All the State Board of Education Committees met on Wednesday, May 6, Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee (7:30 AM), Globally Competitive Students (8:45 AM) including the State Board of Career and Technical Education, 21st Century Professionals Committee (1:15 PM), and the Leadership for Innovation Committee (1:15 PM). In addition, the State Board of Education Meeting will begin at 2:45 PM on Wednesday. There was no meeting scheduled for Thursday.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 (7:30 AM) Board Room
Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee Meeting
Action and Discussion Agenda
Action on First Reading
- TCS 1 Approval of Grant
-2009-2010 Reading First Funding Approved the allotments and the educational grants. North Carolina received $12,218,578 for the final year of the Reading First grant. This is a 62 percent reduction in funds from previous years. Permission is also requested to continue funding for three full-time reading coaches for three schools that were low-performing schools in 2007-2008. Wake County does not receive funds from this grant.
-Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Awarded to NCDPI from USDA Approved distribution of funds to 62 schools selected to participate in the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable program for the 2009-2010 school year. The USDA will provide $1,772,871.91 to NCDPI’s Child Nutrition Services Section for the schools participating in the program that is intended to promote healthier food choices among children throughout the school day, and to promote health snacks in lieu of less healthy snack choices. No list of the schools was provided.
Committee Meeting: A brief overview was presented to the committee for each of the grants. Members inquired as to the formula used for the distribution of funds.
- TCS 3 Temporary Policy for Flexible Furlough Leave Approved the Temporary Policy for Flexible Furlough Leave. Governor Perdue signed an Executive Order on April 28, 2009 for the implementation of the salary reduction for full-time public school employees who will receive ten hours of flexible furlough leave to be taken between May 1 and December 31 in return for the 0.5 percent reduction in salary. Non-full-time employees will receive a proportional number of flexible furlough leave hours based on their employment term. Use of Flexible Furlough Leave policy states: 1) Employees using flexible furlough leave shall coordinate the leave times with their immediate supervisor or principal, 2) Flexible furlough leave can be taken in any increment, 3) Classroom teachers, media specialists, and teacher assistants who require substitutes and bus drivers may not use flexible furlough leave at any time that students are scheduled to be in attendance (an instructional day). Employees who do not require substitutes may, use flexible furlough leave on any day school is in session, 4) Employees may use flexible furlough leave between May 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009 and 5) Flexible furlough leave cannot be paid out when separating from service for any reason.
Committee Meeting: Mr. Price explained the policy and members had questions regarding salaries paid from local, federal and grant sources. All funds coming through State funds are affected, local monies are exempt. A website is being developed by DPI to answer questions regarding the furloughs and salary reduction and to assist LEAs with their questions. The website should be active by May 8.
- TCS 4 Emergency Flexibility for Transfers within the State Public School Fund Approved the authorization for LEAs to have the flexibility to adjust all State allotment categories (Except Driver Education) to offset the mandated reduction to the LEAs Non-Instructional Support allotment. The Governor has increased the required reversion for public school from $159 million to $200 million. This reduction for Wake County from the Non-Instructional Support allotment is $3,872,485/or $27.75 per ADM. The Board authorized emergency funding flexibility to allow LEAs to move funds from other allotted categories in the State Public School Fund to Non-Instructional Support. This flexibility will allow each LEA to identify the specific allotment categories for which they have determined a reduction could be managed.
Committee Meeting: Mr. Price explained the necessity for this action. There was little discussion as all were in agreement and supported this action. Mr. Price continued to paint the bleak budget outlook for the 2009-2010 as government and business forecasters feel that full recovery from this shortfall will last for another five years. The projected shortfall for 2009-2010 is estimated to be approximately $4.5 billion.
Contracts over $25,000 – 12 Proposals
Contracts under $25,000 – 5 Proposals
Additional information has been included in the contract section to indicate the total number of approved contracts for this fiscal year for each vendor together with the total cost of each contract.
-Communications Update Ms. Jeter presented briefly on the activities of the Communications Department. This month the focus was on the budget, flu, emergency preparedness, and a new website for the State Board.
-Intern Update Three intern positions have been filled and they will begin work on May 15.
Globally Competitive Students (8:45 AM) Board Room
Action on First Reading
State Board of Career and Technical Education
- GCS 1 Construction Education Programs Certification and Credentials The new policy is proposed to ensure construction education programs (carpentry, electrical trades and masonry) offered in NC public schools provide students with skills and knowledge meet or exceed industry standards. When a program is certified by the National Center for Construction Education Research (NCCER), participating students will graduate with industry-developed skills and knowledge to prepare them for further education and employment. The NCCER program leads to various craft certifications and credentials. Students can earn community college credits, while in high school. Requirements for certification include: 1) Construction Programs must be certified by the NCCER/NCDPI as Accredited Training and Education Facilities, 2) Instructors must successfully complete the Instructor Certification Training Program and be certified as a Craft Instructor in their field, and 3) Students must be entered into the NCCER national registry. They will receive certification and credentials upon successful completion of curriculum as follows: 1) Must achieve a score of 70 percent on written assessment administered by a certified instructor and 2) must demonstrate competence on required performance task.
Committee Meeting: A review of the item was presented. The certification is available to all schools meeting the standards. Board members voiced concerns that some schools were not meeting the standards and it is becoming an issue of safety. The cost for certification is $350 for which Carl Perkins grant funds may be used. Facilities became an issue for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area and they were deemed not meeting the standards, but a waiver or (Plan) could be submitted to cover this situation.
Board Meeting: The $6,000 price tag to upgrade the Charlotte facility was brought to the table again as was the matter of safety. It was suggested to delay this item one year, however, after much back and forth discussion, adding to the confusion, a motion was made but not seconded and the item did not pass. It will be placed back in Committee for more information and discussion.
- GCS 2 2009-2010 Writing Assessment Plan Approved the revised proposal. In 2008-2009 students in grades 4 and 7 were asked to complete two content-specific writing assignments and two on-demand writing tasks. Students in grade 7 used word processing tools in order to complete their assignments. Most students in grades 4 and 7 maintained their work in paper portfolios. Students in the 18 pilot sites stored their work in an electronic portfolio. The State Board of Education will hear findings from the first year of the writing project as well receive a proposal for the 2009-2010 writing assessments. Some of the proposed changes for 2009-2010 will include: two content specific assignments and two on-demand tasks. The first on-demand tasks will be a diagnostic or benchmarking assessments depending on school preference, General Education, NCCLAS and NCEXTEND2 student in grades 4 and 7 will participate, the on-demand assignment and Content-specific will be done in the Fall (Flexible), Content-specific and On-demand will be done in the Spring (flexible), scoring will consist of one score for on-demand (scoring the features and conventions) and 2 scores for content-specific (1 of content and 1 of features/conventions), lead implementation will be LEA Instructional Leaders, as the focus of the writing system is instruction. More resources will be added with revised online Professional Development courses and provide a single comprehensive resource guide to assist in successful implementation. Some of the key changes are included above. Additional changes are: shift to year-long instruction system, communication about purpose, logistics and implementation will be improved, electronic pilot is open to all interested LEAs, flexible windows on writing assignments, teachers in consultation with students will choose the contents-specific writing assignment, and as stated above LEA instructional leaders will handle implementation this school year. A copy of these materials is available on-line at the DPI website under State Board meetings.
Committee Meeting: Board members were very supportive of staff and the work surrounding this project. There was a great deal of enthusiasm from stakeholders as more LEAs requested involvement.
- GCS 3 Changes to Policy Providing Annual Performance Standards Under the ABCs Model Approved the amendments to the policy. Policy HSP-C-021 is revised to reflect two modifications to the ABCs growth formulas. First, the growth component for college university pre/college tech prep (CUP/CTP) is being modified to give additional credit to schools that already have a high number of students graduating from a high school in the program (CUP/CTP). Previously, once you attained near 100 percent in this category there was no way to give schools any credit (in calculating the ABC’s growth) for their efforts to graduate all the students. The policy change will benefit those high schools that are at the top of this category, in graduating their students in this program. Second, the U.S. History prediction is being revised to use Civics & Economics or Biology as the primary predictor for how students will do in US History. Presently, English I is used as the primary predictor for US History and it will be a better predictor using a history course. English I may be used as the secondary predictor for US History. These changes were discussed last year and are minor.
Committee Meeting: A brief overview was present and no further discussion was necessary.
Action on First Reading
- GCS 4 Changes to NC’s NCLB Consolidated State Application Accountability Workbook
Approved the three amendments to the NC Accountability Workbook. For the 2008-09 School Year amendments were made for 1) Students with Disabilities Who Exit the Program, 2) Retesting results in Grades 3 through 8, and 3) Redundancy in End-of-Course (EOC) and End-of-Grade (EOG) Testing. LEP students in their first year are exempt from retesting since their scores are not used in state and federal accountability. The policy is available upon request.
Committee Meeting: Board members expressed their frustration with the redundancy of students having to take two Algebra tests and the lack of a timely response to our requests. The entire process is time consuming and cumbersome.
- GCS 5 Changes to Policy Delineating the Components of the ABCs Accountability Program for the 2009-2010 School Year Approved the changes to policy HSP-C-020. Due to the budget crisis NCDPI requests Grade 3 Pretests in Reading and Mathematics be removed from the testing and accountability program for the 2009-2010 school year. This will remove Grade 3 from ABCs growth calculations in both reading and mathematics, but Grade 3 results still will be used for AYP and the ABCs performance composite calculations. This will constitute approximately $93,000 in savings from this year’s budget.
Committee Meeting: After a review of the item there was a question as to the impact this would have on K-3 schools with growth calculations. Staff said there would need to be some adjustments made in some circumstances. Some LEAs had concerns as they had been using the pretest but Dr. Garland indicated this assessment was not a good diagnostic tool and was not required by NCLB. In a meeting at the General Assembly there was discussion surrounding the elimination of some additional tests for next year and movement toward a National test for Algebra II. .
Board Meeting: Board member Taft said she felt uncomfortable voting for this, but Dr. Garland again stated this was not a good diagnostic test, the K-2 was a better assessment for growth calculations. There was a question of the time needed to have the test information back, but since they are scored locally that should not be a factor.
- GCS 6 Occupational Course of Study – Proposed Temporary Waiver of Paid Employment Graduation Requirement Approved amending the paid employment graduation requirement for the OCS, to allow participating students in the graduating classes of 2008-09 and 2009-2010 to substitute 360 hours of additional unpaid vocational training, unpaid internships, paid employment at community rehabilitation facilities, and volunteer and/or community service hours for the 360 hours of competitive, paid employment hours if unable to secure paid employment in an integrated employment setting due to local job market conditions. LEAs will be required to maintain documentation of their attempts to help the student secure paid employment. Evidence of interagency collaboration and referral(s) must be documented on the student’s transition component of their IEP.
Committee Meeting: Dr. Watson presented an overview to the Committee and the question was will there be sufficient time remaining for 2008-2009 graduates to complete their service hours. She indicated some LEAs were willing to work with the students during the summer in order to complete this requirement.
- GCS 7 Recommended Changes to Achievement Level Descriptors for NCEXTEND2 for 2009-2010 School Year The Department discussed amending policy HSP-C-026 and the achievement level descriptors for NCEXTEND2 students in each of the four achievement levels for mathematics, reading, and science be approved. This item will be presented for Action at the June SBE meeting.
Committee Meeting: An overview was presented and no discussion was necessary.
- GCS 8 Academic Scholars Program The Academic Scholars Program must be revised to align with the Future-Ready Core Graduation Requirements, approved in September 2008, for students entering ninth grade for the first time in 2009-2010. The program revisions include additional required credits for Health and Physical Education, Career and Technical Education and Arts Education (Dance, Music, Theatre Arts, or Visual Arts) plus the requirements for Future-Ready Core Graduation Requirements. This item will be presented for Action in June.
Committee Meeting: Two options were provided for discussion. The first option indicates adherence to the Future-Ready Core Graduation requirements and an unweighted grade point average of 3.500. This option requires 21 credits and omits the 9-12 requirement, and the fourth math credit will not be required to be a higher level math. It also reduces the elective requirements by three. The second option indicates adherence to the Future-Ready Core Course Requirements for UNC System and an unweighted grade point average of 3.500. This option requires 21 credits and also omits the 9-12 requirements, but the fourth math credit will be required to be a high level math course. This option also includes the UNC system requirement of two language credits and reduces electives requirements by three. There was concern that the number of credits was 21 for the Scholars Program, while the Future-Ready-Core required 24. Dr. Peterson indicated his choice would be Option 2, but would like to see either a higher GPA or a weighted 3.500. There was also support for Option 2 from other members of the Board and Dr. Atkinson suggested adding the Graduation Project as a requirement. After some discussion it was decided not to add the Graduation Project until the current issues are resolved, since it appears at this time the Project does not have the full support of the General Assembly. There was also mention of placing more emphasis on the higher math courses. Staff was instructed to make revisions and bring this item back in June.
- GCS 9 High School Courses Taken in the Middle School Considerations for Social Studies
K-12 Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology staff will share information with the GCS Committee on expanding the current policy HSP-M-001 that allows students to take high school social studies courses for high school credit, while they are in middle school. This item will be presented for Action in June.
Committee Meeting: Board members had concerns that students would be missing some of the fundamentals of the course, however, staff indicated this would provide students with more access and equity and with the new social studies standards the content would be more global in all grades. It would be an LEA decision on how to provide access to the courses. Some suggestions were they could transport the students to the high school, establish a virtual course or provide a teacher from the high school to teach the course.
– Recommendations on Course for Credit Dr. Garland stated work is continuing on the course for credit issue with the assistance of NC Wise. Procedures are being developed for providing a uniform statewide grading system and recommendations will be presented next month amending policy HSP-L-004. Eight school systems are currently out of compliance with Federal regulations in relation to student transcripts. She discussed briefly the recommendation and states some examples in awarding AP credit. The recommendation states if a local board of education policy mandates an Advanced Placement exam, and the student does not take the exam, the student’s course designation shall not be changed to one that earns lower credit, i.e., the weight of the AP course shall remain the same on student’s transcript as if he/she took the exam.
11:15 PM Board meets in Open Session/Board convenes Closed Session
11:50 Board reconvenes in Open Session and recesses until after lunch (1:15 PM)
21st Century Professionals Committee (1:15 PM) Room 504
Action on First Reading
- TCP 1 -Principal and Teacher Evaluation Instrument State Level Ratings Approved adoption of a process whereby a random sample of principal ratings utilizing the North Carolina Principal Evaluation Instrument and a random sampling of Teacher ratings utilizing the North Carolina Teacher Evaluation Instrument are collected and analyzed. Access by the SBE to these ratings would allow for further validation of these two instruments as well as provide quantitative-based research data that could help improve classroom instruction and school-based leadership. This item will be presented for action in June.
Committee Meeting: Brief overview of the history and background of this item. No additional discussion.
- TCP 2 Principal/Assistant Principal Evaluation Instrument Approved the request to allow McRel to begin the validation process to determine suitability of using principal evaluation instrument for evaluating assistant principals. Currently there is no evaluation instrument for Assistant Principals that is aligned with the new School Executive Standards. Adoption of the North Carolina Principal Evaluation Instrument for use with assistant principal evaluations would provide an instrument aligned with the Standards. This item will be presented for action in June.
Committee Meeting: Board members had some reservations regarding the descriptors listed in the Principal’s Evaluation relative to the work of the Assistant Principals. However, the representative from McRel indicated they plan to field test approximately 200 Assistant Principals with the evaluation and then determine if the results are valid. Members agreed using the Principals Evaluation will provide expanded opportunities for Assistant Principals and help to build leadership qualities. There appears to be a great deal of support from the field regarding this issue
- TCP 3 Proposed Adjustment to Physical Education Praxis II Assessment Qualifying Score Approved changing the Physical Education Praxis II Assessment Qualifying Score from 158 to 152. The Praxis II tests reviewed were Physical Education, Marketing Education, Middle School English/Language Arts, Middle School Science and Speech Language Pathology. A panel was asked to review the tests with a view of what a beginning practitioner would need to know and be able to do when they enter into their respective roles.
Committee Meeting: Dr. Craig Murphy, ETS presented an overview on how the panel examined the five Praxis II assessments and current qualifying scores used to determine whether those tests remain appropriate for continued use as one criterion required for licensure of beginning practitioners. Tests are assessed every five years and recommended changes are made accordingly. Representatives from the universities questioned if the assessments were examined according to the new standards (effective July 1,) or the old standards. It was noted the assessments should be reviewed on current standards and staff should be notified when the standards change.
- TCP 4 Recommendations from the Advisory Board on Requests for Exception from Teacher Licensing Requirements Approved the requests as presented. A panel chaired by a member of the State Board reviews the requests by individuals who have not met licensing requirements due to extenuating circumstances. They may request an exception from the requirement or an extension of time. Closed Session Item
Leadership for Innovation Committee (1:15 PM) Board Room
Action on First Reading
- LFI 1 Approval of LEAs and Charter Schools Technology Plans Approved the Technology plans for the 14 LEAs listed, the Department of Health & Human Services (Wake Co.) and 18 Charter Schools (PreEminent Academy in Wake Co.) for approval by both ITS and DPI technology consultants. Final approval by the State Board of Education qualifies these LEAs for the School Technology Trust Funds, NCLB and federal eRate monies, as well as a variety of private technology grants. A copy of the list is available upon request from this office.
Board Meeting: No Discussion.
- LFI 2 Appointment to Joint Advisory Committee for Cooperative Innovative High School Programs Approved the appointment of one member of the ASIS staff and one member of the NSP staff to the Joint Advisory Committee. The names of the candidates were not available.
Board Meeting: No Discussion
- LFI 3 School-Based Calendar Waivers for Educational Purposes Approved the calendar waivers for educational purposes for eight Guilford County Schools.
Board Meeting: No Discussion
- LFI 4 Standardization of Waiver/Exemption List for Cooperative Innovative High School Program Application The SBE discussed approving the routine waiver exemptions (standard exemption’s language) to become a part of the application process. Staff recommends the State Board Chair be authorized to approve these routine waivers for LEAs that are opening innovative programs. The current process unnecessarily burdens personnel at the school district and at the NCDPI. In most cases, the exemptions requested are routine. SBE Waiver ID descriptions are classified as CA-1, CA-2 for waivers requested in accordance with the Calendar Bill, P-1 and P-2 specify waivers for personnel, CU-1 relates to routine waiver with curriculum, and TST-1, TST-2, TST-3 relate to issues with testing. A draft copy of the standards for waivers is available upon request from this office.
Board Meeting: The Committee discussion resulted in some minor changes in the calendar CA 2 category and TST 2, testing section. This item is scheduled for the June meeting.
-New Charter School Applications Sixteen applications were presented for review, and seven were selected for the interview process for the three open charter school slots. There will be a Committee Conference Call requesting members to rank the seven schools and the top three will be recommended by the Committee for approval in June. A list of the seven schools selected for review was not available.
2:45 PM State Board of Education Meeting, Dr. Bill Harrison, Chairman
Call to Order, Pledge of Allegiance, Approval of Minutes
Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee
- TCS 2 A Discussion of North Carolina’s Effective Teachers and Teacher Salaries – Research by Duke Graduate Students
Staff will report on two research projects to answer the following: 1) What are the characteristics of effective teachers, and how can the SBE promote those characteristics among current North Carolina teachers? and 2) How should North Carolina revise its teacher salary schedule (within existing funds) in order to attract and retain high quality teachers and maximize student achievement?
Board Meeting: Project I involved the DPI Intern team and their research indicated that teacher quality is the most influential school-related factor in determining student achievement and growth. Despite having developed statistical models to identify effective and ineffective teachers based on student growth comparisons, researchers have been unable to establish a pattern of common background characteristics among effective teachers. In addition to identifying effective teachers, it is also important to understand what methods can be used to enhance the performance of teachers in the classroom. Providing instruction that is targeted to individual students, promoting mentoring between experienced and novice teachers, and sharing best practices among teachers have been identified as factors that can increase teacher effectiveness. Recommendations from the team are: 1) Provide teachers and administrators with classroom goal summaries for end-of-grade exams, 2) Provide professional development through a video sharing website, and 3) Provide teachers with a professional networking website.
Project 2: Current academic research indicates that North Carolina’s salary structure fails to reward evidence-based characteristic of effective teachers. Research demonstrates that returns in teacher effectiveness from additional years of experience are likely to be highest in the early years of teaching. Masters degrees do not appear to affect teacher quality, with the exception of Masters degrees in Math and Science. While NBPTS certification appears to identify effective teachers, the process itself does not appear to improve teacher quality. Hard to staff school districts have a smaller proportion of effective teachers, and also face higher teacher turnover leaving the less experienced teachers working with the most disadvantaged students. Recommendations to DPI are: 1) Beginning teacher starting salary at $35,000, 2) Annual increase during the first ten steps, after the tenth step an annual increases would decline to 0.5 percent, 3) Annual supplement of $2,500 for each teacher earning a Masters degree in Math or Science and teaching in that subject area and scoring at 1.25 standard deviations above the mean on the Praxis II exam, and 4) Double annual supplements of $5,000 each for teachers working in a hard to staff school. In addition, to complement the new schedule, teachers with zero to five years of experience sign twelve-month contracts that include 180 days of instructional time, one month allocated for professional development and one month allocated for planning time. Current plan is to use some of the component of the research in the Halifax Plan. Board members were very complimentary of the work of the interns and very appreciative of the information provided by the research.
Board Meeting and Committee Chair Reports-Listed Above
-State Superintendent’s Report
Dr. June Atkinson requested the endorsement of the Board for the Memorandum of Agreement that commits states to a state-led process that will draw on evidence and lead to development and adoption of a common core of State standards in English language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. These standards will be aligned with college and work expectations, include rigorous content and skills, and be internationally benchmarked. The intent is that these standards will be aligned to state assessment and classroom practice. The second phase of this initiative will be the development of common assessments aligned to the core standards developed through this process. Board approval was unanimously.
In addition, she highlighted the Choice Bus and provided several student comments, discussed the Stay In School Day in Wayne County, provided an update on the Economic Develop Commission, Race to the Top Committee, and a flu virus update relative to school closings.
Update on the Framework for Change Dr. Garland provided updates regarding the work being done on the standards and the release of the Math Standards, Accountability Model is still a work in progress and the Assessments are behind schedule due to the impact on current funding.
Legislative Report Chris Minard provide the latest legislative news from the General Assembly and State Treasurer Janet Cowell added comments regarding the revenue shortfall and the status of the state scholarship fund.