Monday, June 25, 2007

NEA Study on Teacher Quality

June 7, 2007

The National Education Association believes the essential characteristics of a quality teacher include:

· Knowing his/her subject matter;
· Knowing how to teach that subject matter; and
· Understanding how students learn and what it takes to reach them.

To ensure every student the opportunity to learn from a quality teacher, we must support teachers along every point in the Teacher Quality Continuum:

Protect and promote high standards for entry into the profession

· Recruit talented and committed professionals to the teaching profession and develop a teacher workforce that reflects the diversity of the student population and nation as a whole.
· All teachers entering the profession must demonstrate subject matter competence, pedagogical skills, and teaching ability before entering the classroom as a teacher-of-record. Alternative route programs must maintain the same standards as other teacher preparation programs and must be equal in rigor and content.

Support and measure new teacher performance

· Policies and funding should focus on comprehensive new teacher induction systems that treat new teachers as “residents” or “interns.” This would mean more support and training, less demanding classroom assignments, and significantly more focused performance assessments for all beginning teachers, regardless of their preparation and routes to licensure.

Improve teaching and learning conditions

· Teaching and learning conditions—time, teacher empowerment, school leadership, professional development, and facilities and resources—are critical to increasing student achievement and retaining teachers.
· Teachers must be intimately involved in every phase of their ongoing training, with high-quality professional development programs focusing on pedagogy and helping teachers develop the deep understanding of how students learn.
· Principals should also be provided with high-quality professional development so they can serve as instructional leaders in their schools and work collaboratively with teachers to improve student learning.

Strengthen teacher evaluation systems

· New policies and funding should create teacher evaluation systems based on a set of standards that measure teacher practice. Professional development and teacher learning programs should be aligned to meet the needs of both students and teachers – needs that are determined at the local level through measures of student performance and teacher evaluations.

Enhance and reward teacher skills and knowledge

· Provide teachers with job-embedded professional learning opportunities and create systems for regular collaboration among educators within schools and districts.
· Ensure a $40,000 minimum salary for all teachers in every school in the country.
· Provide financial recognition to individual teachers who demonstrate superior teaching skills (such as National Board Certified Teachers) and to those who take on additional responsibilities (such as mentor teachers), and provide school-wide bonuses for improved student learning.

Ensure that students in high-poverty and other hard-to-staff schools have access to quality teachers

Provide an array of incentives to attract and retain qualified teachers to such schools.
Improve teaching and learning conditions, including by reducing class sizes and ensuring safe modern facilities.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Gov. Culver signs historic pay raise into law!Gov. Chet Culver has signed into law a landmark bill that will dramatically increase K-12 salaries and give teachers a voice in determining their own professional development needs. The action capped a multi-year, multi-faceted campaign by the ISEA to bring teacher salaries up to 25th in the nation. Click here to read his news release and click here to view photos of the historic event.

"Together, we made this happen," said ISEA President Linda Nelson. "We spent years making our case before the public and we finally elected a Legislature that would do more than just talk about making education a priority. This historic piece of legislation sends a loud and clear message that Iowa values and respects the work that we do."

Final approval of the bill was delayed for several days while a joint House-Senate conference committee hammered out a compromise on some minor issues. Specifically, SF 277 will put an average of $5,400 in teachers' pockets over the next two years -- $3,600 in 2007-08 and another $1,800 in 2008-09. That, coupled with competitive salary increases won at the bargaining table, should bring K-12 teaching salaries up to 25th in the nation. School districts and local associations have until Sept. 15 to determine how the money will be distributed. The complex legislation also makes some much-needed changes in the Teacher Quality law.

The ISEA is currently working with the Department of Education in an attempt to help ensure a smooth implementation and ISEA's UniServ directors and staff specialists will be prepared to provide expert advice and guidance to local association leaders.

Click here for VICTORY AT LAST! one-page flier that explains the many aspects of SF 277 and its implementation in our schools.

• Download a flyer which highlights key components of the legislation.

Early Views on Teacher Quality Committees

The passage of S.F. 277 provides a great opportunity for educators to provide input into important professional decisions. With that input it is hoped that the professional life of educators will be more meaningful and successful. With this opportunity comes responsibility.

Lessons of the past provide us with a sense of some mistakes to avoid. If we go back to the early days of Phase III where much of that joint effort was often spent fighting for power and control, we learned that our work is about more than control. It is about organizing the work and professional lives of educators so they are able to help more students be successful and learn.

We will have a variety of issues to consider and address. Previously we could just complain and often no one listened. Now, educators get to help decide more and have a formal role in addressing issues regarding Teacher Quality. That does not mean things will always go the way we want.

We all want to know what to do to respond effectively to this new law. History tells us no matter how much we anticipate, some issue will appear all of a sudden and others go away over time. With that, there are several things a local can do.

Inquire of Superintendent

The local president may decide to send a letter such as the draft included here to inquire about professional development plans already in place for 07-08. According to the Iowa Department of Education, Teacher Quality Professional Development funds can only be spent with the approval of the Teacher Quality Committee (explained later in this document), therefore if a district plans to use these funds for professional development at the beginning of the 07-08 school year, it is important that that the local association and administration discuss those plans prior to the end of the 06-07 school year. If you decide to use the draft, be sure to remove generic references and personalize it to the local association, district or AEA, and superintendent.

Once you have a reply from the Superintendent, local leaders can consider how to respond. One option is that locals may decide to agree to the spending of the Teacher Quality Professional Development funds for those already planned events for the beginning of the 07-08 school year. Plans for future professional development activities for the 07-08 school year, may wait until the Teacher Quality Committee has been formed.

Teacher Quality Committee Guidelines

The Teacher Quality Committee provides an opportunity for educators to be partners in the profession with the district or AEA. The law requires that:

 Each district and AEA has a Teacher Quality Committee.
 The committee has equal representation of administrators and teachers.
 The teacher members are appointed by the local association.
 Compensation for teachers on the committee doing work beyond the contract day must be determined through the collective bargaining process.

As an alternative, the law allows the local association and administration to mutually agree to assign the responsibilities to an existing committee, appoint members of an existing committee to the Teacher Quality Committee, or authorize an existing committee to advise the committee.

Teacher Quality Committee Responsibilities

The Teacher Quality Committee must do all of the following:

Monitor implementation of the entire student achievement and teacher quality program, including mentoring and induction.

Monitor the evaluation procedures to ensure the procedures are conducted in a fair and consistent manner and develop model evidence.

Determine the use and distribution of the Teacher Quality professional development funds based on the district or agency, attendance center and individual professional development plans. The committee must follow the Iowa Professional Development Model.

Monitor professional development in the district or agency, for each attendance center, and individual professional development plans

Make recommendations regarding the expenditure of market factor incentives.

It will take some time and study for ISEA to offer recommendations on how a Teacher Quality Committee might address these responsibilities. ISEA leadership is involved in discussions with the Iowa Department of Education and School Administrators of Iowa on how the three groups might provide support for Teacher Quality Committees.

ISEA will be developing additional materials for use by locals; leaders and interested members are encouraged to attend the ISEA Summer Conference July 31- August 2, 2007 for updates.

Appointing Members to the Teacher Quality Committee

While the law allows local associations and the administration to mutually agree to assign the Teacher Quality Responsibilities to another group, at this time it is not recommended.

Each local has a formal process as well as informal processes for making decisions such as who should represent the Association on the committee. Local leaders are urged to work together and weigh the various options. While the law does not go into effect until July 1, 2007, it may make sense to make decisions on committee members prior to the end of this school year.

Issues to Consider

1. Appoint members only

2. Make sure the committee is representative of members’ needs and interests. (For example, a small local you may want to have three representatives, one for each level – elementary, middle school/junior high, and high school)

3. You will want to have representatives who bring various expertises to the committee: local association leadership, bargaining, grievance, and professional development (Building a Better Teaching and Learning Environment). You need some of each.

4. Don’t make the committee too small or too large.

David Wilkinson, Teaching and Learning Specialist
On behalf of the Teacher Quality Committee Work Group (Bob Brown, Myron Halverson, Pat Shipley ,Jon Studer, Randy Richardson, Jan Reinicke)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Best Practices for Association Representatives

Proven Strategies for the Successful Association Representative

NEA Launches the Framework for an Effective Association Representative System
Recognizing the need for effective Association Representatives (AR's), the NEA has created the Framework for an Effective Association Representative System to assist state and local affiliates with this critical endeavor.

Organizing Is...
In three words: You, Plus, Action.

How People Decide To Act: The Change Continuum
An explanation of the steps people must take before they decide to do something about their bad situations.

Conducting Successful Building Visits, Part 1
Advice for those who have never conducted a building visit or need a little help.

Conducting Successful Building Visits, Part 2
Advice for those who have been out of the classroom for some time and may not understand all the issues presented by members.

Home Visits are a Great Way to Connect with Members
How quality, face-to-face contacts can boost membership, serve current members, and improve the public image of your local association.

Who Needs Association Representatives, Anyway?

The Vital Role of Association Representatives at LC

Simple answer: we all do, at every level of the organization!
Effective association representation at each work site is crucial to both the survival and growth of the organization. They are the heart and backbone of our association. Association Representatives (AR's), Building Representatives (BR's), or Shop Stewards, roses by any name, must be committed to work strategically in each site to benefit members and the organization.

It is imperative that all three organizational levels (local, state, national) appreciate the significance of the AR role. To be successful, we must be deliberate in supporting and developing AR Systems. We need to equip ARs with the skills and tools they need to connect members with association services and programs, recruit and nurture new members and leaders, and advocate member issues and concerns.

This area of the NEA website is dedicated to recognizing and developing effective site leaders, by any name. This site will routinely do the following:

Highlight effective AR's and their tips for success:

Share successful campaign stories (log-in required, NEA members only);

Review and recommend readings that may be helpful in your work;

Offer best practices for ARs and local leaders as we find them across the country (log-in required, NEA members only); and,

Provide a space for you to dialogue and interact with your colleagues across the association through our collaborative workspace (log-in required, NEA members only).

Click here to send LCEA Membership Chair, Kim Muta, an email for your membership number. Please write this number down once you receive it. Your membership number for login purposes is on your ISEA Access Card and also on your NEA TODAY.

Not only do we hope you enjoy it and find it useful, but that you will contribute and share your success, tips and learnings.

New Teacher Resources

Take the ISEA "I Can Do It" Classroom Management course

The LCEA Beginning Teachers Guide to Evaluation

Iowa Teaching Standards

Top Ten Ways for New Teachers to Survive and Thrive

Be Your own Best Advocate

Order Form for ISEA's 'Framework for Understanding the Iowa Teaching Standards'

Friday, June 8, 2007

Duration & Signature Clause, Article XIV MC


Duration And Signature Clause

A. Savings Clause. In the event that any provision of this Agreement shall become void or illegal during the term of this Agreement, such provision shall become inoperative, but all other provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect for the duration of this Agreement.

B. Printing Agreement. Copies of this Agreement shall be printed at the expense of the Board after agreement with the Association on format within (30) days after the Agreement is signed. The Agreement shall be given to all employees prior to the specified return date for new contracts each year. New employees shall be given a copy of this Master Contract when they receive their individual contract. The Board shall provide the Association with ten (10) full sized (8 1/2 x 11) additional copies.

C. Notices. Whenever any notice is required to be given by either of the parties to this Agreement to the other, pursuant to the provision(s) of this Agreement, either party shall do so by fax or letter at the following designated addresses or at such other address as may be designated by a party in written notification to the other party:

1. If by Association, to Board at:

1600 East South Omaha Bridge Road
Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503

2. If by Board, to Association at:

Tom McLaughlin
Lewis Central Education Association
High School
3504 Harry Langdon Blvd.
Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503

D. Finality and Effect of Agreement.

1. This Agreement supersedes and cancels all previous collective bargaining agreements between the School District and the Association or any employee and constitutes the entire agreement between the parties, and concludes collective bargaining for its term.

2. Past practices shall not constitute part of this Agreement and any subsequent or supplementary agreement must be reduced to writing and executed by both parties to be effective.

3. The parties acknowledge that the understandings and agreements arrived at through collective bargaining are set forth in this Agreement. Therefore, the Board and the Association each voluntarily and unqualifiedly waives any right which might otherwise exist under law to negotiate any matter, and each agrees that the other shall not be obligated to bargain collectively with respect to any subject or matter during the term of this Agreement, except such negotiations as are necessary for succeeding collective bargaining agreements.

E. Duration Period.

1. This Agreement shall be effective as of July 1, 2010 and shall continue in effect until June 30, 2011 except for the following:

a. the salary figures on the teachers' and nurses' salary schedule and the supplemental salary schedules shall be effective as of the first pay period of the 2010-2011 school year and shall continue in effect until the first pay period of the 2011-2012 school year except as modified according to the following formula; and

b. other salary and fringe benefits provisions shall become effective at the first pay period of the 2010-2011 school year and continue in effect until the first pay period of the 2011-2012 school year.

2. This Agreement shall automatically continue in force and effect for equivalent periods, except as articles are reopened for negotiation by either party during future collective bargaining.

F. Signature Clause.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have caused this Agreement to be signed by their respective Presidents, attested by their respective Chief Negotiators, and their signatures placed thereon, all on the 28th day of May, 2010


By_________________________________ By__________________________________
President President

By_________________________________ By__________________________________
Chief Negotiator Chief Negotiator