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School Board Spotlight

Good Evening,

I am pleased to have the opportunity to share the TVEA perspective with you tonight…

I have three bits of positive information to share and one policy area I would ask you to reflect on.

That would suggest that 75% of my Spotlight will be all positive which is I am sure you will agree is a good percentage for me…..

First off, I am very pleased to tell you of a new structure between TVUSD and TVEA in the sphere of Special Education. In addition to the periodic meetings I have with Special Ed Administration, we have occasional joint meetings between our own Special Education Committee and district administration. The first of these was in late October and the most recent was January 26th. Another is scheduled for late April.

This format of making the district leadership accessible to TVEA Special Education Committee members is much appreciated. TVEA has been pleased to host these meetings and thanks Kimberley Velez, Ami Paradise, and Breck Smith for trying to address issues in a proactive manner.

I must admit as I move toward the last portion of my two-year term the learning curve in Special Education has been steep. I still feel like I am driving up the Special Education mountain, but perhaps without the blind turns that I experienced last year.

Our TVEA LCAP Consult Committee is finalizing our own TVEA LCAP Survey which will be disseminated next week. This year we will survey our entire membership as opposed to just our Leadership Council as we did in 2014-15.

We are looking forward to hosting the first Consult meeting with the district on Wednesday March 2. Thank you to Diana Damon-White and the TVUSD LCAP team for your willingness to come to our home turf.

Finally, TVEA is very interested in continuing discussions with TVUSD about the best educational uses of one-time monies for our students and teachers. Our Common Core Advisory Committee is looking forward to hosting the district on March 11 to review 15-16 expenditures and take a preliminary look at potential 2016-17 monies.

Thank you to Andree Grey and Joe Balleweg for your willingness to meet with our group at the TVEA office.

These three things I have shared may not seem all that significant in and of themselves yet in combination we believe they are powerful not only to TVEA, but to TVUSD as well. It is evidence of a growing culture of collaboration where employee stakeholders are providing ongoing input and feedback.

Now for my final topic… I would like to share TVEA’s thoughts in addressing a favorite three letter sequence in local district circles…PLC

Over the last several weeks I have been part of discussions with HRD, ESS, the Superintendent, and a School Board member about PLC. I have shared the number one concern I have heard from teachers across elementary sites this year: Mandated 75 minute PLC’s on Wednesdays.

I believe we need a practical approach here that embraces the benefits of professional learning communities, yet also values the autonomy and professionalism of our highly educated teachers. There needs to be a culture of trust between site administrators and teachers that grade level groups are in fact collaborating.

Although I participated in PLC’s for many years as a high school teacher, I do not claim to be an expert on them. I do know that teachers need time and space to effectively create and share new ideas with their teams.

I ask you to reflect: Is it possible for a team of teachers to be doing PLC related tasks in their own classrooms for a portion of the scheduled PLC time? Is it necessary that all team members be face to face during each minute of scheduled PLC time? Are seventy-five minutes of organized PLC necessary each and every week?

In conclusion, TVEA believes that flexibility in the design of PLC supporting teacher autonomy will lead to increased creativity and production.

Thank you.

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