The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) is charged with implementing the state's public school laws and the State Board of Education's policies and procedures governing pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public education. The elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction leads the Department and functions under the policy direction of the State Board of Education.
The agency provides leadership and service to the 115 local public school districts and 2,500+ traditional public schools, 100 charter schools, and the three residential schools for students with hearing and visual impairments. The areas of support include curriculum and instruction, accountability, finance, teacher and administrator preparation and licensing, professional development and school business support and operations. The NCDPI also has responsibility for the implementation of the state’s Race to the Top grant worth $400 million to public education.
The NCDPI developed the Standard Course of Study, which describes the subjects and course content that is taught in North Carolina public schools, and the assessments and accountability model used to evaluate student, school and district success. Department staff currently are in the final stages of remodeling the state's curriculum, assessments and accountability model, which are being implemented during the 2012-13 school year. In undertaking this ambitious work, North Carolina education leaders are the first in the nation to address learning standards, student tests and school accountability simultaneously. This unparalleled effort will help ensure that students are learning the essential skills critical to success in career and college following high school graduation. This is the most important and significant work of the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction in a generation.
The NCDPI administers annual state and federal public school funds totaling approximately $8.2 billion and licenses the approximately 120,000 teachers and administrators that serve public schools. The NCDPI's primary offices are in Raleigh, with four regional alternative licensing centers in Concord, Fayetteville, Elm City and Catawba. Approximately 30,000 new teacher and administrator licenses are issued annually from these centers. The NCDPI's work extends to the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching with locations in Cullowhee and Ocracoke, and the NC Virtual Public School – the second largest virtual public school in the nation. The state agency also works closely with nine Regional Education Service Alliances/ Consortia and six regional accountability offices.