I did attend the Work Session on Maintenance (interesting) and about half the Board meeting (also interesting)but I'll post separate threads on those.
From the agreement:
- looks like seniority is in and super seniority is out. I think the premise here is that if you start from a place where ALL teachers are good, then you have to have some mechanism to figure out who goes if there are RIFs and the union says seniority. (Yes, I know, that's mighty big if.) On the other hand, I think the union gave in at super seniority which probably doesn't happen all that often but was probably a nice thing for the teachers who got affected by school closures.
- "Add an additional weekly hour weekly of paid collaborative time for all
elementary and K-8 educators, with no changes to the length of the students’
school day. " Okay but are there no changes to the school day just this calendar year (as was previously stated) or just for the 3-year length of this contract?
- Effective 2011-2012, provide up to $500 support to all educators who are rated
unsatisfactory on their evaluations or who have low student growth ratings and
have been placed on a Support Plan." I wonder if there is any idea how many teachers they think might fall into this category and would they post it?
- Compensation. What is interesting to me is that I was speaking with Michael DeBell in the break between meetings about the levy. We were talking about using some of the money, should it pass, for more maintenance needs. He said that anything that the levy money is used for has to be one-time because it would be able to be sustained after the levy is gone. So one, he isn't talking like the levy would be brought back again (although the history is that we do keep them, see I-728) but, more importantly, how would they continue to pay for the staff compensation under this new agreement? It seems like a big if.
- SPS will not convert the defunded state LID day to a district-funded TRI day. Help! What does this mean?
- Increase the circumstances under which educators are compensated for overages
in class size. Okay, one, this is only for elementary so I'm guessing for middle and high school there isn't compensation? Or what they already have in place for those levels stays? Two, parents, this is the little secret that you should understand. Teachers probably would like smaller class sizes but they can't control that so they get paid more if the class sizes increase. So, they get something. You, on the other hand, get to have your child in a larger class but no aide or anything.
- Maintain a special education DSU fund as follows: $250,000 in 2010-2011;
$300,000 in 2011-2012; and $300,000 in 2012-2013. Again, help! Special Ed folks, what is a DSU fund? (This reminds me; I'm going to ask that the new website have an acronym directory for every department.)
- Under assessment and evaluation system, there's this: Measures will not include observations of peer teachers/high school students nor will school-wide student growth measures be included. Hmm, I know some high school kids who will be disappointed. Also, this seems to mean that ONLY the principal will observe. As I pointed out last night during my testimony at the Board meeting, the nearly $1M that the district is paying out for the court case they lost to an assistant principal over harassment/retaliation should be a good lesson. In this case, multiple administrators used very poor judgment in their treatment of the plaintiff basically because she got transferred and got tagged a troublemaker. Not for performance but because she got transferred. We have many good professional principals but this case proves there are also principals who were not objective and fair.
- Under Adjustments to Help Staff Members Manage Their Time, etc. - Perform a workload analysis and discuss it in Labor-Management Committee prior to the implementation of a new program, initiative, or curricular change. I absolutely agree with this but it doesn't say who would perform the analysis - the district or the teachers.
- Again, help; what is a Level 1 school? It is referenced that site-based hiring teams and principals get to select all at all Level 1 schools, with no staff placements by Executive Directors of schools.
- Make no changes to the role of BLTs. Interesting but is there a downside to this?
- They are creating a K-8 Joint Task Force but I don't see one for Alternatives.
- SEA and SPS will develop and negotiate a process, approved by both parties, that will allow agreed-upon schools to be able to apply for broad exemptions from SPS policies and SEA collective bargaining agreements in return for enhanced autonomy and accountability. The task force will determine qualifications for innovative status and the SPS policies and SEA collective bargaining agreement sections from which schools may be exempted. What is a definition of an Innovation School? I think that would be a good starting point BEFORE you do anything else.
- As a result, the district has also proposed: Academic interventionists are certificated staff members who work closely with high school students who are at risk of dropping out. These teachers not only help students stay on track with required state testing but also communicate with families and coordinate support services provided by counselors and social workers.
- We restored funding for elementary school counselors at each school, and are working with schools to partner with community organizations and seek out additional funding to provide intensive support services for schools that have the greatest need for coordinated support.
- Seattle has made significant strides in class size reductions over the past 20 years. Really? I'll have to follow up on this one.