math and
Technology Center, is chairing this group. In addition to some time for open
discussion, the meeting’s agenda provided time for an overview of North
Carolina’s current testing and accountability program, its purposes and
history; a regional overview of testing and accountability by Joan Lord,
interim Senior Director of Education Policies at the Southern Regional
Education Board; and a presentation of high school accountability model
research by Michael Cohen, president of Achieve. The group is on a fast
track, with recommendations expected to go to the State Board of Education
in September. Summaries of these meetings, particularly as recommendations
begin to take shape, will be shared with you in future messages.

4.  Learn & Earn Online Expected to Provide College Credits this Fall – A
team of NCDPI staff has been working with colleagues from the University
system (UNC-G) and the Community Colleges system to develop Learn and Earn
Online, a new program to begin this fall that will provide college courses
and credit to high school students at no cost to the students or their
families. A new Web site –
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/learnandearnonline/ – has been built to
provide information on the program.

5. NCDPI Middle and High School Writing Institute: Writing on Demand –
NCDPI, in collaboration with the National Council of Teachers of English
(NCTE), will offer two writing professional development sessions this
summer, with online follow-up throughout the year through the NCTE Pathways
to Adolescent Literacy initiative. The workshops will be held from 8
a.m.-4:30 p.m. on July 16-17 at the Crowne Plaza Charlotte, Charlotte, and
July 19-20 at the Holiday Inn Crabtree Valley, Raleigh. During the workshop,
teachers will learn strategies for following what they know to be best
practices in teaching writing while still helping students prepare for
writing tests. These strategies, designed to address specific features of
writing on demand, can be incorporated into an existing curriculum. They
adhere to the principle that test preparation and good writing instruction
are not incompatible. After the workshop, teachers will further their
learning with colleagues and workshop presenters through online professional
development in Pathways. For more information, including registration,
please visit
http://community.learnnc.org/dpi/ela/archives/2007/06/ncdpi_middle_an.php or
call Teresa Parker, NCDPI, 919/807-3837, or by email,
tparker@dpi.state.nc.us.

6.  Write On! Best Practices Conference to be Held in August – Registration
is now open for ‘Write On! Inspiring Our Students to Write Through the Arts
and Experiential Learning,’ a K-8 Best Practices Conference sponsored by the
A+ Schools Program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG).
The Conference, which is open to teachers, administrators and teaching
artists across the state, will be held Thursday and Friday, Aug. 2 -3, at
UNCG. Conference strands include The Writing Process, Writing as ‘Art,’ and
Writing Across the Curriculum. There is a registration fee. For more
information, please call 336/217-5117 or email aplus@uncg.edu. To register,
please go online to
http://www.ssltransaction.net/a_plus/2007.

7.  Math and Science Presidential Awards’ Recipients Named – Congratulations
to North Carolina’s 2006 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics
and Science Teaching recipients Elizabeth Thurlow, a mathematics teacher at
Haw Creek Elementary (Buncombe County Schools) and Cheryl Collazo, a science
teacher at Stoney Point Elementary (Cumberland County Schools). The
President Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is a
national awards’ program administered for the White House by the National
Science Foundation. Each year the program recognizes outstanding mathematics
and science teachers from across the United States and four U.S.
jurisdictions for their contributions in the classroom and to their
profession. In addition to honoring individual achievement, the goal of the
awards is to expand and exemplify the definition of excellent science and
mathematics teaching.

8.  Four North Carolina Schools Receive Technology Grants – Congratulations
to East Forsyth High (Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools), Fairmont Middle
(Public Schools of Robeson), River Road Middle (Elizabeth City/Pasquotank
Schools) and Williston Middle (New Hanover County Schools) for their recent
receipt of grants funds from the 2007 Hewlitt Packard Technology for
Teaching Grant Program. The grants, part of the 2007 HP Technology for
Teaching grant program, are designed to improve student achievement through
the innovative uses of technology in the classroom while encouraging student
interest in careers in technology, engineering, math and science. For more
information on this grant program, please go online to
http://www.hp.com/go/hpteach.

9.  School Districts Recognized for Providing ‘What Parents Want’ –
SchoolMatch recently recognized the following 21 North Carolina school
districts with its 2007 Sixteenth Annual award for consistently providing
‘What Parents Want’ in public education: Ashville City, Buncombe, Carteret,
Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Chatham, Durham, Elkin City,
Forsyth, Guilford, Henderson, Hickory City, Jackson, Moore, New Hanover,
Orange, Pitt, Polk, Transylvania, Wake and Watauga. SchoolMatch is an
independent, nationwide service that helps corporate families find schools
that match the needs of their children. Only 16 percent (2,516) of the
nation’s 15,571 public school districts were recognized for meeting the news
of families choosing schools. Additional information regarding this award
can be found online at
http://schoolmatch.com/ppsi/wpwlist.cfm.

10.  Education Mini Grants Awarded – Congratulations to the following
schools/school system for their recent receipt of Education Mini Grants from
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center: Atkins School of Biotechnology
(Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools), Carrboro High (Chapel Hill-Carrboro
Schools), Dillard Middle (Wayne County Schools), Lincoln County Schools,
North Stokes High (Stokes County Schools), School of Inquiry and Life
Sciences (Asheville City Schools), South Granville School of Health and Life
Sciences (Granville County Schools), and Terry Sanford High (Cumberland
County Schools). The grants will be used to support biotechnology education
and may be applied toward purchasing biotechnology-related equipment,
supplies and teaching materials in addition to developing new courses or
programs and to enhance existing ones. The Education Mini-Grant Program is
one of several Biotechnology Center programs and activities intended to
inform the public and prepare a trained work force to support the state’s
growing biotechnology industry.
****************************************

E.C. 🙂

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