Friday, October 9, 2009

LCEA Executive Board Meeting Minutes 10/08/2009

LCEA October Meeting Minutes
Date: 10/08/2009
Place: Middle School Media Center
Time: 4:15

Roll Call: Barb Motes, Kim McLaughlin, Jennifer Doorlag, Dave Bergman (absent), Tom McLaughlin
HS Reps: Allison Towne, Brian Johnson (absent), Ruth Kreger, Sharon Crawley
MS Reps: Margot Argotsinger, Beth Frank, Al Lorenz, Dot Sillau
TH Reps: Lisa Scieszinski, Joanna Stenlund (absent), Kathy Dorsey, Farah Guetter
Kreft Reps: LoriAnn Brougham (absent), Lee Dwyer (absent), Angie Tucker

Approval of Agenda (Barb Motes)

Secretary’s Report (Kim McLaughlin)
• May 2009 minutes: Towne moved that the May minutes be approved, Kreger seconded it, and the motion passed.
• September 2009 minutes: Frank moved that the September minutes be approved, Towne seconded it, and the motion passed.

Treasurer’s Report (Jen Doorlag)
• We’re getting ready for the audit. It’s due by November. We need three members to look over last year’s books.
• We finally received a bill for the delegate assembly from the ERC. That has now been paid. (There is a correction, moving that payment to the substitute line.)
• The check to ISEA has been sent now. (It was written in August, but was not sent.)
• Frank moved that the treasurer’s report be approved, Argotsinger seconded it, and the motion passed.

Building Reports
• Kreft: There is nothing to report right now, since it is the protocol to deal with building issues on that level first.
• Titan Hill: There were interviews for a new position, but there is some question about whether a budget cut will eliminate that position before it even gets off the ground. The number of students continues to grow. An issue about the schedules of some Title I positions (inequitable planning time given) has been raised with T. McLaughlin as grievance chair. The building reps have not met with Stopak yet about this.
• Middle school: The use of Capturing Kids’ Hearts has been effective so far. The consistency from room to room is better.
• High school: There are some issues coming up in relationship to the upcoming site visit. The core departments have been asked to have regular education teachers attach their names to grade books of the pull-out special education classes. The problem is that only two special education teachers have endorsements in the areas in which they are teaching pull-out classes. We talked about asking John Phillips to check into the legitimacy of this practice, just to verify that Thies has interpreted the law. Motes said that it is an expectation that building principals will meet monthly with Association reps, and we should be taking advantage of that opportunity.

President’s Report (Barb Motes)
• Budget: It is in cyberspace. We are basing a budget on 160+ members at $34 dues per member. With the idea of doing four dinners, one for each building, we will go over budget. Motes also raised the idea of prorating the “appreciation” money for members per building.
• Dinners: The nights are Oct. 13, Nov. 10, Jan. 12, and Feb. 9. Kreger is leading the high school group for Oct. 13. In October, the dinner will be at Riverside Grill. The goal is to get a varied group of members invited to the dinners, so we can benefit from a variety of viewpoints.
• Towne moved that each building be given $7.50 per member for celebration of appreciation weeks so the individual buildings have the permission to spend up to their amount without further voting, and Dorsey seconded it. T. McLaughlin said that we really need to also do some things to be visible (packets, banners, etc.) during those weeks. The motion passed.
• Meeting with Schweer: Motes asked about the early dismissal days, and Schweer said that they are not mandated by the State, they are not funded by the State, and those days do not have to follow IPDM. In terms of the planning of those professional development days, those are supposed to be determined by the teachers within the buildings. That is according to Schweer. T. McLaughlin said that Schweer has a clear vision of how district leadership relates to building leadership and to content areas. However, that vision doesn’t seem as clear to the rest of us.
• T. McLaughlin shared information about IPERS. The thirteenth check might disappear because the fund is exhausting itself.
• T. McLaughlin also shared some concerns about the way complaints against teachers are handled. He will send out a packet of info on policies and forms related to this issue.

Committee Reports
• Membership (Kim McLaughlin): The current total of our membership is 163 now that Ashley Wilson’s form has been located.
• Negotiations (Beth Frank): The Board needs to give the team authority to bargain. T. McLaughlin made the motion, Towne seconded it, and the motion passed. Bargaining training will take place in Frank’s room on Tuesday, Oct. 13. There is also an ISEA Bargaining Conference in Des Moines. Surveys are coming for our membership to fill out in order to give the negotiations team some direction.

Old Business
• T-shirt order:
• Building meetings with principals: See above.
• Dinners with members: See above.

• Argotsinger moved that the meeting be adjourned, Towne seconded it, and the meeting adjourned at 5:25.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

LCEA Executive Board Meeting Minutes 09/10/2009

LCEA September Meeting Minutes
Date: 09/10/2009
Place: High School—Room 403
Time: 4:15

Roll Call: Barb Motes, Kim McLaughlin, Jennifer Doorlag, Dave Bergman, Tom McLaughlin HS Reps: Allison Towne (absent), Brian Johnson (absent), Ruth Kreger (absent), Sharon Crawley (absent)
MS Reps: Margot Argotsinger, Beth Frank, Al Lorenz, Dot Sillau
TH Reps: Lisa Scieszinski, Joanna Stenlund, Kathy Dorsey (absent), Farah Guetter (absent)
Kreft Reps: LoriAnn Brougham (absent), Lee Dwyer (absent), Angie Tucker (absent)

Approval of Agenda (Barb Motes)
• One addition to the agenda was made by Beth Frank.

Secretary’s Report (Kim McLaughlin)
• No corrections were made to the May minutes.

Treasurer’s Report (Jen Doorlag)
• We have still not been billed for the substitutes used for the Delegate Assembly on April 2-3, 2009.
• Doorlag will add a new line on the treasurer’s report that will account for the new teacher incentive money for which we are reimbursed by ISEA.

Building Reports
• Kreft: No report.
• Titan Hill: So far, so good.  Class sizes are very large, though.
• Middle school: Kids have been told that they will not move on if they fail their classes. They’re getting immediate feedback for disciplinary issues.
• High school: We have had a good start to the year.

President’s Report (Barb Motes)
• Budget: Motes shared a proposed budget that we looked over.
• Public relation funds per building: Motes suggested that giving the same amount of money to each building may not be fair since some buildings have many more teachers. She wants the executive board to think about that issue.

Committee Reports
• Membership: K. McLaughlin shared an updated list of members. The official number is 162 as of this date.
• Yearly activities:
• TQC and Phase II: The total of the TQC is $1,029,371.12. Phase II is $208,966.88. The grand total is $1,238,338.00. Final distribution numbers for individual teachers has not been figured out yet. Frank should be receiving information from the ERC soon.
• Hospitality: Please email Beth Frank with information about deaths, births, etc.
• Negotiations: There is training in October (10/17/09) and November. A survey will be coming in a month or so.

Old Business
• T-shirts: The Booster Club is working on their website, so Motes is trying to contact them with the order.

New Business
• Livingston was elected to the Board of Directors. He has ties to education, and he should be good to work with.
• Motes will contact Doreen Scheffel about a possible dinner with Board members.

• The meeting adjourned at 5:14.

Friday, July 24, 2009

McLaughlin Voted to National NEA Executive Board

Tom McLaughlin has recently taken the "helm" of the National Education Association's Peace & Justice Caucus website, listserv and blog. Tom is excited about his new position that will allow him to work on behalf of the brave citizens of Chiapas, Mexico.

Please take a look at the Campaign of Hope that he has organized at the national level to benefit the citizens of Chiapas, Mexico. They truly deserve our consideration, prayers and support.

The freedoms and rights that we take as "automatic" are a daily battle for them. We salute them for their bravery.

We also salute Paul Mann (a 37 year educator from Des Moines, a friend and foil of Tom's, who has been honored this year with the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award: the Applegate-Dorros Award for Peace and International Understanding.

Please watch the NEA Peace & Justice Caucuses video honoring "One Mann Who Made the Difference."

Works for Me Starting School Tips by Teachers for Teachers

Starting School and Eating Right

From Joanne Tickner (, a speech and language therapist for Midland Public Schools in Midland, Michigan:

"With the start of the new school year just a few weeks away, you can do yourself a favor by freezing some of your favorite dinners now. As you have (perhaps) a little more time now than you will when the year begins, simply double the recipes you make, and label and freeze for those nights when you come home late and are too tired to cook. It can make the stress of beginning a new year seem a little less. It can also help keep you from snacking on unhealthy foods if you know you have something prepared waiting for you at home."
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Emergency Plans
From Ronda Christoph (, an English teacher at Pulaski School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

"Near the beginning of the year, I make an emergency lesson plan box. I use an empty file folder box. In it, I place a packet of work that will cover a block schedule period. I make enough copies for all my classes, including an answer sheet and detailed plans for a substitute to teach the worksheets in the packet. I then add a copy of my seating chart and class lists. I put this box under or near my desk in case I have an emergency where I am unable to make other plans. I let my department chair know about my plan box, so she does not have to suddenly create plans for my substitute."
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Question of the Week: Using Humor
From the Works4Me Worker Bees:

"We've all heard the refrain, ‘Don't smile until Christmas.’ The idea is to establish classroom discipline early in the school year by being a tough, stern figure of authority. But there is another way. Humor can be a very effective classroom management tool. Humor can diffuse or de-escalate behavior problems, help students relax, and enable students to be more willing to experiment with new ideas and be less afraid to make mistakes. How do you create a classroom that encourages the positive use of humor?"
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A Child is More than a Test Score

Will NCLB Be Left Behind?

By Alain Jehlen

There’ll be some changes made in the No Child Left Behind law if proposals being put forward by officials of the Department of Education win approval in Congress. There's been no formal announcement and not much in the way of details, but some important elements have been reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post:

No more “adequate yearly progress,” which 30 percent of schools already can’t make.

No more “utopian” (Secretary Arne Duncan’s term) 2014 deadline for every student in America to be “proficient.”

Instead, a new goal: All students must leave high school “college or career ready.” What does that mean? A consortium of states is working on common standards to define it.

All in all, the proposal for a new law is expected to be patterned on the current “Race To The Top,” which is part of the Obama Administration's economic recovery program. One feature of Race To The Top is heavy pressure on states to evaluate teachers on the basis of student test scores. Most teachers consider that unfair because student scores depend on many factors over which teachers have no control. NEA leaders say tying test scores to teacher evaluation would also be counterproductive because it would punish teachers for taking on the hardest challenges in the most difficult schools, where extraordinary effort is needed just to get average test scores.

Another feature of Race To The Top which federal education leaders reportedly want to use in a revamped NCLB is a competitive grant approach to doling out the billions. Officials have said they want to move away from formula funding—giving out money according to how many students a state serves in various categories, such as low-income. That’s how most of the money has been distributed since the law was first passed as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act under President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.

The new idea is to get schools to do what Washington thinks is best by making states and districts compete for the limited federal money.

The Bush Administration strategy was mostly to get schools to change by punishing them. President Obama seems inclined to reverse that. Or as Teddy Roosevelt didn’t say, “Speak loudly but carry a big carrot.”

Earlier this month, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) issued a report titled "Education at the Crossroads" proposing a very different vision of the state and federal roles in education.

The federal government, said a bipartisan panel of state legislators, should focus on outcomes, like cutting the drop-out rate, and let states and local districts decide how to get there. Federal officials are “not very good about dealing with student achievement and school reform because they use a cookie-cutter, top-down approach focused on process, not results,” said NCSL staff member David Shreve. He said some of the requirements imposed by federal officials for states applying for Race To The Top Funds have “little to do with student achievement.”

“There’s a better way to support schools than being involved in day-to-day matters,” Shreve said.

In addition to the major substantive changes he will propose for the law, Secretary Duncan has made clear that he also wants a new name. “No Child Left Behind,” which once sounded so good that nobody could be against it, has become a symbol of federal initiatives gone wrong.

NEA has been running a marathon, online brainstorming session to come up with a good new name. Click here to read some of the entries so far and add your own.

That discussion board is part of a broader forum in which educators are talking about how NCLB affects their students and debating a wide range of ideas for changing NCLB.

Martin Richter wrote:
"Part of the genius of American education has been that [it] encourages creativity and innovation. If we begin to emphasize test-taking and pencil/paper activities, we are likely to develop a nation of people who are good at taking tests, and very little else."

Jane Watson wrote:
"The biggest problem is poverty. Politicians need to realize that parents need to be paid a living wage and that it's not the teacher’s fault if the child is hungry or ill. (In Yakima, the school board gave the retiring superintendent a $300,000 retirement, but has not yet settled with the paraeducators, most of whom bring home less than $1,000 a month.)"

Many of those who commented agree on some important ideas: Stop the test score obsession, one size doesn't fit all, parents and society must share responsibility. But it's a free-wheeling debate with some energetic disagreements.

Join in and speak your mind!

Friday, May 29, 2009

THANK YOU for Standing in Solidarity with YOUR Association, YOUR Profession and for What is Right: An Editorial on Our Arbitration

On May 28, 2008 I was proud--and still am--to be a member of the LCEA. On May 28, 2008, I was proud--and still am--of being a member of the ISEA. On May 28, 2008, I was ashamed--and still am--in the behavior of our school district's advocates who represent our school system's leadership. I feel that this commentary is in order.

Tom McLaughlin
SWUU President, ISEA

An Editorial on the Arbitration of LCEA vs. LCCS
by Tom McLaughlin, SWUU President
“...The credit belongs to [those] who [are] actually in the arena, whose faces are marred by dust and sweat..., who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
--Teddy Roosevelt

I am relieved that the arbitrator's decision has finally arrived. As expected, he agreed with the Association on several main points. One of the many reasons that I continue to wear my membership as a badge of honor He agreed that Lewis Central does have the money to afford its teachers the raise they deserve; he agreed that when comparing salaries across the state that the Association's position and facts were "in-line" and "more-than-reasonable" when compared to other state averages; he disagreed, however, that our insurance issue (which was settled months before arbitration without contest) could be divorced from his decision. In short, he believed that it was this single issue (that our board did not contest for months) alone that "tipped the scales in favor of the school district.

We can be proud in the representation that our Association brought to the hearing. We can be proud in our customary "professional" behavior. We can be proud that we "held the line" after years of hallow promises that one day "when the district had the money, it would pay our teachers what they deserved." The day came--it went--and when all was said and done, a situation that could have been convivial was reduced to profanity and name calling. The district had the opportunit to give a "top-notch" staff a "top-notch" salary but it refused to do so; instead, it chose to use "hired guns" to demonstrate how it really feels about its teachers.

Although it kills part of this editorialist's soul to admit this, we should not be disappointed that our board contested our offer. It is the job of management to maximize the amount of productivity that it can yeild from the state's "third most educated faculty." We should, however, be disappointed with the language, the demeanor and the "attitude" that met our distinguished faculty at the arbitration hearing. Mr. Phillips, a 30 year veteran of the ISEA, was clear in his rebuttal statement that, "there are two sides to every story" and that this arbitration was "intended to tell both sides without "inflammatory language" and disdain.

In a situation like ours a "win-win" scenario might be a bit ambitious to expect. However, a "lose-lose" scenario is foolish. It's foolish for anyone who is a smart manager. It's foolish for anyone who is a strong leader. How could a competent leadership team hope to alientate the state's third most educated facutly. Apparantley, there was more going on at the table than reason.

Unfortunately, for us, the conversation "twisted" into a maze of terribly colored "ad homenum" arguments, profanity, polarization and disrespect. It was unneeded. It was unwarranted. It seems to characterize the feelings of our leadership and our board.

Mr. Hoskins was loose with language, generalizations, colored-points-of-view and quick with profanity. Mr. Gruhn's condescending, insolent and dismissive attitude might have been worse. One might not expect a "choral number" in an arbitration hearing; however, one should expect more than a premature, inappropriate eulogy.

Thank goodness that the LCEA and our district's teachers, our chief negotiator and our ISEA Uniserv Directors were present in great number do demonstate and model what professional behavior should look like.

I was ashamed of our community when I watched its advocates at work. There are more professional ways to make an argument that to use inappropriate language or to dismisse sound arguments with disdain. I was proud of our Association. We are in the arena each day, we stood our ground, we behaved professionally and--even if we lost the battle--we stood for what was right, what was righteous and we need to be proud of our solidarity, our strength and what we accompish (beyond the chuckling of our elected officials at the dismissive language) with our students each and every day.

We lose nothing by standing together for what we earn. We lose mountains by watching our leaders and their advocates throw stones at the castles and the dreams that we build.

Thank you for being the ISEA. Thank you for being the LCEA. Although I know you didn't hear it in the rhetoric at our arbitration hearing, thank you for changing live positively each and every day. Stand proud for standing unified against a district that promised to pay its teachers when it had the money. It had the money this year. We took freezes for two years. It chose to pay outsiders to prevent us from getting the $15.00 extra on the base vs. those in the trenches each and every day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Protesting L.A. teachers arrested outside district offices

1:24 PM | May 15, 2009

About 45 Los Angeles teachers and union leaders were arrested and booked for unlawful assembly outside school district headquarters today after they sat in the middle of the street and refused to move in an act of civil disobedience meant to protest possible layoffs.

Among those detained outside Los Angeles Unified District offices on Beaudry Street, between Third and Fourth streets, was L.A. teachers union leader A.J. Duffy. The protesters were warned four times by police via bullhorn to move out of the street before they were handcuffed. They were then led to a waiting Los Angeles Police Department bus.

The teachers' action was part of a protest against budget cuts that could include thousands of layoffs.

Schools throughout Los Angeles were disrupted today as thousands of teachers called in sick and hundreds of high school students walked out of classrooms to protest the budget cutbacks at the nation's second-largest school district.

Teachers said they planned to storm the district's headquarters and "jump on some desks" as an act of civil disobedience, according to a memo circulated to officials by schools Police Chief Lawrence Manion.

District officials said they did not plan to make arrests. But if arrests became necessary, they would let Los Angeles Police Department officers step in.

About 700 more teachers than usual called in sick today in the Los Angeles Unified School District, days after a judge ordered the teachers union to call off a planned one-day strike. Today's actions occurred despite a renewed warning from the judge against violations of his order.

On a normal Friday in May, about 2,300 of the district's 34,000 teachers would be out of class. Several hundreds of these are scheduled absences for school-related duties, such as meetings to update individual education plans for disabled students. But the overall call for substitute teachers was about one-third higher than normal.

The teachers' union Thursday requested hundreds of substitutes -- that it planned to pay for -- to allow selected teachers to leave class to participate in acts of civil disobedience, some of which were intended to lead to arrests.

A flier at one school called for teachers to put up anti-district posters on their classroom doors and to lead class discussions relevant to the labor dispute. This news was enough to send district officials hurrying back to court. L.A. County Superior Judge James C. Chalfant declined to issue a new order but warned that his original order remained in effect, according to district lawyers.

The union, United Teachers Los Angeles, has contended that its actions would not violate the court order.

Students have joined the fray, walking out of class at several high schools and holding sit-ins in support of teachers. About 500 students at Garfield High School in East L.A. walked out of campus this morning and sat in the central yard. Later, the students were moved to the bleachers, and a sound system was provided by the school so students could discuss why they didn't want teachers laid off. The group dispersed after a break and about 150 returned to the bleachers afterward.

At Jordan High School in South L.A., some 200 students gathered in the quad to show their solidarity with teachers and another 200 at Maywood Academy in Maywood walked out of class. Shortly after the nutrition bell rang at 11 a.m. at Franklin High School in Highland Park, hundreds of students chose not to return to their classrooms.

"We care about the teachers," Jasmine Guerrero, a senior, said in a phone interview. "But it's more about us. One teacher for 45 students, it's not a productive learning environment."

The mood was quiet this morning at Huntington Drive Elementary, an outpost on the district's eastern front, where Supt. Ramon C. Cortines sat in for Principal Roberto Salazar, who was attending his doctoral graduation at USC. Cortines arrived at El Sereno school shortly after 7 a.m. and after walking the campus, strode out front to talk with teachers picketing outside.

The union had scheduled pre-school picketing across L.A. Unified and a post-school rally in place of the strike to spare teachers the risk of $1,000 fines and the possible loss of their teaching credentials for violating the court order.

The presence of Cortines with picketers triggered rumors through the union network that Cortines was walking the line with teachers. That was not true, but he shook hands with each teacher, exchanged introductions and talked shop.

"You can't be doing this for a better principal," a teacher told him, thanking him for filling in. At least a dozen of the school's 45 teachers were picketing and cars honked their support as they drove past on busy Huntington Drive. Three teachers were absent. Student enrollment was normal for the school of 600 students.

Teachers at the school had voted strongly in support of the union's call for a one-day walkout, said faculty members, but some picketers also expressed relief that it would not be taking place.

"I did not want to walk out," said Maureen Barbosa, a special education preschool teacher who was walking the line. "But we also don't think our pay should be cut. I struggle to make a living and my husband could lose his job at any time."

She added that she could accept unpaid furlough days as a last resort. Cortines did not pass up the opportunity to launch a charm offensive.

"Obviously, the teachers here care about their kids," he said as he walked the asphalt playground. "You can see how much these children like their school."

Parent Adela Castellanas, who is taking a morning class for adults at the campus, also praised the school but told Cortines she was concerned about security at a middle school in the area.

UTLA has been vying to reverse the possible layoff of as many as 2,500 teachers. An additional 2,600 non-teachers also could lose their jobs under a budget plan aimed at closing a $596.1 million deficit. That projected deficit grew by about $250 million Thursday under the latest state budget revision from Gov. Schwarzenegger.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Obama's Budget for Education

Not withstanding the nation's financial difficulties, last week President Obama released his detailed request for the 2010 federal budget. The President's proposals, if adopted by Congress, generally provide real progress in children's policy, especially when combined with the significant funding for children in the economic recovery bill. These include education and early childhood initiatives from preschool through college, as well as measures to reduce health disparities and increase job training.

With 13.7 million people unemployed and 5.7 million jobs lost since the start of the recession, expansion of services for vulnerable people is essential. The Coalition on Human Needs has released a detailed analysis on what this would mean for many children's programs. Some of those who will receive more help include:

Babies, Toddlers, and Young Children

Head Start and Early Head Start grow by $122 million in the President's plan, from a combined $7.113 billion in FY 2009 to $7.235 billion in FY 2010. The growth is in addition to the $2.1 billion in temporary economic recovery funding. Together, these proposals support doubling the number of children in Early Head Start to 115,000.

Children at Risk of Abuse/NeglectThe President proposes a new initiative for innovative approaches to foster care, funded at $20 million in appropriations for Child Welfare Research, Training, and Demonstration projects, which will rise from $7 million to $27 million. This project is intended to reduce long-term foster care placements.

The Hungry
The Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program (WIC) is up $917 million over FY 2009 (a 13 percent increase), which is now estimated as enough to support a 9.8 million person caseload.

LCEA members should CLICK HERE for more about what the President's budget means for children and families.

State cuts mean salary reduction for area teachers

Cuts by the Iowa Legislature to a program designed to supplement teacher salaries was met with mixed reactions from local school administrators.

The Phase I program, which cost the state $14 million a year, was designed to supplement teacher salaries and shore up teacher pay in the state's smaller districts, but was cut last week by the Legislature.

For the entire story CLICK HERE.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The 2009 National Teacher of the Year

Anthony Mullen from Connecticut marked his first day of recognition with a ceremony in the Rose Garden with President Barack Obama. A former New York City police officer, Mullen is interviewed here by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel and says that tough guys don't always finish first in the classroom.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Facebook Helps Activate NEA Members

Social media tools like the popular Facebook site help association members advocate for public education. NEA Today writer and social media wrangler Cynthia McCabe explains the basics.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Teacher Quality Committee Minutes--4/01/2009

April meeting TQC – April 01, 2009

The meeting was brought to order at 4:32 by Dave Black and Barb Motes. Present were Chuck Story, Jeanne Barthelow, Pat Thomas, Barb Motes, Al Lorenz, Kim Jones, Tom McLaughlin, Dave Black, Linda Hahn, Laurie Thies, Kent Stopak, Barb Grell and Sean Dunphy.

Approval of minutes. They were emailed previously to committee. Motion by Motes, second by Jones. Unanimous.

Review/Discussion of PD Days funded by the TQC monies. Those were held on October 6th and 7th. At the secondary level, Literacy in content areas was the focus with some time spent on PLC curriculum issues, and at the elementary level the focus was science materials. Feedback was overall positive, with the continued sentiment that back to back days were still difficult to pull off successfully. Barb Motes shared that the literacy work done was inclusive, and helped bring in some curricular areas. Jeanne reported that at the elementary level it would be nice to have more “all day” PD days, as seemingly nothing gets wrapped up. Dave also pointed out that there will be more to do in the future (Iowa Core, for example). General consensus is that if the days are funded, the vehicle for PD delivery should continue to be the current format. Discussion ensued concerning the dates on the 2009-2010 calendar for TQC-funded PD days, and that there are school law reasons for the removal of the 2-hour early out the day preceding Thanksgiving. Barb Motes is going to work on getting some clarifying information disseminated to the instructional staff of the district.

Proposed Changes to the Market Factor Application. Dollars remain that can be allocated according to the Market Factor agreement initiated last year. The endorsements listed as shortage areas reflect changes in state-identified shortage areas and changes in local needs as a result of our fall BEDS submission. In other words, both statewide shortages as well as helping existing staff to meet BEDS requirements for highly qualifies status are impetus for the changes in the list of endorsements for which applications will be entertained. In addition, the leftover money from hiring incentives remained unused from 2008-09, and the intent would be to add it to the endorsement “pot” and use it in that way. Discussion also included moving some of the timelines in the original document.

Changes to the application: April 15th deadline moved to May 1st. Notification on May 8th. Endorsement areas changed as listed. Use of the money from hiring incentives for endorsement work. Motion by Stopak, second by Grell. Unanimous.

Update on Iowa Core Curriculum Planning. Dave presented a copy of his presentation that will be given to the Board of Education later in the month, and a similar presentation was delivered to a community group in March. The purpose of the Iowa Core is outlined, along with its intended outcomes, impact on content, instruction, and assessment. In essence, the ICC reaches further that “What we teach?” and into the “How we teach?” and “How we assess?” Formative assessment will be a focal point, as well as effective instruction. It outlines the 5 content areas touched by the ICC – Math, Science, Literacy, Social Studies, and 21st Century Skills. While other areas do not have directly mandated content, they are integral players in the 21st Century skill category, as well as supporting the other 4 areas. The vision for the Iowa Core was also shared, as published by the state. Timelines include spending 2008-09 in building leadership capacity, with developing implementation plans that allow for full incorporation by 2012 for high schools and 2014 for everyone else. At LC, our plans are more aggressive, and will move the entire system together instead of breaking off the high school as a separate entity. Dave’s presentation also includes resources available for further study. Buildings also shared how they have been disseminating ICC information to staff this spring.

Monitoring Evaluation. Sean shared the plan/implementation of staff evaluation at the Middle School.

Adjournment. Motion by Sean Dunphy, second by Barb Grell. Unanimous. Meeting was adjourned at 5:20.

Friday, February 27, 2009

NEA President Van Roekel - Union Advocacy, Activism Makes for Solid Education Policies

"Change is here, transformation is possible," says National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. A month into the Obama administration, advocates of public education are finding a new willingness by policymakers in Washington to engage and fresh impetus for the sort of political activism that keeps issues critical to educators on the national agenda.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NEA President to Meet Monthly with Secretary of Education

In a message taped for NEA's new electronic magazine, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel tells members about planned monthly meetings he and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will hold. The commitment is seen as a significant boost to a shared understanding of reforms needed to the so-called No Child Left Behind law.