November 4, 2016
Don't fall over the cliff: WA legislature must 
fund schools, satisfy McCleary

The Legislature is under court order (McCleary) to increase K-12 school funding by billions of dollars by Sept. 1, 2018. We need to fight to make sure the state funds what matters most: smaller class sizes beyond K-3, additional support staff and competitive, professional pay and benefits for all educators.

Unfortunately, the legislature created a political gimmick, the "levy cliff," to supposedly put pressure on itself to do the right thing. The levy cliff is an automatic reduction in levy funding for next year. School districts are feeling the need to plan for the levy cliff without knowing what additional state funding will take the place of lost levy funding.

So, instead of making plans for additional state funding, districts are preparing instead for layoffs (RIFs).

We shouldn't fall for (over?) the legislature's fake "levy cliff." The legislature will remove the cliff and allow local districts to collect their full levies. In the meantime, there is no sense in creating mass disruption in our schools for something that simply won't happen.

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 FAQ on Elementary & K-8 Collaboration Time (with  implications for everyone for next year)

What is "collaboration time"?

Collaboration time (Article IX.P, page 104 of cert contract) is an hour of paid time each week for certificated staff at elementary and K-8 schools to focus on "student achievement" that is "aligned with the SPS Strategic Plan." All schools (including middle and high) will have collaboration time as part of your work day next year.

Student achievement is a broad topic. Is there more detail than that?

Section P has a long, but not exhaustive, list of possibilities, including: discussing instructional practice, sharing class dilemmas, collectively assessing student work, meeting in Critical Friends Groups, and developing cultural competency.

How is that time scheduled?

The contract states that "building staff will determine how best to schedule this additional collaboration time." This can be after school, before school, in 20 minute increments, for a full hour, etc. It's not a BLT decision. Instead it's the decision of each staff person and whomever they are collaborating with. Staff can collaborate in different groupings, at different times, even from week to week.

Who directs collaboration time?

As professionals, it is critical that we take charge of our own growth, and our contract reflects this common understanding we have reached with the District. The content and scheduling of collaboration time is decided by the individual staff and whatever group they have chosen to be in collaboration with.

What kind of communication is required with my principal?

The contract states that principals and the district "will not require any written documentation regarding collaboration time, although certificated staff will communicate with building administration regarding collaboration time." Collaboration is called out in our evaluation process, so for most principals that interaction has been sufficient. Principals who are unaware of what collaboration is happening, or who wish to know more, are free to ask staff what they may be doing.

How will this look next year?

The one hour of collaboration time will be incorporated into the school day for all cert staff beginning next year. This one hour will either be during a weekly early release or late arrival (still to be determined). Apart from now having a set time each week for collaboration, all of the above still applies.
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Tips you can use!

Tracy Gill, 6th grade social studies, Denny Middle School, and member of the SEA Institute for Equity Planning and Design Team
 
As one of the founding members of the Race and Equity team at Denny, creating systemic approaches to culturally relevant learning is important to me. As a member of the R & E Team, I've had the privilege of designing and delivering PD on equity and how our biases impact the learning of our students. I appreciate when all teachers take initiative to further our efforts.
 
Two teachers that are taking that initiative are Denny 6th grade science teacher Ben Evans, and Southshore Pre k-8 CTE teacher Mawiayah Fields, who worked together to create an " Equity Curriculum Review Protocol" for science teachers as a guide for creating culturally responsive curriculum. Ben Evans shared the protocol with our Denny principal, Jeff Clark, and asked him to have our Racial Equity Team amend it as we saw fit. Our Racial Equity Team made a few minor tweaks, and added a couple of questions, like, "How is scholar voice and expertise incorporated into this learning?"
 
Jeff Clark added the equity protocol to our Denny Toolkit, which includes "high leverage teaching tools," and it has now become the expectation for all teachers at Denny moving forward, not only the science department! We are treating it as a living document, and expect to amend it as we learn more about equity and culturally responsive teaching practices, but it's how we've made equity a systemic part of teaching at Denny.

Do you have a tip for certificated or classified staff? Send them to SEA@washingtonea.org.
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 > > > QUICK NOTES < < <

Have questions about goal setting? Check out these two FAQs on goal setting and student growth measures.

Attend the WEA Human and Civil Rights Leadership Conference, November 18 (evening) and 19th.

Coming up: American Education Week. Celebrate the team of educators in each of schools!
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SICK LEAVE REQUESTS

Gail Richards at Leschi is going through breast cancer treatment and has already run out of sick leave. Any assistance you can give in sick leave donations is very much appreciated.

Members can access the shared leave form on the District website ( www.seattleschools.org).  Go to the Human Resources section to access  "Current Employees" and "Leaves of Absence" to find the form. Forms can be submitted to Monica Menchaca, 206.252.0614 / Momenchaca@seattleschools.org, leave department analyst.
 
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