Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teacher Quality Committee Minutes--10/30/2008

Lewis Central – Teacher Quality Committee Meeting Minutes
October 30, 2008

TQC was called to order at 4:33 by Dave Black.

Members present: Barb Motes, Dave Black, Al Lorenz, Pat Thomas, Kim Muta, Kim Jones, Jeanne Bartholow, Chuck Story, Barb Grell, Linda Hahn, Kent Stopak

Members absent: Tom McLaughlin, Sean Dunphy, Mark Schweer, Laurie Thies

Motion by Chuck Story, seconded by Barb Motes, to approve the minutes of the September meeting. Motion carried.

Implementation of Teacher Supervision and Evaluation Process

Administrators for Titan Hill, Kreft, and the High School presented how they monitored the staff: who is where on the three year cycle, an overview of what the process looked like in each building, and where they were in the process of evaluation those on cycle this year. Middle School’s presentation will be at the next meeting.

Titan Hill – Kent Stopak

Stopak explained that Genie Wickham and he divided staff on cycle into two groups. Wickham works with the first and second year teachers, while he does the others. They have 4-5 meetings scheduled for all staff. Those on cycle meet with the administrators while the others meet with peers to discuss their Career Development plans. All staff members have Career Development plans. All teachers on cycle turn in a week’s worth of lesson plans four times a year. Administrators are on track to have all the first observations completed by December. Dave Black asked if all new teachers had mentors and if every staff member was on the right stage of the cycle. Stopak affirmed that was true.

Stopak explained that he uses the pre-observation form but modifies question eight, which asks what data the principal could collect. He rephrases it during the discussion with the teacher to “What information can I collect for you that will help you reflect on your teaching?” He explained that this is to move the question information from data on students to data on how a teacher works with students. Barb Grell explained that she also had her staff talk about this question in a similar way to Kent’s question.

There was discussion on whether the evaluation document should be changed to reflect this new question. If administrators thought that is provided better information than the current phrasing, shouldn’t it be in the document? It was decided to leave it for now, with the option of returning to it at a later date.

There was discussion on the two groups, Wickham’s group and Stopak’s group. Muta asked if this was two different systems with different forms. Motes spoke about how the process was supposed to be the same in each building, including the forms used. Stopak explained that he and Wickham used the pre-observation form in the Evaluation Handbook. There was not a second form. Muta asked about the lesson plan requirement. Did teachers have to fill in form? Stopak explained that Wickham had tried working through the form with a few teachers, but it didn’t provide them with the information they thought it would. Now teachers on cycle turn in a copy of their plans. There is not a form required. Muta clarified that the Stopak was saying that the discussion occurring were more valuable than the form used and teachers were not evaluated. Stopak agreed.

Muta asked about the process Stopak mentioned when explaining what Wickham was doing with her on-cycle group. He explained that Wickham works with the first and second year teachers using the Explicit Instruction Model. This is from the Every Child Reads initiative. Wickham meets individually with a teacher to work through a process to create the teacher’s lesson plan. Muta wanted to know if teachers were evaluated on this process. Motes asked if it was a different path. Stopak explained it was more like a professional development piece. Wickham is teaching them a method for creating lesson plans. Motes asked it teachers would have to do it once they were past the second year and Stopak said not at this point. Lorenz stated that professional development is overwhelming as it is. Was this explicit instruction just another thing to do? Stopak explained that it is a support to a new teacher. The administrator talks through designing a lesson with the teacher, coaching them, rather than having a new teacher do it cold and on their own. Motes clarified that the evaluation piece was still the pre-observation form and not this lesson discussion. She wondered if Wickham could show the TQC how this worked. Stopak reported that the staff response was favorable. Thomas wanted to know if this explicit instruction was new so it wasn’t reasonable to expect new teachers how to do it. Stopak replied that colleges were not giving new teachers enough instruction. Black said it is professional development; one more way that we can help teachers. Stopak said it fit with the current building professional development. Muta asked if the plan was for everyone in the building to do it this way. Stopak said no. Black said it is just one more strategy a teacher can use. Grell said that information about explicit instruction was available on the Every Child Reads website. Thomas mentioned that is was similar to what teachers in Second Chance Reading do.

Kreft – Barb Grell

Grell presented a list of where all the staff was regarding the evaluation cycle. She mentioned this may change if staff changes occur. She explained that she meets with all her staff for an overview of the evaluation cycle. She speaks with all the staff currently on-cycle again to go over the document and the standards. She also modifies question eight as she goes over pre-observation forms with teachers. She stated that all on-cycle people will be observed once by the end of November. She explained that for those teachers whose time is split between buildings are observed by administrators at both buildings. Information is shared and the summative is then the responsibility of one building administrator.

Black asked several questions. Have all Career Development plans been turned in and are they aligned with building professional development? Was anyone accelerated? Did all new staff have mentors? Grell said yes, but technically Career Development plans aren’t due until Oct. 31. Motes asked how important was it that all staff be evaluated every three years. Black explained that it was a priority for Dr. Schweer and that they were trying to ensure that no one was missed. Motes pointed out that Grell is the only administrator in her building and other buildings had at least two. Who did Grell talk to when she had questions? Grell explained that she spoke to Black and Schweer, as well as some other building administrators.

High School – Chuck Story

Story provided a sheet with his staff broken down into groups with one of the four administrators assigned to each group. When assigning the administrator, the High School administrative team looked at the curricular strengths of the administrator, how many observations need to be done each year and the amount of time needed to complete those observations. Story expects to have most of the first observations done by winter break. He is working with the staff to develop smart goals that tie to building and district goals. He stated that it has taken three years to get all staff on the evaluation cycle in the right spot. He reported that he ensures the original of the summative is filed at ERC while the teacher and he get a copy. He explained that the spotlight is a program at the High School where a different teacher is chosen each month and the students write about that person for a wall display.

Black asked his questions about mentoring and first year teachers. Story responded that all were matched. He also explained how they work with teachers who share time between buildings and how it is similar to the elementary schools. Kim Jones explained that she meets 1:1 with her people since it is hard to get everyone together at one time. They go through all the forms and steps together.

Muta asked Story to explain what the evaluation for activity people looks like. Story deferred to Motes. She said they discuss goals, strengths, areas to work on, budget, equipment needs, supplies, and the like. Story said its purpose was to see what could be done to make things better for the students and the teacher. Motes praised Mike Hale, the administrator doing activity evaluations, saying he puts in lot of face time; more than she has seen anyone do before. Black said that there needs to be an instructional attachment so this was a good approach. Story said they were looking into ways to help Hale by using off season coaches to help with some areas of coverage at events. Al Lorenz asked if the forms Hale uses should be in the document as an addendum. Black said they never have been. Since the contracts are separate, the state doesn’t require it.

Jones explained how they do observational walk-throughs. She said they had divided the building into pods and each administrator rotated through them. That kept a teacher from having several people walk through her room because they didn’t realize others had done so previously. Muta said that was helpful. She also said that the more often administrators do it; the less disruptive it will be for students. It won’t be such a big deal to have the principal in the room.

Middle School – no administrator present, will hold until November meeting

Iowa Core Curriculum

Dave Black provided a financial breakdown to show how much money was in the fund for this item. He also provided a form that explained how the money may be used LC to carry out the expectations of Iowa Core. He explained that unused monies would be rolled over into the next year’s fund to take care of the next stage of implementation.

There was also a document that explained the vision of Iowa Core. Black explained that this will change the way we do curriculum development and refinement in the district. Muta asked when teachers would get access to the real core curriculum. Black replied that the website does not yet have it. Right now there are standards for reading, math and science at the 9-12 level. The benchmarks are broad and vague. The plan is to create grade level bands (primary, intermediate, middle, high), but they are not completed. State level teams are working on this. Amy Higgenbotham (writing), Nancy File (math), and Trudie Kimball (reading) are some LC people on those teams. There are not yet documents that show what is in the core.

Black explained that this year is about processes and solid design methodology, not the actual curriculum. The State has created a unit planning form and is working on creating models, samples, and processes to assist school districts. The purpose this year is to train LC staff to do this for our district. The District Leadership Team (DLT) will be involved at this level. He explained that there would be six morning sessions that the DLT would attend. Funds would be used to pay for food, transportation and substitutes for the teachers on the DLT to complete this work.

Black then proposed a motion to approve the use of Teacher Quality money for the Iowa Core Curriculum to pay for teachers on the DLT to develop the needed portions of this plan. Motes moved, and Muta seconded, to take a vote. Bartholow did not vote since there was one more teacher than administrator at the meeting.

Lorenz – abstained, Motes – yes, Thomas – yes, Muta – yes, Jones – yes, Story – yes, Grell – yes, Hahn – yes, Stopak – yes, Black – yes

Motion passed.

Review Membership

Black asked if there had been any response to the request for new members for the TQC. Muta said she hadn’t heard from the elementary school representatives yet, but would put it on the LCEA agenda. Black said if they knew who it was, to let him know and he would add it to the Board agenda. He also said the new member could attend meetings, but not vote, prior to Board approval.

Next Meeting

The meeting will be November 19th, at 4:30. Items to discuss include: reflection on the October PD days, the Middle School Evaluation plan, and membership.

Muta moved to adjourn. Seconded by Grell. Motion passed and meeting adjourned at 5:47.

Minutes submitted by Jeanne Bartholow