Monday, April 20, 2009

An Evening with Michelle Rhee

Last week, Michelle Rhee made a cameo appearance in Denver. I was asked to write an article for EdNews Colorado about her talk:

Watch Rhee's speech here:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Principals: Do schools need them full time? (AZ Star article)

AZ budget cuts are causing Tucson schools to look at cutting principals in some buildings, and heading up teacher led schools or half time principals. Thoughts?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Random commentary on DCTA happenings

Well, I was asked why I hadn't blogged lately, and thought I better post something tonight. It's been crazy the past couple of weeks!

I've been working a lot on the PPWG, as well as the DPSRS-PERA merger, school finance, teacher surveys, reductions in buildings, non-renewals of probationary teachers, and of course dealing with adminsitrators that write teachers up for wearing sandals. (Yes, they are worrying about footwear now that CSAP is over. I thought instruction was more important- especially since sandals don't violate any laws or board policies.)

PPWG: Over the past couple of weeks, we sent 4 joint teams to different districts to look at peer assistance and review programs. My team went to NYC, which was very interesting. We looked at their Peer Intervention Program, and the other teacher support systems they have in place. The UFT (NYC's teachers union) is incredible, and has a huge catalog of course offerings they provide for members- 78,000 of them are teachers.

Legislature: DCTA Lobby Day is April 16th on School Finance Act and the Merger. K-12 funding cannot afford a $150 million cut!! Thanks to Senator Paula Sandoval and Representative Andy Kerr for sponsoring the merger bill. Keep your fingers crossed! This merger has been in the works for many years, and gives DPS an opportunity to join the rest of our colleagues in PERA. Veiga and Groff?? Anyone start a pool yet on replacements?

Cuts/ Nonrenewals: As we're already cutting teachers (especially non-CSAP tested areas), we're bracing for further harm through the school finance act. The new transfer system has had a few bumps in implementation, but we've been able to work through most of them.

We also spent the past week urging teachers to respond to the Teacher Input into Principal Evaluation Survey. The survey closed yesterday, and Tom and I will look at the results in aggregate and by network together. Thanks to our teachers for completing this survey!!
Next week starts the statewide TELL Colorado survey for teachers and administrators across the state. It looks at teaching and learning conditions in all Colorado schools.

And yes, the sandals thing was (and still is) a true story. Another interesting story: In the dictionary, the word "insubordination" means deliberately disobeying a lawful order from someone in charge. In some DPS schools, it is interpreted as any time you ask a question, ask for clarification, or try something not in the script, you are insubordinate. Hhhmmmm....

Oh! One last thing... Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy has met its enrollment targets so far- on to the next milestone!