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A behind the scenes look at education from pre-K to college in Northeast Ohio

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another look at teacher contracts

Teacher contracts don't just have salary and benefit information as many of the 100 pages are about working conditions.
For example, Wickliffe Schools has language about the teacher load and assignments. The contract addresses the ratios of students within the classroom.
"All core subjects shall not exceed 180 assigned students per teacher in six instructional periods," the 2011-2012 contract states. That equates to about 30 students per course.
Most teachers have 187 working days and 7.5 hours per day. The hours may vary. Long days are usually attributed to teacher-parent conferences, faculty meetings, or other duties such as bus duty or after-school activities.
Mentor Schools has a complete profile of the teacher duties such as how they will communicate with parents to the classroom environment. The model was based upon Carl Glickman’s Principals of Learning. A guide for school leaders explains how to become involved in the teaching and learning process to improve student performance, according to the Google books.
Most teacher contracts have an assault leave. The teacher could receive up to 10 days leave if injured resulting from a physical assault by a student, according to Fairport Harbor Schools contract.
A teacher from Mentor Schools can receive up to 45 days for physical or psychological damages.
Teachers are disciplined and their job can be eliminated if they demonstrate low performance. 
Mentor Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Hoynes said the district has an obligation to get rid of teachers who are not performing.
We cannot renew their contract or give them tenure," she said. "We have different options. We always give them an opportunity to improve. If they can't do it, the union will support us."
In fact, the way teachers will be evaluated will be changing soon, and not just because of SB5.
Gov. Kasich budget bill stipulates that 50 percent of teachers pay have to be based on student growth.  
The Ohio Department of Education is rolling out the new standards how districts can measure teachers in relation to student performance. For Race to the Top districts, they also have to come up with a teacher evaluation plan that's in accordance with the federal initiative.

-Angela Gartner

Some side notes -

- Look for a complete article on Teacher Evaluations on Sunday, Sept. 18.
-  Teacher salaries similar across area school districts article had many people talking over the weekend.  The community can still  weigh in about teacher salaries and comments will be published in the editorial section of The News-Herald.

Friday, August 5, 2011

August arrives - Do you know what your kids need for school?

The first week of August may cause area parents to wonder how long the school supply list will be this fall.
A recent News-Herald article by staff writer Cassandra Shofar states how school supplies have become more expensive each year for parents and schools are supplying less due to state funding losses.
In fact, districts often post their supply lists before the school year, but may ask for additional items later.
According to the News-Herald article, the National Retail Federation's 2011 Back-to-School survey, families with children in kindergarten through grade 12 will spend an average of $603.63 on apparel, school supplies and electronics, within a few dollars of last year's $606.40 average.
However, not every parent can afford school supplies and some organizations in Lake County hope to fill children backpacks through generous donations. 
Willoughby-Eastlake Schools collaborated with Chick-fil-A for a supply drive. The  The School Supplies Drive  is being held until August 6. Patrons can receive free chicken sandwiches when they bring in minimum donations off a supply  list  provided. 
Leadership Lake County, a youth program, has been collecting items for needy children during its annual giving campaign - School Supplies Project.
Volunteers will begin to assemble the school kits and distribute on Monday, August 8 through Friday, August 12 at the Salvation Army on Pearl St. in Painesville. 
Local district post school supply information early so parents know what is needed and to begin the process of scouting out back-to-school deals.
Mentor Schools posted  Summer Central: Information for the 2011 - 2012 school year , which not only has school supply lists, but also orientation information.
Willoughby-Eastlake School district parents can find their supply lists on the individual homepage of each school. However, the Eastlake Middle School list was found in June's newsletter
Wickliffe School district has a new and improved website at, which parents can look at school calendars, supply lists and school orientations schedules.

Angela Gartner