This was reportedly distributed to principals for their reference when discussing teacher contract negotiations.
TALKING POINTS FOR SPS LEADERS ON LABOR NEGOTIATIONS
• The vision for Seattle Public Schools is clear: We want every school to be an excellent school where every student receives excellent instruction.
• Nothing matters more to student achievement than good teachers.
• Our teachers deserve a system that recognizes their excellence and supports their growth as professionals.
• That is why we are proposing a new system to support all teachers at all levels of proficiency.
• We are building on our efforts in recent years to improve instruction through high quality aligned materials at all schools, professional development, and real time assessments of student learning.
NEW SYSTEM OF TEACHER SUPPORT NEEDED
• The next critical piece for improving instruction is clear. The District must hold itself accountable for results in student learning. We can do this by focusing resources on what research and experience tell us matter the most: supporting excellent instruction.
• A collaborative process is being proposed for Seattle where labor and teachers and school administrators come together to create a support system featuring a fair, thoughtful and balanced set of measures that help all teachers become even stronger.
• This system includes elements such as more collaborative time together, meaningful evaluations, recognition of teacher excellence, and specific strategies to support struggling teachers
• Supporting teachers’ success is at the heart of our goal to ensure that all students succeeding, so we must give teachers the tools they need to achieve as professionals.
• This includes using a balanced set of measures to give teachers meaningful and reliable feedback about their performance.
• We propose evaluations with multiple measures for four main areas:
1. Instruction and professional practice
2. Individual student growth, with multiple measures including District-required
and Teacher-determined measures
3. Whole school growth
4. Stakeholder evaluations
IMPORTANCE OF STUDENT GROWTH DATA TO A STRONG TEACHER EVALUATION SYSTEM
• When teachers have better information about how each of their students is doing, they are better prepared to help each student succeed.
• Teachers know how powerful good information about student learning is to their ability to reflect on their teaching and adjust to meet students’ needs.
• We have the chance to build the fairest and most reliable system in the nation, one that includes:
1. Multiple measures
2. Two assessments each year
3. Two year rolling average of data
4. Accounting for student demographic factors as we measure student growth
• We understand that teachers may want to wait and see how the system works before they opt in. So we propose that it be VOLUNTARY for existing teachers so they can decide if and when they want their evaluations to be tied to student growth.
• Tools like this will help us create a system that supports teachers who can teach to the gap – NOT to the test.
NEW RESOURCES ARE BEING SOUGHT TO BETTER SUPPORT OUR TEACHERS
• Supporting our teachers takes resources, and the district has demonstrated in recent years that even in tough economic times, we are strategic about using our resources so that student achievement is at the heart of our decisions.
• We have made extremely tough decisions in recent years so that we can dedicate every available dollar to our teachers in our classrooms.
• We have more than lived up to our commitment from previous negotiations to bring our teachers’ salaries up to competitive ranges.
• From the 2004-05 school year to 2009-2010, Seattle teachers’ salaries increased by 28%. The CPI during this time was around 16%.
• Ensuring that our teachers’ salaries more than kept pace with inflation and compared favorably to the region was important to ensure that we can retain and attract the best talent possible.
• Now that our teachers earn a professional salary (on average, over $82,000 including benefits), we need to focus on a system to ensure they are supported with professional development and practices that promote improving instruction at all levels.
• We are seeking federal Teacher Improvement Funds and will ask local voters for funds to support teachers in the years to come with programs such as:
1. For the 2011-2012 school year: 5 new STAR mentors, 2 HR consulting teachers, 208 career ladder positions, 150 service teachers -- total of $2,091,161
2. For the 2012-2013 school year: 5 new STAR mentors, 2 HR consulting teachers, 348 career ladder positions (including 17 higher-cost master teachers), 150 service teachers -- total of $2,560,361
3. For the 2015-2016 school year, we add approximately $4 million, assuming a scale-up of master teachers so that the lowest-performing 34 schools have at least a half time master teacher and the bottom 15 have a full time position. Having master teachers in every school would cost approximately $4.8 million in 2015-2016. The reason we are taking time to scale up is that we are requiring prior service as a demo and mentor teacher before qualifying as a master teacher
• These are just some of the elements we propose to add to support our teachers so that our students get the high quality education they all deserve. In addition to applying for a TIF grant and looking to local voters for supplemental levy funds, we work to continually increase efficiencies in our operations and remain active at the state and federal level to adequately fund public education.
TIMELINE AND MORE INFORMATION
• We all care about a strong and timely start for the school year. And we want to ensure successful instruction for all of our students. Because we know that good teaching is the path to student success, the district is ready to hold itself accountable to create a system that supports teachers’ professional success.
• Negotiations will resume again next week.
• We are committed to a good faith process at the negotiation table, and we will share information with the community on our website for labor relations at http://www.seattleschools.org/area/laborrelations/index.dxml.
• This information can also be accessed from the District’s home page by clicking on Labor Relations.
GENERAL TIPS AND SUGGESTED RESPONSES
• Start with statements about what we as Seattle Public Schools value:
o We respect the expertise and dedication of our teachers who serve our students every day.
o We are committed to offering an excellent education for every child.
• NEVER make negative comments about parties to the negotiation – no matter what.
o There are high expectations for the negotiators who come to the table, and each negotiation has its own dynamics.
o We are serious about increasing the quality of instruction in every school, and we know that we need significant change in the way we do business in order to meet our mutual goals of seeing all students succeed.
• Tie the concerns expressed back to the work we are doing to create a stronger system. Convey that we are working together on our students’ behalf.
o I hear how much you care about issue X. We understand how important this is to boost student achievement, and that’s why a meaningful and fair system to support teachers will make a solution to issue X possible.
• Do not speculate about what is happening at the table or why. Do not suggest new proposals or compromises that could be made.
o I understand you are concerned about issue Y being successfully resolved.
o Out of respect for a good negotiation process, I can’t speculate about what is happening at the negotiation table.
o But I can tell you what I know about the substance of our proposals, and everyone can look at the content posted on the web.
• Let people know where they can get more information.
o We will share information about our proposals on our website as we progress.
VALUES STATEMENTS AND CORE POINTS ABOUT NEGOTIATIONS
• Excellent instruction for every student is our core mission.
o We are all committed to providing every child an excellent education.
o We know that the quality of the teacher is the most important factor for student achievement that we control.
• Supporting excellent teaching is the heart of student success
o Our teachers deserve a system that supports them as professionals, recognizes their excellence, and encourages collaboration to strengthen instruction.
o That is why we are working together with labor representatives to make sure that every teacher gets the tools, time, support, and opportunity needed to help students succeed.
o Our proposal is that we continue to work collaboratively with teachers to complete a fair, thoughtful, and balanced evaluation tool that supports all teachers:
• We will offer paid stipends to recognize excellence and promote collaboration,
• We will increase support for principals to develop specific strategies to help struggling teachers improve their instruction by providing them with an additional $500 so they can access one-on-one mentoring or coaching or targeted professional development to help them improve their teaching practice,
• We will offer professional development and significantly more collaboration time—nearly 30 hours spread in throughout the year.
• HIGHLIGHTS OF RESEARCH ON THE CENTRAL IMPORTANCE OF TEACHER QUALITY
• One study looked at 8 year olds who started off at the same level of academic achievement. After 3 years, the students who had been taught by high-performing teachers scored 50 percentile points higher than those who had been taught by less effective teachers. The beneficial effect of a high quality teacher on student learning was even stronger for students struggling to meet academic standards.
• A recent NY Times article reported on a Harvard University study that found that the effects of a strong kindergarten teacher had an impact on children that lasted beyond their academic career, influencing their job prospects as young adults and even their lifetime earnings.
• On average, students taught by the lowest performing 5% of teachers only learn between ½ to 2/3 of a year’s worth of material. This means that two consecutive years of being taught by a low performing teacher can put a student a full grade level behind.
NOTE: an annotated bibliography of relevant research will be posted on the Labor Relations website