Contract Corner: The Evaluation Process
Dear Contract Corner,
I often find myself unsure about how to approach the evaluation process. Can you give me any guidance?
The BEU just did a 6-hour training for a group of Reps and Grievance Team members. They will be available to help. We thought we’d give some highlights in this and the next issue of Brookline Educator. We’ll start with what’s coming up next:
Unannounced observations should generally be at least 10 minutes long. For a visit to your classroom to qualify as an observation, you must have written feedback and an in-person conference with your evaluator within 5 days of the observation (or, if rescheduled, “within 24 hours whenever possible”). To qualify as a record of the conference, a final write-up must summarize this conversation and be sent to you within 10 days of the post-observation conference. If as a result of observations the evaluator finds grounds for a needs improvement or unsatisfactory rating on any Standard(s), the evaluator must attend a full class, or a complete lesson in elementary, within 30 days. They should let the teacher know what supports the teacher can expect and what they are expected to improve.
These happen in the middle of the cycle. You should be given a minimum of two weeks notice to submit evidence. One piece for each of the 4 Standards should suffice. No ratings should be assigned. You are entitled to a face-to-face meeting upon request. As always, if you disagree with the contents, submit a statement and any evidence you wish.
Pre-Professional Status teachers and the BEU should receive one of these before February break if at that point, the administration sees grounds for non-appointment. The dates of all previous supervisory conferences must be listed along with “clear and specific” areas in need of improvement.
This rating must balance your performance on the 4 Standards and your 2 goals (20% each). However, you cannot be rated Proficient overall unless you receive that rating on Teaching & Curriculum and Teaches All Students. The Exemplary rating has not been collectively bargained so it cannot be used. You and the BEU must receive a letter by the end of March if you are at risk of not being rated Proficient overall. PTS teachers may request review with BEU representation of a Summative Rating.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-277- 0251. One of the following grievance committee members will get back in touch with you.
Deb Allen (Devotion)
Dominique Gonyer (BHS)
Sarah Blalock (Lincoln)
Jody Curran (Devotion)
Hillary Golden (Lincoln)
Mark Goldner (Heath)
Rich Gorman (BHS)
Anna MacIver (Runkle)
Shelley Mains (BHS)
Susan Moreno (BHS)
Jill Sifantus (BHS)
Susan Stark (BHS)
David Weinstein (Pierce)
Jessica Wender-Shubow (BHS)
The GIC Annual Enrollment period for this year will be April 6th through May 4th, 2016. This is the time when you can change your health plan, make changes for family members and enroll in new benefits. If you plan to keep your existing plan and options, you do not have to re-enroll, it will stay the same automatically.
The new GIC premium rates will be voted on by the Insurance Commissioners on March 2nd.
Retirees can enroll in Met Life Dental if eligible.
The GIC Health Plan calendar year deductible is now transitioning to the fiscal year. All Employee/Non-Medicare plans are transitioning to make it easier to change health plan carriers at Open Enrollment.
* January to June 2016 , there will be a half year deductible…
* Individual: has a $150 deductible before benefits begin.
* Two person families: each person must satisfy a $150 deductible.
* Three or more person family: the maximum each person must satisfy is $150 until the family as a whole reaches the six-month $450 maximum.
* Effective July 1, 2016: the deductible year will run July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017.
The PEC (Public Employees Committee) will begin very soon to negotiate healthcare with the Town since our present plans expire June30, 2016. Maintaining our 83% (Town pays) and our 17 % (we pay) split is uppermost on our agenda.
Please feel free to contact Jessica or myself if you have my questions or concerns.
Take care….Sheila Leach email@example.com
Much Ado about Money
Hear ye! Hear ye. It’s time to celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, “The Bard of All Time.” It’s the year of #Shakespeare400 on Twitter, a scheduled 2016 jazz mock-funeral for the Bard of Avon on the bayou of New Orleans and a whirlwind two-year Hamlet tour for The Royal Shakespeare Theater around the globe – and that includes Mongolia. It’s also an opportune moment to talk about Bardonomics and the weighty matters of managing your pounds, pence and shillings not to mention how “to put money in thy purse.”
What you may ask might England’s national poet and a playwright be able to teach us about money, managing finances and investing? To borrow from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, let’s count the ways with a few Bard inspired financial recommendations.
Borrowing: Let’s begin with Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and the memorable words of advice given by Polonius to his son Laertes in Act 1, Scene 3.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
The advice of Polonius will ring true for eternity. There are countless caveats to lending money to friends including compromising the friendship not to mention losing your money. As for borrowing, it continues to be a pervasive problem in America with the average U.S. family carrying a credit debt of over $15,000. Hone thy husbandry and lessen thy debt
Investing, The Eighth Wonder of the World: In Shakespeare’s love poem Venus and Adonis, he suggests that money, or gold in this case, loses its potential to generate wealth if it sits idly.
Foul-Cankering rust the hidden treasure frets.
But gold that’s put to use more begets.
Perhaps no one put forth a more eloquent and compelling argument for investing you money so it can beget more money than Einstein: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it…. he who doesn’t … pays it.” In short, To be enrolled in a 403b should not be a question! And by the way!
Enrollment Workshop at BHS: March 10, at 3:00 PM – Bring your phone and a laptop.
Patience, the Cornerstone of Successful Investing: While Iago in Othello may be viewed as one of Shakespeare’s most unsavory and duplicitous characters, he certainly has his share of memorable lines.
How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal by degrees?
In the words of the legendary Investor and the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, patience is one of the foundations for successful investing: “Successful investing takes time, discipline and patience. No matter how great the talent or effort, some things take time: You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”
If the Bard were a financial advisor, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear him say: Frailty thy name is investor. Individual investors tend to be slaves to their emotions and lack the required discipline and long-term vision. The path to successful investing can be a tortuous one but can also be successfully navigated with a combination of patience, prudence, a method (a plan) and, of course optimism.
The work of “Professional Culture”: Are there no limits?
Brookline educators will tell you that necessary time for educating students is being lost to an increasing number of school district and state mandates and initiatives. Educators are being expected to complete more paperwork, produce and record increasing types of standardized data, meet bureaucratic evaluation requirements, or attend an increasing number of meetings about these matters – and they are being evaluated on this participation. Should we accept this? The answer is no; and this article on the “Professional Culture” standard in our evaluations explains why.
It’s true that laws or regulations (concerning, for instance, evaluation or Special Education, or time on learning) require some of what is being done in our schools. But it’s equally true that the law (Chapter 150E) provides that we can bargain over how school policies are implemented. For example, the rubrics for a rating of proficient—or even exemplary— for all of the standards are subjects of bargaining, and meeting the standard must be possible within the bounds of working conditions laid out in the larger collective bargaining agreement.
The School Committee must not require us to comply with mandates or initiatives until and unless we can be shown how to do the work within the confines of our current Agreement. No one can be expected to work more than the Agreement allows to get a good rating on their evaluation.
Furthermore, insisting on respect for the contract is legally protected activity. Indeed, union work is a valuable contribution to strengthening “the professional culture” of our workplace. Our statewide union, the MTA, reminds us that our union work is evidence of meeting the Professional Culture Standard itself. Professional Culture is strengthened by a fair contract, including the section on evaluation which is being renegotiated at the same time as the contract as a whole.
Our contract states that the Brookline Educators Union “recognizes its professional responsibilities and commitment to education of the highest quality for the children of Brookline.” Look around the district today and you will see how strong this commitment is. We are committed to collaboration. In fact, Collaboration Time was added to the contract on the insistence of union negotiators who went so far as to subsidize such activity by giving 40 minutes of our time. We are also committed to school improvement, and initiatives that help us meet the needs of current students. BEU members themselves developed some of the initiatives.
But we know that if excellence is to be maintained, something’s got to give. Either non-instructional work will have to be lessened, or teachers and caseload specialists will need fewer students so that each child can get the personal time he or she deserves and needs.