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Did you know that Raleigh’s nickname is the “City of Oaks”? I didn’t until just a few days ago. What pushed me to go to Raleigh’s wiki page and learn this was actually my walk to lunch earlier this week. I typically brown bag it, but every now and then I enjoy going out to walk and search for a good place to grab some food. This is easily facilitated by DPI’s location in downtown Raleigh and there are a ton of great places to eat around here. Being that it is the middle of summer and school is out, walking to lunch in this part of town usually involves navigating your way through wandering herds of children being led around on tours of the capital. I started thinking about all of the people I see touring the city, who have traveled here to see buildings and sights that I regularly walk by like the General Assembly, the State Capitol, and the Governor’s Mansion. I hadn’t really taken the time to stop and appreciate all of the sights and history that saturate this part of the city. Maybe it’s because my time at DPI is wrapping up, but I’ve been finding myself stopping on my walks more to take in some of the sights.

Earlier this week, State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson was kind enough to let us accompany her to a Council of State meeting. The North Carolina Council of State is made up of all of the statewide elected officials in North Carolina and meets monthly mostly to discuss the sale of state land. The Council of State is actually a Jacksonian-era system that diffuses some of the executive’s power and it was an interesting experience to sit in on one of its meetings. We had the opportunity to meet several officials, including Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest and Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry, whose face you probably recognize if you’ve ever been inside of an elevator in North Carolina.

Yesterday, we presented our research to the State Board of Education. We had given our presentations a few weeks ago at the Financial and Business Services Conference, so we were well prepared to present to the board. We received some great feedback from the board and they were very receptive. It was great to be able to present to them and make recommendations based on our findings, which we hope will be implemented in North Carolina.

It’s hard to believe that our time at DPI is winding down. Right now, we are in the midst of finalizing our reports, which will be available publicly on DPI’s website in a few weeks. For now, it’s back to writing for me.

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