State Superintendent Highlights Curriculum Changes

A message from June Atkinson, State Superintendent, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

In our workplaces and in technology, we all adapt to change on a regular basis. In education, this means that we are constantly looking ahead to make sure that what we teach and how we teach are aligned to help students prepare and thrive.

In your children’s schools this year, teachers and principals have been making some big changes to help us make sure we are preparing students with the skills they will need when they graduate. That’s why our curriculum is different this year.

The new Common Core state standards and revised Essential Standards provide more in-depth learning and set new expectations for achievement. At the end of the school year or end of semester, students are taking new tests that match up to the new curriculum. And, next fall, a new school accountability model will be in place to give you up-to-date information about how your child’s school is doing.

All of these changes are supported by North Carolina’s federal Race to the Top grant. Our goal is to remodel the way we educate our students and ensure that students are better prepared for college and the workplace. This is the essence of what we do.

How are these resources helping?
Thanks to these funds, North Carolina provided deep-level professional development for more than 2,800 teachers and leaders across the state during the last two summers, and we will do it again this summer. This professional development followed a train-the-trainer model, so it will continue across districts and schools as principals and teacher-leaders craft meaningful professional development for their colleagues.

Technology also plays a key role in our remodeling efforts.
Imagine a technology tool that will allow teachers, parents and students to collaborate and have at their fingertips the tools they need.  Home Base will make this possible. Home Base will include a new student information system – PowerSchool – to handle tasks such as scheduling, grades, transcripts and more. PowerSchool replaces the current NC WISE and will be in place by start of school in 2013. Also, an instructional improvement system is being developed to provide teachers with curriculum tools, lesson plans, assessment items, instructional resources and more. These materials will be evaluated beforehand so teachers will know they align with the curriculum in North Carolina.  The instructional improvement side will be in place by the fall of 2014. Together, PowerSchool and the instructional improvement system comprise Home Base.

Home Base will organize information to help teachers and parents pinpoint where students need help the most. Our goal is customized teaching and learning for students.

Please visit the READY website, www.ncpublicschools.org/READY for more information and resources around our remodeling efforts.  For specific information about Home Base, please visit www.ncpublicschools.org/homebase.