A Report On The April 2015 Consultation Meeting

San Antonio AllianceAlliance News

Semester Exam Proposal Survey Results

Our Alliance leaders have been gathering feedback from secondary teachers on the administration’s proposal to use end-of-semester exams as a replacement for two or three CBAs (Curriculum-Based Assessments).

After holding a forum for secondary teachers in February, our Alliance leaders sent out a survey to all secondary teachers. 141 teachers responded. Our Alliance team shared the results of the survey at the April Consultation meeting. For some of the questions, there was a clear preference; for others, the results were mixed.Discussions will continue at the May 21st Consultation meeting.

CBAs should be replaced with semester exams for all middle and high school courses. No opinion 10 7%
Strongly Disagree 16 11%
Disagree 19 13%
Strongly Agree 46 33%
Agree 50 35%
Should semester exams be available to view by teachers prior to the start of each semester, so that teachers can teach with the end in mind?  

 

Unsure or no opinion 16 11%
No 30 21%
Yes 95 67%
Should semester exams count for 15% of the student grade?

 

No opinion 14 10%
No, the weight should be greater. 14 10%
No, the weight should be less. 49 35%
Yes 64 45%
Who should create the semester exams?

 

Individual teachers should create semester exams from a bank of test questions provided by the district. 16 11%
C&I should create all semester exams with review/approval by a teacher committee. 18 13%
Individual teachers should create their own semester exams. 28 20%
C&I should create all semester exams in collaboration with a subject area teacher committee. 30 21%
Teachers, by dept., at each campus should collaborate to create semester exams for the campus. 49 35%

SB 149 changes graduation picture

The administration provided an update on Senate Bill (SB) 149, a bill that provides an opportunity for an alternative graduation path for students who do not meet the required passing standards on certain EOC assessments. This bill passed both houses of the Texas Legislature and has been signed by the Governor. Unlike most changes to the law, that become effective at some date in the future, this bill became law almost immediately, leaving extremely short lead time for school districts.

Under the law, districts are required to form individual graduation committees (IGCs). The new law establishes this opportunity to graduate for senior students who have met all their course requirements but have not demonstrated satisfactory performance on up to two EOC assessments. School districts still need to administer EOC assessment retakes until the student graduates.

The Commissioner of Education has issued some rules relative to implementation as school districts all over the state try to meet the new law. Through no fault of their own, school districts truly have to build the plane while they’re flying it.

SAISD estimates that there will be 250-300 potential alternative path graduates in this year’s senior class.

Fixed Assets – Administrator Responsibility

Our Alliance Support Personnel Team reported at the April meeting that the fixed assets inventory is falling on the library assistants. Associate Superintendent for HR, Toni Thompson, stated that HR will send a reminder memo to campus administrators stating that the fixed assets inventory is the responsibility of the administrator and that s/he should assign a team of employees to work on the inventory, not one individual.

Notaries at campuses 

Earlier this year, the administration decided to have campus secretaries become notaries in order to make it convenient for parents who need school-related documents notarized.  The district paid the fee for the secretaries to become notaries and also bonded them.

Some data clerks requested the opportunity to be notaries as well. Alliance Consultation Team member Cheryl Solis surveyed data clerks on the issue. There were 44 respondents.

Would you like to become a certified Notary? How many times a year do you need a document notarized? Are you a certified Notary?
35 Yes 37 responded “more than 5 times” 7 Yes

 

Ms. Thompson, Associate Superintendent from HR, said she will look into the possibility of data clerks getting certified as notaries.

At the January Consultation meeting, our Alliance team raised the concern that many library printers are not dedicated specifically for library use. Additionally, many libraries have old circulation computers. Our Alliance team requested that the district find out which libraries have dedicated printers as well as the age of the circulation computers.

The administration team reported at the April meeting that the majority of the library computers are at least five years old. Administration reported that the Technology Department plans to budget in one new computer for each library for the 2015-16 budget year.  Administration said any other needed equipment should be a site-based campus decision and should come from funds allocated to the campus budget.

Too much on backs of custodians

With additions to many schools via the SAISD Bond Program, custodians have more square footage to clean but no additional help. Our Alliance Support Personnel Team raised the concern at the April Consultation meeting. At many of the schools with added square footage it is not possible to accomplish what is required in an 8-hour day. The Executive Director of Plant Services, Michael Sanchez, acknowledged the problem, but the district does not want to hire new custodial staff until after the custodians from schools that are closing are placed for next year.

Our Alliance leaders emphasized the need to find an interim solution. Discussion will continue at the May 21 meeting.