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MCSD Staff Newsletter - February 2016
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From the Superintendent

In an organization the size of our district it is often difficult to keep an open flow of information to everyone. This newsletter is a part of an effort to keep the staff informed.  There are a number of questions that have arisen from the Washington Study to the budget to staffing for next year. I will try and give as complete a response with the information I have regarding questions. Please forward to Lisa Bunn questions you have and we will try to answer them in future newsletters. 

What Are We Going to Do About ELA Curriculum?

It is becoming obvious that our current curriculum has significant holes. That is in spite of the hard work so many teachers have put into the ELA work.  It is my recommendation the district takes a serious look at purchasing a basal series that would provide a more stable and consistent curriculum that provides a balanced language arts program. Are text books perfect? Of course not, but they would fill a need that can not be filled with more local work.

How Are Teachers Going to Be Given More Voice in the District?

We are working on a curriculum committee model that would be a decision making group for curriculum and instruction issues. The specifics have not been finalized. However, it would have each elementary building represented by a teacher selected by the teachers in that building. The secondary content areas would also have representation. One elementary principal and one secondary principal would serve on the committee as a conduit of information to other principals. The assistant superintendent would chair the committee. Details as to protocol, voting models, and alignment between the grade levels will need to be formalized. It is our intent to have this committee up and running by late spring. Compensation for teachers would be at the curriculum rate.

The intent of this is to bring teachers to the table to make decisions, such as ELA curriculum, assessment issues, and professional development. I believe teachers can and should provide leadership in the areas teachers know best: teaching and learning.

Washington Study Questions

Is the closing of Washington a done deal?
 No. At this time it appears there is room to add sections in the three receiving schools. However, we are still studying the needs of special programs and how to best serve those students. I am not willing to commit to a recommendation without specific information about the capacity to serve all kids with realignment.
 
Would the closing of Washington force some teachers in other buildings out of current positions due to seniority?
 There is no “bumping” rights for assignment, only for reduction of staff. There is no plan for reducing teachers.  Teachers may, and have, been reassigned when the need arose to best meet the needs of students.
 
When would the Washington teachers know where they are going?
 The Washington staff is meeting with Becky Rodocker and Jill Bourquinn to review  preferences in grade levels and teaching assignments. Many of the Washington staff will follow their students to a new building. We do have current openings due to retirements that will need to be filled and other vacancies in the months ahead. It is still a bit early to know where all the openings in the district will fall.
 
Are the Washington teachers only guaranteed one year of employment?
 No. The district is large enough to manage staffing through attrition and selective hiring.  I have stated many times, it is my responsibility to make sure teachers that are employed this year, have a job next year.  I will be driven by insuring employment first and placement options second.

Will Custodial Positions Be Eliminated?

The district is looking at ways to better manage custodial costs. As our student population has declined, we need to find ways to manage our budget that leaves cuts as far from the classroom as possible. There is a study to look at reducing custodial costs by $250,000, or about five custodial positions.  At this time, there is no concrete recommendation concerning that issue.

How Can Class Sizes Be More Equitable?

There is disparity in some grades / classrooms in the district. That is in part the result of having several smaller buildings with varying numbers of sections.  The make-up of the students in the room make a huge difference in class size as well. There will never be an even number of students in classrooms across the district. However, if we can expand the number of sections in our buildings, we should be better able to handle enrollment bumps. The thing to keep in mind is an increase in third graders in building A does not mean additional dollars in the district.   A way to handle the issue would be to move teachers as late as August to buildings needing support. That is not popular, but it is an option to explore.

Has the District Lowered Pay for Substitute Teachers?

No. The sub rates have not changed.

Substitute teacher rates are as follows:
Days 1-29: $129.37
Days 30+: $145.54
Long-term (20 days in a row for same teacher): $161.71

Certified Employee Professional Files Now in Human Resources!

Teachers and Administrators: Since the beginning of time (slight exaggeration), teacher and administrator professional files were housed and kept up-to-date in the Superintendent's Office. This probably had more to do with staffing numbers way back when than anything else. With the hire of the new HR Director, the transition of all employee files has been made to where they should be... Human Resources!

Therefore, if you have questions about credits, licensure, etc. please call or email Human Resources or specifically, Deb Ferreira. Her email address is: deb.ferreira@mcsdonline.org

Feb 4 - 4:30PM

Model Teacher Differentiation Training - Admin. Ctr.

Feb 8 - 7PM

School Board Mtg - City Hall

Feb 9 - 4PM

GRR Training - Admin. Ctr.

Feb 11 - 4:15PM

District Mentor Meeting with Beginning Educators - Admin Ctr

Feb 15 - HOLIDAY

No School - President's Day

Feb 22 - 6PM

School Board Mtg - Admin Ctr

Feb 25 - 4:30PM

Model Teacher Differentiation Training - Admin Ctr

Feb 29 - 4:30PM

Deadline for Advancement on the Salary Schedule (Teachers)
 
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