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Wed, Nov. 20

School board looks at 301 pay

The proposed Williams Unified School District 301 Performance Pay Plan for the 2002-03 academic year will focus on improved behavior while promoting academic goals, said Ann Wells, Williams High School teacher.

Wells, along with Master Teacher Jane Kirkley, presented the proposed plan to the Williams Board of Education during a special work session Nov. 19.

Wells and Kirkley met with a committee six times over a two-month period to formulate the performance pay plan, Wells said.

The plan consists of six triggers that outline goals to be achieved by the end of the 2002-03 academic year. Teacher performance pay funds are received through Proposition 301 monies. Proposition 301 was passed by voters in 2000. Money received from 301 is broken down into three categories: 40 percent for performance pay, 20 percent for base compensation increases for teachers and 40 percent for teachers’ salaries.

The 40 percent fund for performance pay is distributed to teachers at the end of the school year if the district meets the goals formulated earlier in the year. If one of six goals is attained, 25 percent of 301 performance pay monies are distributed to teachers. When two of six goals are met, 50 percent of the fund is distributed. If three of six triggers are achieved, 75 percent of performance pay is awarded to teachers. When four of six goals are met, 100 percent of the money is distributed.

Trigger One of the plan promotes increased parental involvement district-wide. During the 2001-02 academic year, 27.8 percent of students had their records accessed through PowerSchool. The goal of the committee is to increase that amount to 35 percent. Previously, only 1.1 percent of parents signed up to receive progress reports via e-mail. The goal for this year is to increase that number to five percent.

Trigger Two focuses on reducing office referrals at the Williams Elementary-Middle School. The goal is to reduce these referrals by 25 percent from the first quarter to the end of the school year. The report reflected that during the first quarter, 77 elementary and 242 middle school students were referred to the office for inappropriate behavior.

The goal of Trigger Two seems unrealistic and is setting up the school for failure, said board member Albert “Bud” Parenteau Jr.

“The number of referrals are slowing down,” said David Bowling, WEMS principal.

“You have high ideals and I value you for that,” Parenteau said to Bowling.

Parenteau further explained that he did not want Bowling to personally feel responsible for achieving the goal of Trigger Two.

Reduced unexcused absences and tardies at the high school are the goals of Trigger Three. The report reflected that last year’s attendance showed 2.03 unexcused absences per the average daily membership. The average number of tardies was 15.7. The Trigger Three goal is to reduce these figures by three percent during the 2002-03 school year.

Trigger Four, the academic improvement goal, targets the recent labeling of the WEMS as under-performing. The overall goal is to improve the WEMS label to maintaining and remain maintaining at the WHS.

The most extensive goal, Trigger Four must be accomplished to receive any 301 monies, said Wells.

Under Trigger Four, the mapping of curriculum for grades kindergarten through twelfth must be completed and in alignment with the Arizona Academic Standards. Once curriculum is mapped, each teacher will develop three lessons with appropriate assessments for three standards of their underlying concepts and performance objectives.

Elementary teachers will develop a standard-based lesson including math, reading and language to assure that at each grade level, there will be nine different standards accompanied by assessments.

At the middle and high school level, each teacher will develop three lessons and assessments for their content area. For all teachers, one of the assessments designed for a standard-based lesson is required to utilize student writing evaluated by a six-trait writing rubric.

Trigger Five has been designated to illustrate student academic achievement improvement based on the formula outline by the state that classified the WEMS as an under-performing campus. The goal of Trigger Five is to show a four- percent increase of students showing academic growth. Using AIMS scores as a guideline, an increase of four percent of students moving from “falls far below standards” to “approaches” and/or “meets or exceeds” standards.

“This should be a reasonable goal to achieve since students only have to move one column,” said Kirkley.

The goal detailed in Trigger Six is to show improvement at the WHS in the overall percentage of students who meet or exceed the three standards formally assessed in all their classes. During the 2001-02 academic year, 29 percent of students met and 48 percent exceeded the standards assessed. In the “core” academic classes, 37 percent met and 44 percent exceeded the standards.

The goal for the 2002-03 year is to exceed the standards by three percent in all classes taught at the WHS. The ultimate goal for future years is to show improvement until 85 percent of the student population is meeting or exceeding all standards tested in all classes taught.

The committee recommended in their report that since a district-wide plan is to be adopted, 301 money will be shared among all teachers within the district who meet the criteria set forth by the state. The teachers must sign the agreement to participate in the 301 plan.

Each teacher will be given a copy of the 301 plan and will be given the option to participate in the work toward meeting the six triggers of the plan. If a teacher chooses to participate, they will sign an agreement stating that they agree to all of the work involved in reaching the district-wide goals.

If a teacher chooses not to participate, signing the statement will preclude them from receiving any 301 monies if triggers are met. If a teacher signs the agreement to participate and fails to complete the work, the teacher will forfeit the opportunity to receive 301 monies.

The 301 performance pay compensation is limited to classroom teachers and other certified school employees. Performance pay is not available for classified staff.

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