Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Q-Comp Update and Flexing Time

Q-Comp – The Status of Our Proposal:  In November, the Minnesota Department of Education responded to our application with a set of clarifications and modifications.  We had a month to respond to them and we will make that deadline by sending in our final changes this week.  This is a common part of the process and the changes they required were minor.  They plan to give us final approval by January.  At that point, we will begin sending out more information about specifics of the proposal for your review. 

You already know the main components of the proposal – participants will create building wide and individual goals, and have three observations (two by a full time peer evaluator and one by a peer of your choice) that work much the same way our current Performance Appraisal System (PAS) works.  If your building reaches its goal, all the participants at the site earn $210.  If you reach your individual goal, you earn a separate $210.  If you successfully complete your observations, you will earn a separate $1728. 

Given this timeline, we plan to get out information via fliers in January, hold member meetings to go over the proposal around the district in February, and take a vote in March (it takes a 75% majority of those voting to pass).  As soon as the state completes their process, we’ll finalize dates for ours.

Flexing Time:  We are getting a good number of responses on last week’s question about your thoughts on flexing your duty day.  The vast majority of the messages have been from people who want some flexibility in the beginning and end times of the duty day as long as it doesn’t end up actually increasing the number of the hours in the week or simply eats up work days.  People are citing most often the reasons for flexing as finding time to meet with colleagues, parent communication, and medical issues.  Wanting to “be treated as a professional” was a common phrase.  What does being treated as a professional in the context of flex time mean to you?  We meet as a Labor Management team to begin discussing this issue just before winter break.  If you’d like to add your ideas before then, email us at

Friday, December 3, 2010

Meet & Confer and Flexing Time

Last Tuesday’s Meet & Confer:  Thank you to all who braved the icy roads on Tuesday to attend Meet & Confer, and to the over 600 of you who had the chance to complete the workload survey.  Our speakers, Beth Popalisky, Ryan MacSwain, LeeAnne Clauer, Tom Kobelinski, Sarah Weil, Marti Biegler, Heather Hjelle, Kari Kaehn, Jay Wilkins, and Sheila Davies did a terrific job laying out some concrete ideas for reducing our workload.  Key ideas were:

      Increases in workload are outpacing reductions in workload
      Autonomy and individuality decreases workload
      Paperwork can be decreased in many areas
      Workload problems at any level increases workload at every level
      Time to work together is better than other kinds of training
      Everyone needs to let something go – district administration, principals, and teachers

Their statements seemed to help our school board members show a willingness to work toward solutions.  Look for an article in our newsletter coming out later this month for a summary of the survey and ideas.

Flexing Time – What Do You Think?:  Our Labor Management Committee - a team of representatives from AHEM, school board, and district administration who meet to work on workplace issues – has been focusing so far this year on finding ways for collaborative teams to meet, especially those who are “singletons” at their sites.  Out of that discussion, we decided we need to discuss how flex time is being used across the district for PLC’s and other reasons.  We are thinking of flex time as when you work outside your duty day in exchange for taking the same amount of time off your duty day down the road.  It seems that how this works around the district varies widely.  We’d like to know what you think – do you flex your time for something at your site?  What have your experiences been with attempts initiated by you or by others to flex your day?  How would you like this to work?  Should we flex our time at all?  Email us at with your thoughts.