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CADDO RECOGNIZES NEWLY TENURED TEACHERS

RRU and the CAE, in conjunction with the CPSB, sponsored a reception for the newly tenured teachers.   38 teachers (majority RRU members) in Caddo met the target for tenure by being deemed Highly Effective for the past five years. As far as we know, Caddo is the only district to recognize this accomplishment.    It was our pleasure to present each teacher with a Tenured Caddo pin.  We look forward to making this an annual event.

THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY PROFESSIONAL CAREER – A TEACHER’S OPEN LETTER

The biggest mistake of my professional career was dropping my membership in a Louisiana Federation of Teachers affiliate and joining A+PEL. I was led to believe by A+ PEL representatives that they were more familiar with local schools than the union. That was false.

I made that decision thinking I would never be accused of wrongdoing. I believe I am a great employee who follows all the rules and meets all expectations. Nevertheless, an incident occurred that threatened me with the loss of my career. Shockingly, A+PEL discouraged me from pursuing the issue.

I am so grateful that the executive board of the local Federation  voted to grant my appeal to rejoin and save my job. The union did not have to do that – it was my decision to drop my membership. I have learned that just being a good employee and paying cheap dues does not guarantee safety in these times.

I love what I do, and I put my heart and soul into my job, working for the success of my students.

SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS WANT TO DRIVE SAFE BUSES AND BE TREATED WITH RESPECT BY ADMINISTRATION.

That continues to be the very clear message from RRU Caddo Bus Drivers.

After our last meeting over the break, the RRU Transportation employees identified three distinct areas for address.  In those areas, bus repair, discipline and representation, we believe we have made progress in working with CPSB Administration.  The RRU Transportation Representatives met with Mr. Woolfolk regarding the repair issue and the drivers’ concerns regarding unsafe vehicles.  Mr. Woolfolk heard the drivers and has now provided a new work order form for the drivers’ review.  Additionally, as two of items were deemed under the purview of Human Resources, we have had an initial meeting with Ms. Atkins and Mr. Graham.  While we made progress on some of the issues regarding discipline and representation, we did not reach consensus.  It will now be submitted the CPSB Transportation Committee for consideration in the next meeting.  We will continue to work with the district and our members and will update as we receive new information.

The RRU is 18 members shy of having majority status in Caddo transportation employees.   Just this year, over 30 new Transportation Employees have joined.

PARAPROFESSIONALS SHOULD BE REWARDED AS PART OF THE ACADEMIC TEAM

The position of teacher’ aide was created in WWII to assist the teacher. The aides were there to do such simple tasks as sharpening pencils, grading papers and making copies. Since that time, the role of the paraprofessional has morphed considerably to now being an integral part of the academic team.   Paraprofessionals work as partners with teachers doing everything from a to z,   from helping the classroom runs smoothly to working directly with students ensuring all students receive academic services. They even do duty.

As districts move forward into the budget cycle this spring, a line item should be added to reward the other part of the academic team, the paraprofessional. For example, Caddo has allocated funds for teachers at the TAP schools based on academic performance.  That academic performance is also a product of the work of the paraprofessional.  Additionally, since they are an integral part of the academic team, embedded professional development specific to their roles should be added.

 TEACHER EVALUATION: THE FINE PRINT

Overall teacher evaluation in the state of Louisiana will be represented 50%  by observations (entered into COMPASS or NIET), 15 % student learning targets (SLTs), and 35% the value added model (VAM) in grades 4-8 ELA, social studies and math. However, teachers who do not have VAM data will have a 50/50 breakdown of observation and student learning targets (SLTs). 

Effectiveness Rating Composite Score Range
Ineffective x<1.5
Effective: Emerging 1.5≤ x <2.5
Effective: Proficient 2.5≤ x <3.5
Highly Effective 3.5≤ x

Observation Policies

Caddo Parish- All announced observations must have a pre-conference at least 24 hours prior to the observation.  Once the observation is completed, the teacher must complete a self-observation form provided by the evaluator. The post conference must occur within 5 working days of the observation.  The teacher has 48 hours after the post conference to complete and submit a NIET appeal form to his/her principal if there are areas in which the teacher determines are not an accurate evaluation of his/her performance. The teacher must be prepared to have documentation to support the area(s) in which he/she wishes to rebut.

Value Added Model (VAM)

For the 2017-2018 school year, teachers of grades 4-8 ELA, social studies, and math will receive 35% of their overall evaluation from state-wide standardized tests. VAM measures growth to mastery for individual students using data points from previous assessments, IEPs, IAPs, attendance, economic disadvantage status, English proficiency, and discipline history. Be sure to complete your CVR requirements this spring to ensure students you taught from October 1 to testing for year-long courses and October 1 to testing and January to testing for semester long courses are the ONLY students on your CVR. Additionally, students who had 20 or more consecutive absences or 10 or more unexcused absences should not be on your roster for VAM. If a teacher does not complete the roster requirements, there is a possibility student test scores that do not meet the above criteria could be reflected on your VAM score.

Student Learning Targets (SLTs)

Now is the time to reevaluate your SLTs from the fall.  Consider student progress on similar assessments that you will use to determine achievement at the end of the year, attendance, and student discipline. Collect your data and confer with your principal about any changes you deem to be necessary.  Yes, your school and district may define consistent learning targets, but they must ensure there is AMPLE FLEXIBILITY to address the SPECIFIC NEEDS of the students in YOUR CLASSROOM.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jordan Thomas at jthomas@redriverunited.org or 318-423-9423.