Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How to lose your license...

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is floating new proposals about licensing and renewal.  Their private contractors have produced options that would tie the ability of an educator to teach anywhere in Massachusetts to test scores, evaluation, or student surveys.  If this sound like a good idea to you, do nothing.  If you want to join the fight for sanity in our profession, please contact WEA leadership.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tentative agreement ratified

With a clear turnout, a strong majority of Unit A members voted to accept the Tentative Agreement as the new Unit A contract.  Upon School Committee ratification, that agreement will enter force.  The text of the new contract will be published as soon as possible in the appropriate section.

Many thanks to the negotiations team for the incredible work they did to arrive at a fair offer.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ask yourself...

My colleagues,
This May 15, as has happened  over the past few years, evaluations came due, and in the past 48 hours I've heard of many cases in many buildings where evaluations were simply not done according to the contract.  I encourage all members to look at their evaluation and ask themselves these questions:

  • Was I observed ten times?  If you were observed less than that, the evaluation process was not followed correctly.
  • Was each piece of evidence used only once in my year-end evaluation?  If the same piece of evidence, opinion, observation, etc., was applied to different indicators, the evaluation process was not followed correctly.
  • Was hearsay used?  What a child, colleague, or parent reported to an evaluator is not admissible for evidence.  If such rumor or innuendo is used, the evaluation process was not followed correctly.
  • Was the rubric the only piece used?  Evaluators cannot invent criteria for evaluation beyond the rubrics that are available.  If they did, the evaluation process was not followed correctly.
  • Was my overall rating impacted by whether I followed my goals?  We are educators, not goal-setters.  Our expertise is in educating children, not guessing what a fair benchmark would be before we even receive our schedules.  Relying on goals to make an overall decision means your evaluator did not follow the process correctly.
  • Did I receive feedback on my observations?  If observations did not result in feedback, the whole intent to use this as a coaching tool is lacking.  If your evaluator did not complete that vital step, the evaluation process was not followed correctly.

 If you answered yes to any of these questions, please contact me at

This is a complex system, and mistakes will be made -- but getting this system right is critical.  An educator's career should not be threatened by another's error. If you have any questions whether the evaluation system was used correctly, contact a WEA officer, or contact me directly.  This is too important to let mistakes slide.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Seniority, early retirement, and more

I apologize for the rare updates recently.  Communications work has gone into updates via the monthly Beacon and the WEA's Facebook page.  Below are some updates that have gone out on those media recently:

  • An updated Unit A seniority list should be out next week.  Members are advised to look carefully as the new list includes the correction of typos, errors of calculation, elimination of non-contractual categories, and other errata that have accumulated over the past several years.  The Unit C list will be addressed shortly.
  • Pleased to announce that the Unit C membership ratified the tentative agreement (already ratified by the School Committee) unanimously.  The new contract will be distributed and one the website as soon as possible.
  • The early retirement incentive announced today is missing some essential specifics (perhaps because it was never mentioned to the Association for necessary feedback and clarification). Association leadership is seeking some of these necessary facts so that people can make an informed decision on something that they can know is contractual.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

FY '15 Changes

Obviously, the current budget proposal is an enormous change to the mission of public education in Wareham, particularly for elementary and special education students.  Given that the news was just now shared outside of the administrative team, it is too early to issue any significant reaction.

The WEA will be collecting information throughout the system from multiple sources as part of looking at this plan, as well as the new initiatives pursued by the district at this time of fiscal distress.  Please contact me with any thoughts, information, or concerns you think can help ensure that any budget changes have as small an impact on the delivery of quality education by quality educators as possible.