Thursday, November 15, 2007

LCEA Teaching Reading Helpful Websites to Assist Our Student's Learning

Endowment for the Arts Announces New Reading Study
The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced the release of To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence, a new and comprehensive analysis of reading patterns in the United States. To Read or Not To Read gathers statistics from more than 40 studies on the reading habits and skills of children, teenagers, and adults. The report reveals recent declines in voluntary reading and test scores alike and links these declines in reading with poorer academic and social outcomes.. CLICK HERE for more on To Read or Not To Read.

Check out RIF's Monthly Family Activity Calendar Use Reading Is Fundamental's monthly activity calendar with children of all ages. The calendar provides new reading and writing activity suggestions for every day of each month.

Class Acts: Ideas for Teaching Reading and Writing
Looking for research-based, classroom-tested teaching ideas? Find what you need for your K–12 students on the International Reading Association's Web site. IRA podcasts are available for free download in MP3 format. Topics include phonics through shared reading; phrasing for fluency; teaching key vocabulary words; understanding big ideas; supporting struggling adolescent readers. The IRA Web site also offers insights from experts in literacy teaching and learning.

Quality Resources from
Visit, a collaboration of the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and Verizon, for access to high quality practices and resources in reading and language arts instruction.

YALSA Announces Teens' Top Ten Books
More than 6,000 teen readers across the country voted during Teen Read Week, October 14–20. The poll was sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a Read Across America partner. To find out what books the teens chose and learn more about the Teens Top Ten program, go to YALSA Announces Teen's Top Ten Books.

Provide a Safety Net for At-Risk Readers: Screen. Teach. Intervene. Monitor. Adjust.
These are the basic components of response to intervention (RTI)–a proactive process designed to catch struggling readers before they fall. Research-based instruction, top-notch teachers, and solid home-school collaboration are at the heart of a successful RTI program. CLICK HERE to find out more about providing a safety net for at-risk readers.

Cops-n-Kids Program Dreams Big
The first dream, to put books into the hands of the children of Racine, Wisc, has come true–over 250,000 books have been distributed. But Julia Witherspoon, Cops-n-Kids founder, has been working on a bigger dream–she has traveled to communities across the U.S. to help them start Cops-n-Kids reading centers to foster hope, safety, and pride for those who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods. When a safe haven filled with books is around the corner or across the street, the possibilities for the future for these children are endless. CLICK HERE to find out more about Cops-n-Kids.

The Positive Side of Learning Disabilities
People with learning disabilities have much to offer to their families, their communities, their workplaces, and themselves. We need to overcome the tendency to focus so much on their challenges so that we can see their triumphs. We know that these disabilities can be difficult. We know it takes extra time, lots of effort, and intense persistence to achieve. We know that classroom teachers use every ounce of their professional skills to enable their students to succeed. We know that parents face a daunting challenge as they raise children who march to the beat of a different drummer. In the spirit of the season of Thanksgiving, LD OnLine shares inspirational quotes from people with learning disabilities and their allies. CLICK HERE to find out more about the Positive Side of Learning Disabilities.

Helpful Hints from Get Caught Reading Campaign
There are so many ways that book lovers can participate in the Get Caught Reading campaign. Teachers and librarians around the U.S. share pictures and stories of their Get Caught Reading experiences. To learn what other educators have done and to share your helpful hints, visit the website. CLICK HERE for Helpful Hints from Get Caught Reading Campaign.

Poetry 180 from the Library of Congress
By just spending a few minutes reading a poem each day, new worlds can be revealed. Poetry 180 is designed to make it easy for high school students and other learners to hear or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins has selected poems to encourage students and other learners to become members of the circle of readers for whom poetry is a vital source of pleasure. CLICK HERE for more information from Poetry 180.

Teachers' Guides from Children's Book Press
The folks at Children's Book Press proudly present Reading Communities: CBP Teacher's Guides. CBP staff firmly believe in the importance of classroom instruction based on high-quality, multicultural literature. The guides present lessons developed by teachers who participate in CBP community programs, along with CBP staff's own ideas for activities that foster literacy across the curriculum in second- to fifth-grade classrooms. Check out the Reading Communities: CBP Teacher's Guides for upcoming Children's Book Press titles, as well as for selected books from their backlist. Visit CLICK HERE for more information on Reading Communities and Teacher's Guides from Children's Book Press.

Using the Arts for Learning
Young Audiences, Inc. helps make the arts an essential part of young people's education. YAI advances the artistic and educational development of public school students by bringing them together with professional artists of all disciplines to learn, create, and participate in the arts. YAI's Arts for Learning Lessons project is designed to significantly increase elementary school students' reading comprehension and writing skills by developing arts-based instructional strategies that will help students, teachers, and schools meet local and state standards. CLICK HERE for more information on Using the Arts for Learning.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

LCEA Executive Board Agenda November 8, 2008

LCEA Executive Board Meeting
Date: 11/8/2007
Place: Titan Hill: Room 804 (New Section) Susan Drustrup’s room
Time: 4:15

Roll Call: Sharon Crawley, Kim Muta, Jennifer Doorlag,
Maggie Bennett, Dave Bergman
HS Reps: Tom McLaughlin, Allison Towne, Brian Johnson, Christina Woodward
MS Reps: Margot Argotsinger, Beth Frank, Al Lorenz, Barb Motes
TH Reps: Susan Drustrup, Maggie Miller, Jennifer Hake
Kreft Reps: Kathy Moe, Melinn Ruzicka, Tara York

Approval of Agenda:

Secretary’s Report/ Approval of Minutes: Kim Muta

Treasurer’s Report: Jen Doorlag: Audit (Where are we on this?)

Negotiations: Beth Frank

TQC: Barb Motes

President’s Report: Sharon Crawley

Committee Reports:
High School:
Middle School:
Titan Hill: (Susan) Report cards?

Old Business:
• Reps setting up monthly meetings with individual building principals
• Ten minute meetings with members
• Building Reps information/ check in on new teachers

New Business:
• Attendance to a board meeting (Dave lost the “official” sign up sheet) 
• Public Relations: Committees for Education weeks, National Teacher Day, Reading Across America, Retirees, etc..
• Public Relations: Toy drive, Food/Books drives, etc..
• Delegate Assembly coming up!!! (Kim will you talk about this?)


LCEA Executive Board Minutes November 8, 2007

LCEA Meeting Minutes
Date: 11/8/2007
Place: Titan Hill Room 308
Time: 4:15

Roll Call: Sharon Crawley, Kim Muta, Jennifer Doorlag, Maggie Bennett, Dave Bergman (absent)
HS Reps: Tom McLaughlin, Allison Towne, Brian Johnson, Christina Woodward (absent)
MS Reps: Margot Argotsinger, Beth Frank, Al Lorenz, Barb Motes
TH Reps: Susan Drustrup (absent), Maggie Miller, Jennifer Hake
Kreft Reps: Kathy Moe, Melinn Ruzicka (absent), Tara York

Approval of Agenda:
• Barb Motes moved that the agenda be approved with the addition mentioned below, Beth Frank seconded it, and the motion passed.
• Barb Motes asked to add discussion of giving small gifts for birthdays, and Tom asked to add discussion of LCEA t-shirts.

Secretary’s Report/ Approval of Minutes: Kim Muta
• Allison Towne moved that the October minutes be approved, Barb Motes seconded the motion, and it passed.

Treasurer’s Report: Jen Doorlag
• Audit: Where are we on this? Jennifer Doorlag shared the treasurer’s report, and she explained that the audit has been completed and is in good order.
• Sharon Crawley suggested a card or something for Jennifer Doorlag and the audit committee. Tom McLaughlin suggested a $20 gift card for Jennifer Doorlag, and thank-you cards for the committee members. A motion was passed.

Negotiations: Beth Frank
• We need to vote to give the negotiation committee the right to make decisions and proposals, etc. Al Lorenz moved that the committee speak for the LCEA Executive Board, Tara York seconded the motion, and it passed.
• Ashley Shipp will be a middle school rep on the committee. Beth Frank hasn’t heard from Robin Reida or Dave Bergman from the high school, yet.
• Beth Frank has written a letter to the Board about meeting on December 4 at 5:30 for LCEA to give our proposal. The initial meetings are open to the public.
• The team met on Tuesday with John Phillips and Pat Shipley about negotiating to get the TQC money and Phase II money put into the salary schedule. It will be a challenge.
• Art Hill talked to Beth Frank about looking at health saving plans. The Board is interested in investigating this. She said that we need an insurance committee to listen to the presentations and discussions. We need someone from each building.

TQC: Barb Motes
• We should have seen the TQC money in our paychecks in November. Barb Motes said that she’s worried about having both of the added professional development days being paid in one month’s paycheck because of taxes.
• Barb Motes explained the discussion on Wednesday, November 7, about market factor pay. The committee suggested to recommend an 80/20 split of that money—80% for endorsement reimbursement (at least partial reimbursement--$150 per credit hour—paid upon completion) and 20% for signing bonus money for hard-to-fill positions.
• Our next task is to monitor the evaluation procedures, so we will need feedback from our membership about how evaluations work within each building. We talked about various rumors regarding evaluation issues. (Tom McLaughlin suggested that we try to offer a workshop on e-portfolios at some point in the year.)
• Another task is to monitor the professional development in the district as well.
• Al Lorenz raised the issue of the February 14/15 days not being related to any type of leave. We don’t take sick, personal, professional days on those days. We need to tell our members that these are NOT Phase III days. They should be there on those days and will be held accountable for learning and work on those days.

President’s Report: Sharon Crawley
• Sharon Crawley reminded building reps to check in with new teachers to the district about how the year is going. She also asked building reps to start monthly meetings with the building principals as a way to keep lines of communication open.
• Sharon Crawley reminded the Exec. Board about the ten-minute meeting idea.
• Sharon Crawley passed another calendar around for attendance at Board meetings.

Committee Reports:
• High School: Sharon Crawley talked about having Pat Shipley and John Phillips attend our faculty meeting to talk about ethics.
• Kreft: There is some anxiety about report cards. Dave Black has scheduled a meeting with teachers to answer questions. Another concern is that the teachers have to put in all of the benchmarks.
• Middle School: Beth Frank talked about teachers covering classes. Some people covered classes during both their team and planning time, but they’re only getting reimbursed for their planning time.
• Titan Hill: There is a flex money problem about daycare money being moved on a regular basis. Art Hill was contacted about it, and he has started working on the issue.

Old Business: (all were covered in President’s Report above)
• Reps setting up monthly meetings with individual building principals
• Ten minute meetings with members
• Building reps information/ check in on new teachers

New Business:
• Attendance to a board meeting (Dave Bergman lost the “official” sign up sheet). (See President’s Report item three above.)
• Public Relations: Committees for education weeks, National Teacher Day, Read Across America, retirees, etc. November 11-17 is American Education Week. Sharon Crawley wants building reps to do something for members to celebrate the week. Tom McLaughlin mentioned the NEA and ISEA websites.
• Public Relations: toy drive, food/book drives, etc. We talked about possibilities to do some service kinds of events and drives.
• Delegate Assembly—Kim Muta talked about delegate assembly, and put in a plug for people to run to be delegates.
• Nomination of Tom McLaughlin for ISEA Vice-President by LCEA—Kim Muta moved that LCEA nominate Tom McLaughlin for ISEA Vice-President, Allison Towne seconded the motion, and the motion passed.
• The calculators and the carabiners have been a hit in the past for birthday presents. Margie Argotsinger and Barb Motes said they were talking about bags with logos this year. Maggie Bennett moved that we do the drawstring bags for birthday gifts, Maggie Miller seconded, and the motion passed.
• Beth Frank moved that we spend $40 per building for American Education Week, Jennifer Hake seconded the motion, and it passed.
• Tom McLaughlin suggested we get LCEA shirts. He would like to bring a sample to the Executive Board to look over.

• Maggie Bennett moved that the meeting be adjourned, Allison Towne seconded, and the meeting adjourned at 5:45.

CLICK HERE for a WORD version of LCEA Meeting Minutes 11.08.07

LCEA Teacher Quality Committee Update on Professional Development Monies


TO: Lewis Central Community Schools Teachers
DATE: 11/08/2007
FROM: the LCEA Executive Board & the LC Teacher Quality Committee
SUBJECT: February 14-15 Professional Development Days

Teacher Quality Monies: Pool One--Salary

As your representatives to the Lewis Central Teacher Quality Committee, we have completed division of the "salary pool" of Teacher Quality monies. We hope that you have noticed the change in your paychecks, that you have double-checked your pay stub with the chart that we have provided via our newsletter and on our website and that you have double-checked the amounts. If you have not yet done so, please take the time to make sure that you are receiving your portion of the $680,000.00 dollars allocated to Lewis Central Community Schools.

Teacher Quality Monies: Pool Two--Professional Development

We have also been at work collaborating with our district and building leadership to meaningfully spend the "professional development pool" of the Teacher Quality monies. We have made an agreement to purchase two professional days (at a per diem rate) on February 14 & 15, 2008. This decision was made after viewing the district's professional development plan, conferring with district leadership and viewing tentative plans provided by our district's building leaders. We have worked with our instructional leadership to build meaningful development on these days.

SPECIAL NOTE: We have agreed that these days are "required" and that "no leaves" will be observed on these days. If you do not atend for any reason--you will not be paid for these days. We have further agreed that you will be responsible for the material presented and the implementation of said material if you are not present on these days. You will receive no remuneration if you are absent for a valid reason.

As professionals we believe that our presence at these important professional development days impacts improvement of "best teaching pracitices" and impacts student learning in a positive manner. We believe that is is our professional responsibility to attend these staff development days. We also believe that attendance at these days is strong evidence of both Standard 7 and Standard 8 of the Iowa Teaching Standards.

Payment for these days of development will be made on the March 1, 2007 paycheck. Remember, that you can change your annuities plans up to four times a year. If you'd like to bank this for your retirement plan(s), you should take the appropriate action with the ERC.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Teacher Quality Committee Minutes November 7, 2008

Teacher Quality Committee – Official Meeting Minutes
Educational Resource Center
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

• Meeting was called to order by Barb Motes at 4:32 p.m.
Present: Barb Motes, Dave Black, Jeanne Bartholow, Chuck Story, Laurie Thies, Kim Jones, Kim Muta, Pat Thomas, Al Lorenz, Sean Dunphy, Marilyn Wandersee, Tom McLaughlin, Kent Stopak, Linda Hahn, Mark Schweer
Absent: Barb Grell

• Sean Dunphy moved that the minutes from the October 10, 15, 17, & 25, 2007 meetings be approved. Chuck Story seconded. Voice vote was taken and approved.

• Market Factor Pay
* The committee reviewed a newspaper article explaining how the Council Bluffs School District intends to use Market Factor Pay.
* The amount of Market Factor Pay including last year’s amount that was not used is approximately $34,000.
* After considerable discussion, the consensus of the committee was that 20% of the Market Factor Pay would be used in the form of hiring bonuses and the remaining 80% would be used to provide incentives for teachers within the system to acquire endorsements in areas determined by the administration. Additionally, related to the “endorsement” pathway, it was suggested that there would be an application process and that an amount of $150 per credit hour would be provided to those teachers who would be selected to seek additional endorsements, and also a retention provision. Kent Stopak, Sean Dunphy, Tom McLaughlin, and Jeannie Bartholow volunteered to serve on an ad-hoc committee that would come back to the committee with an application form and other pertinent details for the committee to review at our December 6th meeting.

• A question was raised regarding the two (2) additional professional development days that will occur on February 14 & 15. The understanding of this committee was that these two days are outside the contract. In other words, one could not use any leave provision and be excused from these days and be paid. Bottom line, if one is not in attendance, one will not be paid. As a further clarification, attendance is not optional.

• Our next meeting date is December 6, 2007 at 4:30. Agenda items will include (1) finalizing a recommendation on the use of Market Factor Pay and (2) reviewing the teacher performance instrument along with the model evidence that would be required. A suggestion was made that committee members bring a laptop to the meeting.
• Meeting adjourned at 6:02 p.m.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Education funding bill moves forward but Bush still promises veto:

The education appropriations bill for FY08, part of a spending bill that funds critical education, health care, and labor programs for the next fiscal year, was approved by the House-Senate conference committee last week. Despite being packaged with the spending bill for the Veterans Administration that the President supports, the bill (HR 3043) still faces a veto by Bush. The bill is slated for a House floor vote the afternoon of November 6 with the Senate to follow later this week.

The conference committee bill provides an overall increase for NCLB programs of $1.6 billion (+6.84%) compared to the current year’s funding.This is $601 million above the President’s request.

NCLB programs that would receive significant increases include the following:

* Title I grants: +$1.47 billion (+11.5%)
* Title I School Improvement Grants: +$375 million (+300%)
* Teacher Quality State Grants; +$150 million (+5.2%)
* 21st Century Community Learning Centers (After school program): +$100 million (+10.2%)
English Language Acquisition State Grants: +$54 million (+8%)
* Other education programs outside of NCLB that would receive significant increases include IDEA State Grants for special education: +$509 million (+4.7%) and Pell Grants for college students: +$837 million (+6.1%)

NEA Executive Committee member Marsha Smith said at a Capitol Hill news conference last week that Bush's threatened veto of the education bill "undermines the public's support for investing in our children and America's future." Smith, a long-time middle-school health and physical education teacher, offered a first-hand account of how budget decisions made in Washington affect everyday Americans, especially educators. She urged the President to work with Congress to pass a sensible and responsible spending bill that invests in children and public education.

If the President does follow through with his veto threat, the next steps are not clear. The current Continuing Resolution (used to fund the government programs if a formal appropriations bill has not been signed into law by the end of the fiscal year) expires on November 16th, so Congress would have to extend that CR again.

NEA continues work on bills to improve ESEA

With the pace of reauthorization slowing considerably, NEA is taking advantage of the extra time to continue pressing for significant changes to ESEA.

Last week, NEA sent a letter to every senator seeking cosponsors for two bills that would improve assessment systems and offer more meaningful accountability for measuring school and student achievement: the Improving Student Testing Act of 2007 (S. 2053), introduced by Senators Feingold, D-WI, and Leahy, D-VT, and the No Child Left Behind Reform Act (S. 1194), introduced by Senators Dodd, D-CT, and Salazar, D-CO.

And NEA continues to work with the coalition backing the No Child Left Inside Act, a new $100 million a year initiative that would strengthen environment education programs in America’s classrooms. The coalition last week called on Congress to pass the bill. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, and Rep. John Sarbanes, D-MD, and supported by key education and environmental organizations.

Overall, there are now 122 bills on ESEA reauthorization that NEA supports. The latest additions include 6 Senate bills and 5 House bills. There are also 7 where we have no position and 18 we oppose. As always, the list of NEA-backed bills is on the Legislative Action Center on

Congress unlikely to act on ESEA reauthorization this year

NEA ESEA expert Joel Packer says the House Education and Labor Committee has yet to release a new draft bill or schedule a markup for ESEA reauthorization legislation, and it’s looking less and less likely to happen. On the Senate side, things don’t look much different. An Associated Press story over the weekend said that Senators Edward Kennedy, D-MA, and Mike Enzi, R-WY, who lead the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, have decided there is not enough time this year to finish work on the reauthorization draft.

Both Senator Kennedy and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller are deeply disappointed with President Bush’s failure to fully fund the law over the past six years, which has resulted in a $56 billion shortfall. The President's promise to veto this year’s education funding bill has further alienated the committee leaders.

In a major article in today’s Washington Post (“An Unlikely Partnership Left Behind”), Miller’s frustration with the President and NCLB is apparent: "’At the end of the day, it may be the most tainted brand in America,’ Miller mused. ‘If a consumer went to the shelf, they would not pick No Child Left Behind.’ A major reason, he said, is the product sponsor. ‘There's more resentment that the law is connected with George Bush than anything else. It's the biggest anchor that you're trying to work with something that's considered his franchise.’"

In the same piece, Kennedy admits to having been overly optimistic about the pace and progress of the reauthorization effort: "’I thought we would have a faster kind of process.’ But, he said, ‘No Child Left Behind, rather than being a flagship for improved strength and enhanced opportunity of e ducation for the children, has become a symbol of controversial, flawed and failed policy.’"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

ISEA wins Supreme Court case protecting bargaining rights

ISEA Advocacy Services has won a huge victory for educators in a contract dispute that went all the way to the Iowa Supreme Court. In the case involving the Waterloo Education Association and the Waterloo school district, the high court ruled on Oct. 19 that the issue of overload pay is a mandatory subject of bargaining. The Association sought to negotiate overload pay for persons teaching more than a specified number of minutes or periods within the school day.

Iowa's collective bargaining law, also known as Chapter 20, outlines a "laundry list" of topics which are mandatory subjects of bargaining. Other topics are deemed "permissive," which means the employer can refuse to even discuss the issue. In a previous case, the court had ruled that a similar overload pay proposal was permissive and suggested any bargaining proposal impacting on a management right, as outlined in Chapter 20, would be held permissive. ISEA knew this original ruling posed a real threat to bargaining rights and represented the Waterloo Education Association in this second case to protect the scope of bargaining for teachers and other public employees. The case eventually reached the Iowa Supreme Court whose decision allows public employees to return to the bargaining table with overload proposals that must be negotiated by the employer. In addition, the court ruled the "management rights infringement" test need not be applied when the topic of the proposal clearly falls within the definition of an item on the mandatory list in Chapter 20.