Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Pasco teacher contract talks continue focus on evaluations

With some key financial data still unavailable, Pasco County teacher contract negotiators kept their attention turned to improving annual performance evaluations as they met Thursday afternoon.

Representatives from both sides continued their focus on the same goal of helping educators who need it, rather than punishing them.

Differences remained, though, in how to get there — particularly after the United School Employees of Pasco complained in the spring about the timeliness of collecting evaluation data and providing feedback at some schools.

The USEP on Thursday provided a counter to the district's evaluation language, which arrived a week earlier. Its plan added some new concepts, such as an evaluation appeals committee and a grievance process, that the district had not contemplated.

"The concept here is, long before you get to an unsatisfactory or needs improvement [rating], there is a time you will be notified of deficiencies and will be given time to overcome them," USEP lead negotiator Val Smith said during the talks.

She asked for two added classroom observations for teachers at risk of receiving a poor evaluation.

The USEP further proposed language clarifying that evaluations are confidential between the administrator and employee. Smith noted that in some instances, instructional coaches who are teachers, not administrators, are drawn into the evaluation process of colleagues without adequate consent.

Teachers might be more welcoming of support from those coaches, she said, if they "don't feel there are private conversations going on about them behind their backs."

She also called for a standing committee to annually review the evaluation model.

"An extra page and two more committees," district employee relations director Kathy Scalise said in response to the proposal. "I think that's a record, two more committees in one document."

She noted that teachers already can appeal the student performance measures portion of their evaluation, and wondered how creating an outside appeal committee would help.

"I don't know how you effectively appeal an observation … when you are asking people to rule on something they have never seen," Scalise said.

Smith responded that it would be similar to a jury being asked to rule on evidence, which would have to be clear and convincing. "We are not looking to just create committees for the sake of creating committees."

Scalise asked questions about other parts of the USEP proposal, but did not comment on the standing committee or grievance process portions. She agreed that the goal is "to bring to fruition that improvement that is necessary" among struggling teachers.

Also during the talks, Scalise told the teachers of the district's plan to let lapse an agreement on reading plans, which had become in many ways a stand-in for rules on professional learning committees and professional development.

The processes have already become part of the district's "life blood," Leading and Learning director Lea Mitchell said, and do not need to exist in a separate agreement. Besides, she added, the reading requirements that were the vehicle had become obsolete.

Both sides said they would consider the others' proposals, and respond at a future meeting. Their next date has not been set.

Comments
The things School Board candidates say…. on the campaign trail in Hillsborough (Part I)

The things School Board candidates say…. on the campaign trail in Hillsborough (Part I)

They bashed the superintendent. They fretted about charter schools. One said the Hillsborough County School District should act like a carpet cleaning business when it comes to hiring teachers. Another blamed gender for the School Board's ongoing gru...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Florida stands alone as sole state without federally approved accountability plan

Florida stands alone as sole state without federally approved accountability plan

What to do?President Donald Trump's administration has in many ways held up Florida's education system as a model for the nation. It's hired many former Florida education officials to top jobs in its own education department.Yet Florida's propos...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida education news: Charter schools, test results, safety and more

Florida education news: Charter schools, test results, safety and more

CHARTER SCHOOLS: The 10-year renewal of a Hillsborough County charter alternative high school generates a pointed debate about the school's worth, as the League of Women Voters notes its poor graduation rate and school district officials lo...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Critics of charter schools point to low graduation rates

Critics of charter schools point to low graduation rates

The League of Women Voters is protesting the 10-year renewal of Seminole Heights Charter High School's contract on grounds that the organization spends nearly $200,000 in tax money to produce one high school graduate…But do they?Absolutely not,...
Published: 07/16/18
Pasco schools Citizens Academy seeks applications

Pasco schools Citizens Academy seeks applications

The Pasco County school district's new Citizens Academy is now a reality.It only needs participants.The district's inaugural class to learn about the ins and outs of its operations and activities will be 30 to 50 members large. They will attend seven...
Published: 07/16/18
Hillsborough County has more ‘persistently low performing’ schools than any other Florida district

Hillsborough County has more ‘persistently low performing’ schools than any other Florida district

The Hillsborough County school district has topped another state list it would prefer not to be on.It has 13 schools on Florida's newly released "persistently low performing" list, more than double the number of any other district.That's down from 20...
Published: 07/16/18
Florida education news: Addresses, ethics, security and more

Florida education news: Addresses, ethics, security and more

WHERE DO YOU LIVE? The Pasco County School Board will consider tightening rules for when it can remove students from schools over fraudulent registration forms.ETHICS: A Hillsborough County disability rights advocate files an ethics complai...
Published: 07/16/18
ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 8, 2018

ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 8, 2018

Another week, another lawsuit. This time, it’s the League of Women Voters challenge to Amendment 8, a measure headed to the November ballot unless a judge stops it. The group contends the proposal is misleading because it aims to change charter...
Published: 07/14/18
Ethics complaint against Hillsborough School Board members

Ethics complaint against Hillsborough School Board members

NOTE: This post has been revised.A disability rights advocate in Tampa has filed a state ethics complaint against Hillsborough County School Board member Lynn Gray, based on reports that appeared in recent months in the La Gaceta newspaper.Karen Clay...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/16/18
Pasco school district looks to strengthen student address verification rules

Pasco school district looks to strengthen student address verification rules

Pasco County parents have demanded their school district amplify its efforts to make sure students are not lying about their addresses for more than two years. They've done so in hopes that drive might alleviate the need to change attendance zon...
Published: 07/13/18