Sunday, December 16, 2012

from Friday

Like many of you, hearing the news from Connecticut left me feeling sickened. It drives right to all we do as educators, men and women who literally are in the legal role of a parent (in loco parentis) during the day. However we all react, I know we are united in grief hearing about this crime against humanity. Though there is much happening with the Association I will soon discuss regarding insurance, evaluations, and other concerns, at this moment it all pales compared to the travails at Sandy Hook. My thoughts are with the children, the community, and the brave colleagues who in some cases gave their lives to protect "their kids".

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

About artifacts

After an afternoon meeting, the WEA can report the following:
  • Artifacts do not need to be electronic. There is no requirement to scan or photograph anything.
  • There is no minimum number of artifacts to submit.
  • The cover sheet remains a work in progress. Sheets with much of the language already completed will be available at the WEA website in the future.
  • The timeline has been moved up significantly.
See our FAQs on evaluations for more detail. The WEA advises all Unit A and B members to submit artifacts for any indicator for which they have received no feedback, or negative feedback.

Dec. 13 event canceled

The December meeting with WEA members at WHS is canceled due to a conflicting meeting of the evaluation committee. Regrets and apologies to anyone who changed their schedule to be present; the meeting will be rescheduled for January.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Coming from eval prof. development...much presented as fully decided that is still under discussion. Electronic artifacts only and specific cover sheet NOT reached as agreed. Updates to follow. Question: would a WEA meeting on these issues be a good idea? Meetings on proposed eval system were sparsely attended...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Evaluation system ratified

The Unit A ratification system passed with over 75% of votes in favor, and votes from over half of WEA members. An evaluation section of the WEA website devoted to explaining and aiding with this new system will be in place by the end of the Veterans' Day weekend.

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Want to Ruin Teaching? Give Ratings to Teachers"

The New York Times surprisingly carried a column speaking out against the movement to judge and punish teachers that calls itself "accountability". A principal of a charter school speaks of some principles that all "education" reformers should heed. We cannot survive if we teach test-takers instead of children. One good bit:
A government-run teacher evaluation bureaucracy will make it impossible to attract great teachers and will diminish the motivation of the ones we have. It will make teaching so scripted and controlled that we won’t be able to attract smart, passionate people.
The great battle for public education today is making the profession one that attracts the best potential educators as a lifelong avocation. There exists too real a danger that attacks on public education will make it too unattractive a profession to bring in the people we all need to be preparing the next generation of Americans for the future. Thanks to the friend of Wareham education who sent me this link.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tzom Kal

To borrow the traditional wish, G'mar Hatimah Tovah to all the Jewish members, relations, and friends of the WEA family on this Yom Kippur.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Clarification on Evaluation System Ratification

Contrary to discussion at the most recent school committee meeting, no ratification vote for the Unit A evaluation system has been scheduled by the WEA. Friday is a ratification vote for the Unit B successor contract, which includes the Unit B evaluation system. At present, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has not reviewed the proposed evaluation system. This necessary part of the process has not been executed, so ratification has not been scheduled. This may arise as a topic of discussion on the October 1 Executive Board Meeting scheduled for Wareham High School.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Chicago and East

A reminder that I will be at East Wareham School at 3:30 on Thursday, Sept. 20. Stop by to say hello and share concerns and ideas. One question I've received a few times is about the Chicago Teachers Union strike. As of this moment, there is a tentative deal in the works. This episode shows how seriously educators in Chicago -- just as in Wareham and around the country -- take education. Causes for the strike were not just issues of recognition of educators' professionalism and fulfillment of previous promises from the school district, but provision of adequate textbooks and air conditioning to fight against Chicago's lethal summertime heat so students can learn. With a deal in the works, I'm glad to go from a post about how to support Chicago teachers to a post thanking them for laying it on the line, and becoming a target of anti-worker media and politics, in the effort to pursue a fair, accessible, and high-quality education for Chicago's kids.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Clarification on Rubicon and wages

In the wake of some discussion at the outset of the year, I want to clarify questions I received on the use of Rubicon Atlas. Use of Rubicon Atlas is not required at any level. Instead, it is seen as a tool that people are "encouraged but not required" to use in their instruction and preparation. In other news, a reminder that the membership of Unit A ratified a contract that included a step freeze for the school year 2012-13. The contract does include a raise in base pay; as health insurance expenses have gone up, please check your base pay and not simply the post-taxes and expenses amount.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thursday, September 6 and events

A reminder that Thursday, September 6th is a state primary so voting will be happening in all schools that double as polling places. There are some contested races on the primary ballot (MTA recommendations are on our website). In other news, please drop some ideas for a beginning-of-the-year social event that you'd be interested in. How would a cruise on the Cape Cod Canal strike you? Or a mini golf tournament? Let us know in the comments on this post...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ten, no eleven things I hope everyone knows entering the school year

  1. Our custodial staff have done a heroic job dealing with the dozens, maybe hundreds of moves between classrooms and buildings.
  2. Our members are doing a heroic job in the same exact department.
  3. There will be a Unit A vote on new evaluation language as soon as it is finalized, which should be before Columbus Day.
  4. Our association has been busy with evaluations, negotiations, grievances, and all manner of things. It has not been a quiet summer.
  5. We have a membership meeting on August 30th at 3:30 at the WMS Auditorium.
  6. The election this November is going to have a direct impact on your job. Do you know how? Do you want to learn how?
  7. The United States dominated the London Olympics, from men's basketball through women's judo.
  8. We really need people to step up and strengthen our association by filling some openings of the WEA.
  9. Yes, Unit A is on a step freeze this year in accompaniment with the 1.5% raise as ratified by the membership this summer.
  10. The MTA Summer Institute in Williamstown should only be attended by people who like eating, socializing, meeting new people, dancing, and becoming a better educator and association member. But mainly the first four items on that list.
  11. We have a membership meeting on August 30th at 3:30 at the WMS Auditorium. (Yes, I said that twice.)