It has been awhile since I updated this site, so here is what has been happening.
1. We had a pretty good turn-out on Friday, October 14 for the Homecoming Parade. I don’t know if our presence makes a big difference in the minds and hearts of the community, but I sure saw lots of students excited to see their teachers riding (or walking beside) a truck!
2. We are still without a contract. That means that the language in the old contract is pretty much still in place regarding working conditions and for sure in place regarding pay. As many of you know from personal experience, the step increase you thought you’d receive in September is not automatic, nor is the increase after earning an advanced degree.
The bargaining team plans to meet with administration on Monday, October 17 and hear their official counter proposal. Then we can give you a thorough update on the progress (or lack) at the PEA meeting on Thursday, October 20. This meeting has been changed from a regular executive board meeting to a general membership meeting, so we can tell you what our contract status is, and HEAR from you about where you want the negotiators to move next.
3. Teachers in all levels continue to struggle with the new evaluation system. Major changes were already in store as we bargained most of this two years ago. More changes happened after the administration took matters into their own hands. The result has been mass confusion, starting with how to complete a simple goal form. PEA leadership is monitoring the process and will protest if it seems that different principals are expecting radically different teaching behaviors, while using one evaluation form.
Note: If you are and have been (in the past) an effective teacher, you probably already know it. You have heard from students and parents that you helped a student learn. The evaluation changes should not suddenly make you look ineffective. Instead, our intention at the bargaining table was to help people who do struggle with various aspects of teaching identify and improve in those areas. Those already at the top of their game will continue to teach effectively, and simply need to keep clear records to show those things that your principal won’t notice in the quick observation.
Despite the changes made by the administration, I don’t personally think any principal is using the new method to “target” anyone. If they had concerns in the past, they still have those concerns. If they have been impressed with you in the past, they still are.
Part of the principal’s evaluation is based on our performance, so they definitely want you to be good at what you do!