By David Cicarella, NHFT President
The 2017-2018 contract extension is signed and sealed which gives us relative peace of mind through the 2017-2018 school year. Given the present political, financial, and economic situation and all of its uncertainty, this is clearly a very good thing. We are now preparing to formally negotiate a contract beyond 2017-2018.
The previous edition of the Advance contained a center spread with photos and professional information for all members of our NHFT Negotiations Team. The team is deliberately composed of teachers from various teaching assignments including elementary, high school, specialty areas, support staff, ESL, and special education. The goal is to create a cross section in terms of years of teaching experience and ensure a diverse, balanced group that represents all of us at the negotiations table.
Contracting Working Group
On November 30, 2017, I sent a memo to inform everyone that in addition to our formal Negotiations Team, we have established a contract working group (***This memo was sent to all building stewards and was forwarded to you via the personal email you supplied to your steward). The “contract working group” has met three times and will continue meeting throughout the school year on a monthly basis. It is open to any teacher that would like to attend. The purpose is to allow input and discussion of any and all items that teachers would like to put forth in terms of proposals by the Negotiations Team. While everyone has access via electronic communications to members of our Negotiations Team, the working group allows for firsthand, in-depth discussion with other colleagues and various members of the Negotiations Team. At our January meeting, NHPS Chief Operating Officer (COO) Will Clark attended and engaged in frank, professional dialogue as to the process and perspectives from the NHPS BoE. Members of the working group did likewise. Will has committed to attend future meetings as his schedule permits. This is quite significant and was well received, as he is the lead negotiator for the NHPS. Feel free to come to as many meetings as your schedule allows.
By David Cicarella, NHFT President
As you read this article, TEVAL mid-year conferences are either underway or have been completed. The mid-year conference is a crucial checkpoint in the TEVAL process. At this time, two important items are addressed.
Potential Adjustment of Student Learning Objectives (SLO)
SLO’s are reviewed and the teacher and their Instructional Manager (IM) determine if an adjustment to the SLO(s) is warranted. An example is the scenario whereby a teacher has a significant number of students that have been chronically absent from September through February. This will impact a teacher’s ability to meet the SLO and an adjustment would be in order.
Teachers Self Rating for Classroom Practices
At this mid-year conference, the teacher will complete the “self-rating for classroom practices” and the IM will do the same. The teacher and IM discuss the ratings looking for items of instructional practice where there is agreement and disagreement. The purpose is to promote a professional dialogue to ensure supports are provided for areas where there is agreement that the teacher would benefit from these supports. It is equally important to discuss items of disagreement. For example, a teacher rates themselves STRONG on an item while the IM rating is DEVELOPING. A respectful dialogue needs to occur in February, not in June. Our colleagues that co-authored TEVAL to ensure important discussions purposely designed the self-assessment component so potential adjustments and supports are put in place mid-year, which allows for subsequent improvement in instructional practice.
The self-assessment ratings are unofficial and have no bearing on the final TEVAL rating. Too often I receive calls whereby a teacher conveys that they were “rated developing” at this mid-year conference. NO teacher receives any ratings mid-year. Summative ratings occur only at the end of the school year. There is no such thing as a “mid-year rating”. The mid-year conference is an informal assessment of instructional practice with the sole purposes of celebrating successes and identifying areas in need of improvement and implementing support.
As we continue to modify TEVAL and tweak it for improvement, the emphasis is shifting to more “fact-based” evidence. Teachers should be hearing “I rated you strong on this indicator because of this evidence”. Instructional Managers have been undergoing collegial calibrations in our ongoing attempt to strengthen the evaluation process and use objective, fact-based data when conducting observations and the subsequent evaluations.
The Major Components of TEVAL