Climate surveys, ACE Plan update, TEI Expert Groups, and more

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“Notes from the Superintendent” is a document intended to provide answers to the most frequently asked or most topical questions that I hear from our dedicated teachers and staff members at the campus level. These notes are kept on the HUB, the district’s online newsroom, and will provide brief answers to different questions every two weeks. If you have a question related to something that affects a number of employees, you may submit that question here. I hope this additional form of communication will help all of us stay on the same page and enhance our ability to serve our students.


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Are the climate surveys anonymous?

Answer: Yes. The survey is conducted by an independent third party. The district does not send the email to the employees nor receive the responses from the employees. We only send the vendor the list of email addresses for all of our campus-based employees. We do not know names. And the vendor doesn’t have names, they only have email accounts. The only way we know about the campus response rates is from the vendor. They only provide us with the number of responses; they do not provide names or email account information. Anonymity IS guaranteed.

Question: How much is the stipend that I2020 teachers receive for the longer school day that I2020 campuses have?

Answer: I2020 teachers receive a $1,000 stipend for teaching an extra hour at I2020 schools. The District plans to increase that stipend to $2,000 for the 15-16 school year.

Question: Will the school day be longer at ACE schools and will all ACE teachers receive a stipend?

Answer: Yes, students in ACE schools will receive an additional hour of instruction or enrichment. All ACE teachers and administrative staff will receive a stipend for the additional hour of instruction or enrichment. The chart below outlines the proposed stipends. See the latest draft of the ACE plan here.

ACE Stipend Chart

Question: I know you have answered this before, but I don’t remember. I’m hearing a lot about how members of the TEI Expert Group are helping determine key points of the implementation of TEI and I’d like to be a part of that decision-making. How can I become a member of the TEI Expert Group next year?

Answer: Every school is allowed two teachers to serve as representatives to the TEI Expert Group. High schools are allowed to have three members. It is up to the principal to decide who to serve on the TEI Expert Group. Principals may choose to appoint the members or allow the staff to select the representatives. The District has established only one parameter: teachers on the TEI Expert Group must be supportive of TEI and be willing to work to improve it.

Principals will submit names for the 2015-2016 TEI Expert Group by 15 May 2015. They may choose to keep the same members or provide an opportunity for others to serve.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • The district is currently reviewing resumes to fill three cabinet vacancies: Chief of Staff, Chief of School Leadership, and Chief of Human Capital Management.
  • In the last two fiscal years, the district has received $36,268,720 in E-rate funding from the federal government.
  • The Superintendent’s Scholarship Run on May 16 will raise money for scholarships for Dallas ISD students. The run is replacing the golf tournament held in past years. The run will allow more Dallas ISD students, staff, families, and community members to participate. Learn more and sign up at www.dallasisdscholarshiprun.org.

EXCERPTS

From The Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness, The New Teacher Project, June 2009.

Of course, as teachers themselves are acutely aware, they are not at all the same. Just like professionals in other fields, teachers vary. They boast individual skills, competencies and talents. They generate different responses and levels of growth from students.

In a knowledge-based economy that makes education more important than ever, teachers matter more than ever. This report is a call to action—to policy-makers, district and school leaders and to teachers and their representatives—to address our national failure to acknowledge and act on differences in teacher effectiveness once and for all. To do this, school districts must begin to distinguish great from good, good from fair, and fair from poor. Effective teaching must be recognized; ineffective teaching must be addressed.

Suppose you are a parent determined to make sure your child gets the best possible education. You understand intuitively what an ample body of research proves: that your child’s education depends to a large extent on the quality of her teachers. Consequently, as you begin considering local public schools, you focus on a basic question: who are the best teachers, and where do they teach?

The question is simple enough. There’s just one problem—except for word of mouth from other parents, no one can tell you the answers. In fact, you would be dismayed to discover that not only can no one tell you which teachers are most effective, they also cannot say which are the least effective or which fall in between. Were you to examine the district’s teacher evaluation records yourself, you would find that, on paper, almost every teacher is a great teacher, even at schools where the chance of a student succeeding academically amounts to a coin toss, at best.

 In short, the school district would ask you to trust that it can provide your child a quality education, even though it cannot honestly tell you whether it is providing her a quality teacher.

This is the reality for our public school districts nationwide. Put simply, they fail to distinguish great teaching from good, good from fair, and fair from poor. A teacher’s effectiveness—the most important factor for schools in improving student achievement—is not measured, recorded, or used to inform decision-making in any meaningful way.

 


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