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State Superintendent's Back To School Message


Welcome back to another school year. I hope you had a great summer. I have seen from recent visits how excited you are to get classes started.

Your excitement is infectious. Thank you for everything you do for our students and your service to our state. North Carolina is fortunate to have you.

I have been a student, a teacher, a local school board member, and now I have the honor and privilege of serving as State Superintendent. But everything becomes different for me this school year. In just a week, I become a parent of a child in our public schools when I drop my daughter off to start kindergarten.

At DPI, we wake up every day focused on making sure we better support you. I know that the best way to enhance my daughter’s education, and that of all our students, is more support, flexibility, and innovation for our educators.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to fill out the surveys we send. Your feedback is guiding my work.

This year, we will have updates for you on our progress to reduce high-stakes testing, improve school safety, highlight and encourage all career pathways for students, and recruit, retain, and reward our educators. I also want to share some highlights from last school year.

  • Support
    I’m proud that we secured funding for grants to help hire additional School Resources Officers across the state and to enhance mental health resources in schools and communities. In addition, we obtained $240 million in state lottery funds for low-wealth, rural counties to build brand new school facilities. We also got more money out of the state education agency and into the classrooms where it belongs.
  • Flexibility
    As you may have heard, the Rowan-Salisbury School District will now have flexibility in testing, school calendar, budget allotments, educator pay, and more. And with success there, this model can be scaled across the state to give more decision-making power to local leaders and teachers.
  • Innovation
    We are changing DPI policies to reduce time spent testing – and give you back time to do what you entered the profession to do: teach. We awarded more than $1.2 million in Coding and Mobile App Grants, and we developed a new statewide Computer Science Plan to connect students more than 18,000 open jobs in the computer science field. We also supported Career Pathways for all students with the Future Ready Students legislation for local communities to connect workforce needs with schools.

This school year, I am excited about continuing the conversation about how best to transform our public schools for parents, educators, and students. Through school visits, the NC Educators Perspective Surveys, and the work of the staff at DPI, we will continue to gather your thoughts and ideas about what we can do to serve you better.

Have a great school year. We appreciate everything you do for all of North Carolina’s students.


Mark Johnson

State Superintendent



This email was sent to using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: North Carolina Public Schools · 301 N. Wilmington St. · Raleigh, NC 27601