Thursday, May 05, 2016

Dear Substitutes, Here's a Start to Your Thread

From SPS Communications:

District investigating financial agreement made by former employee

SEATTLESeattle Public Schools is looking into a settlement agreement that a former district employee entered into with Seattle Education Association (SEA) for more than $500,000, and without superintendent or School Board approval. The agreement is related to long-term pay for substitutes, some of which has already been distributed.

The district will complete a review of how this occurred and continue legal assessment to decide a course of action. The district will provide updates as they become available.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Sheesh, Another, she opened this thread in response to requests from a couple of self-identified Substitute Teachers on another thread. I don't think you are under attack here, but it doesn't seem like you are giving anyone else the benefit of the doubt either!


Dave W. said...

Some of us have been telling the District that the Labor Relations Department is out of control for a year and a half.

Nice to see its finally coming around.

Elsa said...

Expect the employee to go to work for the teachers shortly. That's how it works.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm sorry if anyone found the opening to the thread to be disrespectful. I did not mean it that way but I was startled to find this notification from the district and thought it might be something the substitutes could relate to in terms of how the district sees them.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Was Ron English mixed up in this?

Anonymous said...
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GarfieldMom said...

Maybe they figured if the supe can sign big contracts without board approval, anyone can? I mean, there were no consequences for him...

Eloise said...

The buck should stop at Miller's fearless leader: Mr. Brent Jones.

Anonymous said...

The crux of the issue is that if long term substitutes have to do the same work as permanent staff, with the same expectation of outcomes, that they should be paid the same. That's the work we negotiated for in the contract. This isn't a new contract but as I see it a correct interpretation of the one we agreed to. What is not unusual is that this is also in keeping with all past determinations of sub pay in the contract. If the administrator didn't follow protocol then we need to follow that but the determination is ultimately correct and part of what the board and superintendent signed off on.

No shenanigans here.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will try to ask some questions today.

Good point, Garfield Mom.

Anonymous said...

At my school, and across the district, especially in elementary schools, special education and ELL teachers are asked to sub in for absent general education teachers. Kids' special ed is cancelled. Doesn't seem right. Is it? This happens all the time.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I asked at district communications about this issue and they have nothing else to say on the subject.

Anonymous said...

What issue?


Melissa Westbrook said...

The issue that I started the thread with - the news that SEA paid some sub a settlement without telling the district or the Board.

Elsa said...

Two words best sum up this continuing culture of lawlessness: Charles Wright.

Anonymous said...

Since this is supposedly a thread about subs and once again misinformation and inaccurate information about subs was alleged, here is the letter from the SEA Sub President.

Honestly the pearl clutching and finger wagging is one thing the allegations however are very inappropriate.

This is the email received today..

- Pissed off Sub

In last week's Unity, an update was sent out regarding our long standing grievance to ensure long term (90+ day) certificated substitutes receive TRI. The District recognized the arbitrary distinctions that discouraged substitutes from taking long-term assignments and agreed to pay TRI for these positions dating back to the 12-13 school year. The amount of the settlement on this issues was well above the $250,000 threshold that requires School Board approval.

We have learned from District leadership that the proper procedures for receiving Board approval did not occur. The District is going back to the Board to show the public the purpose of the agreement, and follow the procedure that follows Board policy, and honors transparency. For this reason, the final payment of the 12-13 school year back pay will not appear on paychecks until August 1st because this requires a Board vote which will take place on July 6.

This provides time for the Board to introduce the topic and amount to the public, and approve the settlement. Given the fact that this agreement mirrors the agreement we made in our new contract and addresses a clear inequity in the treatment of educators, we expect the Board will approve the settlement.

To this point, the total amount for the 13-14, and 14-15 TRI payments was $494,316. The District is still in the process of calculating the payments for the 12-13 school year.

This was a big win for our members! Thanks to all who worked to make this happen. We ask for your patience as the District works through this.

Peter Henry, SEA Substitute Association President

Anonymous said...

Copied from another thread:

Part 1:

I realize this is off topic but I have to address the post by -Former Stevens Parent.

Wow, it is shocking how little respect subs get. Obviously, I don't know the exact situation with the sub that was in your son's class. However, I did want to provide a bit of perspective from a sub.

I taught for 8 years at a middle school. Took time off to be home with my kids. This is my 2nd year subbing.

Here is what a normal day subbing looks like:
-90% of sub plans say absolutely nothing about what the teacher's classroom management system is. It is very hard for kids when the sub has no idea what the teacher typically does when behavior issues come up.

If your son's classroom is "a bit chaotic" when their teacher is there I am going to assume that means the class is difficult to manage.

The best sub plans (sadly, this is rare) specify exactly what is done when students are disruptive, disrespectful, etc. Also, specifying in the sub plans which students often have issues and suggestions on what works best with those students is incredibly helpful for subs but is rarely included in sub plans.

My guess is that your teacher left none of this info for the sub.

Also, a few teachers teach their students the expectations when a sub is in the class and go over the consequences for misbehaving. It is very apparent which teachers do this and which don't.

Next, 75% of the time I am in a class the teacher does not leave nearly enough work for the kids. It is typical in an elementary school class for a teacher to have a 75 minute chunk of time and assigns the kids work that takes the majority of the class 15 minutes to complete. That leaves 50 minutes for the kids to usually "read silently." Most elementary school kids do not have the stamina to read for that long and the teacher would never expect students to do that when he/she is present. Thus, the kids get antsy and bad behavior starts to happen. This scenario happens again and again.

Many subs prepare for this by bringing things for the kids to do to keep them focused. Coloring sheets for younger kids, crossword puzzles, word searches, read aloud books, dot to dots etc. This helps a great deal in reducing behavior issues that arise from kids being bored from poor lesson plans.

Sometimes, when the classroon teacher finds out the sub brought extra activities, the teacher becomes upset because the sub did not "follow the lesson plan" which entailed the kids sitting and silent reading for 50 minutes. The sub is not asked back, and may be banned from the school.

The sub's perspective on the situation is never considered. Did the teacher explain the clasroom's management system? Did the teacher leave a seating chart (It is shocking how rarely this is done. It is no easy task to mange a class when the teacher knows none of the kids' names) Were the lesson plans thorough and clear, and did they provide enough work to keep the kids engaged and busy for the entire school day?

It is absolutely ridiculous how little respect subs receive in this district. Subs are banned from classrooms and schools without ever asking the sub to explain their rational for what was done.

As I said earlier I taught full time for 8 years and consider myself to be competent, compassionate and professional at all times.

The "blame the sub for everything" attitude I see at many of the schools I sub at is reprehensible.
This will be the last year I sub as the district I taught in hired me back for next fall. The two years I spent subbing have been the most isolating and depressing years of my professional career.


Anonymous said...

I realize this is off topic but I have to address the post by -Former Stevens Parent.
-Part 2

Instead of always bashing subs, who in most cases are doing the best they can with the poor lesson plans they were left, how about thanking them for coming and telling them they are appreciated?

I hope everyone who has something negative to say about a "problem sub" is willing to consider the sub's perspective and that perhaps they did they best they could with inadequate lesson plans, no classroom management information, and no student accountability from parents, teachers or administrators for inappropriate behavior.

There is no Substitute Appreciation Week for substitutes but that is something I will be advocating for at my school next year.


Anonymous said...

At many schools the secretaries are the all powerful ones when it comes to calling subs. If they decide they don't like someone or a classroom teacher makes a complaint about a sub. to secretary BANNED. Usually teacher complaint is based on "report" the class gives the teacher about the sub. No recourse ever. How about treat the subs like the professionals they are and have a conversation with them before banning them. So many teachers don't seem to understand that the way their students behave with them is not they way most classes will behave when is sub is there. Subs can't be honest in their sub notes if a class was disrespectful, disruptive, etc because the teacher won't want the sub back. Subs who want to keep coming back often resort to not being truthful in their sub notes about how the day went.
-Worst job

Anonymous said...

I agree with both posts that are above. The level of game playing is something to be believed in order to work is shocking for adult professionals. Funny with all the signs about bullying I see far more of it exhibited by the adults in the school which makes one wonder who those are directed to.

Its damned if you do damned if you don't. If you leave actual notes about kids behavior then it is your fault. If you don't you must be "covering" up for your failings and are fault.

The lack of communication and support is also on parade from Admin, other Teachers or Security (which oddly they don't have in elementary). I don't know what I like in more, the pop in which is the supposed example of support or the none at all. Is that a sign that you are "good" and don't need it or what? Again more confusion.

I won't go into the non-existent lesson plans, inappropriate movies or subject that subs cover. I think FLASH is one that comes to mind. No seating charts or the assigned duties that again are almost impossible when you don't know kids names, grades or whom even to tell. And kids don't respect subs in the classroom so why would they in the lunchroom, bus or playground.

I often think children would complain about subs for no reason other than they can, it is then reinforced by the Teacher who uses it as some sort of validation, then they report it to the power (the secretary) who in turn makes them a persona non grata. Then kids learn that power and like the Sub above is done repeatedly.. it is a learned behavior.. from whom the Teacher and the School.

Subs we see all and could tell all but we can't or we are out of work. And my 22K salary is sort of kind of needed here. But hey I will now get back pay for all the crappy long term gigs I take to survive! (If i ever see it)

- Pissed off sub

older teacher said...

Twenty-five years of teaching and I started my first year as a sub. I was called into a classroom in October for a teacher whose parent had died suddenly. No plans. Two weeks. My teaching college recommended that teachers who subbed first needed plans so I put several notebooks together at different levels and was ready.

I walked into that class confident and prepared. I knew enough about what was important - reading, writing and math - and I taught them. Maybe not the way the teacher would but definitely it was good teaching. I had no complaints, I was never without something to engage the kids, and I wasn't making it up on the fly. I knew how to teach.

I subbed a lot that year from north Seattle to Concord. I was always called back. One principal even apologized for not hiring me - he assumed the distance I drove each day was too great. He was right. I wouldn't have taken it. That particular job required me to set up a K classroom.

My experience with subs today is diverse. A lot of new teachers do not write well. I no longer give real teaching assignments to subs because they don't teach them . . . the way I would I guess. I leave lots of "engaging" activities as best I can. And silent reading never hurt anyone. Also, subs today do not correct papers. I come back to them. Subs used to do that.

Finally, it takes hours to plan a really good day for a sub. If you are sick, you do the best you can and hope you get someone who comes prepared to work with kids whether your plans are perfect or not. Spending time creating real teaching plans and having them left undone or poorly taught is really discouraging. Also, the time it takes to complete full plans for four-six hours - believe me, every teacher I know would rather be there than have to spend time making plans.

When I come back to a small note on how the day went and a positive message, I'm happy. I don't expect the sub to be a clone of me. Anybody who can't engage kids for a day or two has no business subbing in my opinion.

Having said the above, if a sub is in for the long term, absolutely they deserve every single perk/pay/whatever that a regular teacher gets. They are the teacher! But subs - long term or short - are not there to judge teachers. That is the job of the principal.

Anonymous said...

And so it is your job to judge subs when they are not in the room and group of children tell you "this sub was mean" without so much as a phone call to find out who was in the room and why they were "mean" I see....

Gosh 25 years ago you were a sub. How relevant today! I have been in this business as long as you and while I have seen more Student Teachers who are utterly incompetent I like to point out that they are as good as their mentor Teacher..hmm... and then oddly get hired by the

Just a thought there.. what school do you work at and I will never sub there.. thanks

_ Pissed off sub

older teacher said...

I have never put a single ounce of faith into my kids opinions of subs. You are angry and I'm sorry about that. Maybe you should reflect on that a bit. And i always call subfinder for subs because our sec'y has been told we have to get our own and I don't do phone tag. Teachers used to have support but today we do it all.

I'm not there to teach student teachers to write. They are substitutes for a day or a few days. You have a very odd take on teachers. Perhaps another profession would be better for you.

older teacher said...

BTW, why do you think teachers haven't experienced the same decline in the profession as subs? We are teaching the same kids you are subbing...

Anonymous said...

Ah the typical condescension I have come to expect - you know most subs are retired or did you not READ my reference to my years in the field? Ah me thinks we are done here in more ways than one
-pissed off sub