Sunday, October 15, 2006

Incentive briefing notes from Inglewood meeting

On Tuesday, August 22, 2006, hours before my term as a BOE member expired I attended the briefing on the Nashville Alliance Award Initiative given at Inglewood Elementary School. I've found my notes and I thought I'd share with you what those teachers and staff members in attendance were told. I do this to add first hand information to the discussion about what was known and what teacher concerns were.

References to committee mean the joint BOE and MNEA committee created to hash out the exact incentive terms.

I'll start by saying we met in the gymnasium of Inglewood Elementary and it was fairly full. The chatter I overhead between staff members indicated a great deal of positive interest in the proposal.

Other than Principal Brown and her staff those in attendance included:
Pedro Garcia, Nashville Superintendent of Schools
Jamye Merritt, MNEA President
Eric Huth VP MNEA and their chief negotiator
Kay Simmons, Executive Director Nashville Alliance for Public Education
Vince Cummings, SEIU rep (who was upset that he [and by that he meant the union] hadn't been invited.)
Diane Long of the MNPS Information Office (formerly of the Tennessean newspaper).
Mr. Blair Wilson

Jamye Merritt spoke saying that the first meeting regarding this incentive plan was scheduled for the next morning at 8:00 a.m. There was a starting document and they hoped to end with something better. "We want to do what's best for teachers." And she said that Dr. Garcia indicated the incentive would be 'for doing what you already do."

Mr. Blair Wilson was introduced as the money person. (I sat right next to him. While I wanted to thank him and speak more about the effort I only had time to give him my card as he was asked to speak to someone else before they needed to leave.)

Kay Simmons made some comments about the purpose of the NAPE being to align private support for public schools. This incentive pay would be called the Nashville Alliance Awards Initiative.

Pedro Garcia spoke for a bit about the history of the Alliance, the money that had been raised and the renovation of Randall for staff development. He then got back to the business at hand saying that originally the incentive plan was only going to include one school. However Mr. Wilson agreed to fund two schools. Garcia went on to say that the committee makes decisions but it all must be approved by Garcia and Mr. Wilson. They hoped to have a final agreement by October 15. Garcia said there was "nothing different you have to do." It's based on student achievement [with] a maximum of $6,000 per person by grade level.

Merritt: MNEA isn't abandoning incentive pay across the board for all teachers.

Question: How will growth be measured?
Answer: Merritt: Not yet determined. Committee will determine. You are the people it's going to effect.

Q: How was Inglewood Elementary chosen?
A: Garcia: We looked at schools on the target list and close to good standing category.
A: Wilson: And with a strong leadership team

Q: If we don't improve?
A: Garcia: No implications other than NCLB.
A: Merritt: This is a three year commitment. Is your question "Is there a stigma if progress not made?"
A: Simmons: Details not worked out. Not intention to have stigma. No public announcement with results. "Your neighbor won't know."
A: Merritt: Payroll information is public.

Q: How will support people be considered?
A: Merritt: MNEA will consider only certificated person.
A: Garcia: Everyone in school will share in success.

Q: If it goes really well will it go to all Metro schools?
A: Garcia: Just not that much money available. We need more community participation.
A: Wilson: "Personal goal" of his to do it. Unless it's successful it won't be expanded.

Q: How often will committee update us?
A: Garcia: Deadline is October 15.
A: Merritt: Be happy to come back and explain and at a community forum also.

Q: Are these committee meeting open? Sunshine Law?
A: Merritt: Meetings during the day but it's open. [I understood her to be saying that teachers may not be able to attend as the meetings will be during their regular work hours.]

Q: Will there be pre-assessment and post?
A: Garcia: You have to have some. We do that anyway. Idea is to not do anything extra.
A: Wilson: Baseline will be the previous year. "Kids are tested enough." Not seen as a program to help teachers but to help kids.

Q: What if we work hard and the scores don't go up? The community will know, it'll be in the paper.
A: Garcia: "My belief is that it will happen."
A: Wilson: We're not seeking publicity until the scores go up.

Q: Were Arkansas teachers [where a similar program was studied by MNPS, MNEA and the BOE] able to tell you what they did differently and what we can do?
A: Merritt: They worked as a team.
A: Wilson: Great idea. Principal Brown can call Arkansas and see what worked.
A: Merritt: School was already showing gains. If it doesn't happen it won't be because you didn't work hard.

Q: Did they use reward programs for children?
A: Garcia: We haven't seen anything at the elementary level.

Ending comment from Garcia: I'm really sorry that you were disappointed by not having met [AYP]. It doesn't mean you're a bad faculty. It doesn't mean anything to me. You're working hard and doing everything you need to do.


Tom said...

Who is Blair Wilson?

Kay Brooks said...
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