Q-Comp and Peer of Choice Observation: This week’s proposal focus is on the peer of choice observation. One of the greatest challenges in any observation system is to match participants with evaluators who understand the participant’s work. We knew we could provide some degree of fit for most participants, but we wanted to go further than what we could accomplish with only 30 Peer Evaluators. Our solution was to have the second of our three observations completed by a peer of the participant’s choice. Most people would choose someone from their site, but participants who are “singletons” (the only person doing what they do at their site) would be likely choosing people from another site.
To be someone’s Peer of Choice, building leadership teams will send in the names of interested people to the program coordinators who will make that available to participants. Those who are asked to do an observation by a colleague need to attend a training (most likely conducted on a staff development day) and will be compensated $100 for doing the observation, pre, and post meetings. Your Peer Evaluator will be at the pre and post meeting as well so everyone hears the same information. People can do up to five Peer of Choice evaluations.
Elementary Staff Development Day: We are getting questions about whether October 4 is what we’ve called a “60/40” day (part of the day for staff development, part for work time). October 4 is a regular full day of staff development; we no longer have a 60/40 day. Last year, as a result of a recommendation from an elementary workload committee, we converted the former 60/40 day into a full work day and moved it to the first week of school. Elementary staff has not lost any work days, but have actually gained a little time when it may be a bit more useful.
Loan Forgiveness: If you're a teacher serving in a low-income or subject-matter shortage area, it might be possible for you to cancel or defer your student loans. We have several schools and subjects in our district that are on the list, visit www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov/tc to see if you qualify.
Waiting for Superman: If you are looking for a good article answering the misinformation about public schools and unions in this documentary, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rick-ayers-/an-inconvenient-superman-_b_716420.html .
Neutrality Policy: We received a number of responses to my question two weeks ago about whether we are getting the support we asked for regarding GLBT issues in our district (specifically addressing bullying of gay students and interpreting the implementation of the neutrality policy). All of the responses indicated that while we have made a start, more needs to be done. We invite interested AHEM members to meet at the AHEM office next Thursday, October 7 at 4:45 pm to discuss what we can do as a union to make sure all of our students and staff, including GLBT students and staff, feel safe and valued at school.