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Greenfield School Board established a model for teacher pay and professional improvement in Act 10 era

April 29, 2014

Greenfield — With negotiated pay steps for teachers now gone after the State Legislature passed Act 10, the Greenfield School Board on Monday approved a pay plan that emphasizes experience and growth but gives the option of additional stipends for professional growth beyond expectation.

The plan divides teachers into four categories based on experience and professional growth — introductory, professional, advanced and senior. Pay goes up from introductory to senior. Progression from one classification to another will be based on experience and meeting standard professional growth on an annual basis.

Experience will be the most important factor relating to pay but teacher performance will influence compensation, also. Student performance will not.

Professional educators who exceed expectations may earn an annual stipend, above and beyond the standard salary progression.

The compensation model is the culmination of a year's work that involved school board members, teachers and administrators. The process began with a survey of teachers to gauge their values, interests and concerns, said Superintendent Lisa Elliott.

Goals

The goals were to have a pay system that's fair, transparent, easily understood, able to attract and keep good teachers and be sustainable under state revenue limits, Elliott said. But professional growth is key, she said.

"Research has shown that the most important thing in educating students is the teacher standing in front of them," she said.

Professional growth was chosen as a key element rather than student performance on standardized tests because teachers can control their growth, Elliott said. If teachers are learning, growing and succeeding, students will learn, grow and succeed, she said.

Meeting specific goals that show growth are in the plan that's based on the Danielson Model that has been adopted as the state model, Elliott said.

With its 22 components, the Danielson Model "describes what good teaching looks like in the classroom," she said.

For example, instruction under the model should include using tests for learning, questions and discussion, technology, student engagement in learning, communicating with students and adjusting teaching to student needs, Elliott said.

Speaking for the Greenfield Education Association, Scott Krueger, association president, said the teachers agree that focusing on professional growth is more fair than looking at student performance because teachers can control their growth.

"We agree with the superintendent and district that professional growth is important, and we agree it should be incorporated in that model," Krueger said.

No money loss

He is relieved that teachers won't lose money as they are shifted into the new pay model, Krueger said. But he would like to have seen more specifics as to pay in each year within the pay categories before the board approved the plan, he said.

"We support professional practice goals but still things at the beginning could be clarified before we would give our full-fledged support," Krueger said.

With the board approving the plan unanimously, board member Pam Sierzchulski said before the meeting, "It addresses the salary scale very well, I think it's fair.

"We need to go through a year or two and see how teachers feel about it and how administrators feel about it."

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