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In the Center of Activity

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By angelb, on June 2, 2011

NC DPI’s building is always abuzz with meetings and action, and as an intern, I am frequently able to watch decision-making and creation as it happens. To encourage middle-school students to take ownership of their learning, the Department of Public Instruction has created an interactive module to engage students and teach them skills and lessons in academic responsibility.  I participated in a testing and focus group session for the animated module, and was excited to provide feedback during the project’s formative stages.

I also sat in on a chief’s meeting for the division of Financial and Business Services (FBS), during which the state budget and structural changes being made within the agency were discussed. Later, I attended the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing at the Legislative Building, which is directly adjacent to the Department of Public Instruction. During the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, there was debate surrounding the proposals for schools to reduce class size and extend the academic year an additional week by converting teachers’ workdays into instructional time.  There was some concern regarding additional transportation and operating costs, especially considering budget cuts.

Meanwhile, my research team has started analyzing North Carolina Virtual Public Schools (NCVPS) data, and our research outline has been drafted. In the coming weeks, we’ll prepare our draft for publication by NC DPI, and present our findings to the State Board of Education at the end of the summer.  I am interested to see how high school students who are retaking courses through the virtual classroom are faring in comparison to students retaking classes in the traditional classroom setting.

I’ve also started working on a smaller project that involves identifying trends in the results of a teacher effectiveness study (McREL). Each day, I learn about the various undertakings of NC DPI, as the agency works to fund, implement, and evaluate its programs for students in the state and the challenges associated with these endeavors. My hope is that the research I conduct with the other interns provides valuable insights to the Board and public.

I leave you with pictures of the view outside my office window:

Halifax Mall is the field just outside of the General Assembly Legislative Building, and is also the area in which many rallies take place.

Stay tuned for next week’s update!

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