A report on the September and October 2015 Consultation Meetings
Consultation is a structured process, outlined in SAISD Board Policy, which serves as a means by which the District consults with District employees on matters of educational policy and conditions of employment. The San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel is the organization elected by employees to serve as the Consultation organization. Our Alliance Consultation Team meets with the SAISD Administration’s Consultation Team to discuss issues and work towards solutions. There is a Paraprofessional/ Classified Consultation meeting and a Teacher/Professional Consultation meeting each month during the school year.
Social Studies Textbooks
Our Alliance leaders have had many questions from secondary Social Studies teachers about their textbooks. Last spring, the SAISD Textbook Committee recommended, and the school board approved, textbooks for this school year; however, when the school year started only U.S. History received new textbooks.
When our Alliance Consultation Team raised our question about the textbooks, Deputy Superintendent Weber stated that the district’s focus had shifted since the time of the committee’s recommendation. The administration wants to emphasize AP and dual credit more and plans to invest in pre-AP and AP textbooks.
Social Studies Director Janet Mansmann said that the department has always provided supplemental materials and that the department has provided a list of all the supplemental materials that are in the schools. She stated that much of the curriculum is around the TCI (Geography Alive, History Alive, Government Alive, Economics Alive).
Our Alliance Team asked the following questions, which are shown with administration’s responses.
Q: The previous textbooks were removed from campuses but then class sets were given back once the district focus changed. Can the old textbooks be given back to the campuses so that all students have a textbook?
A: Administration will revisit providing students with textbooks. If the books are being stored and are needed they can provide those for the students.
Q: A lot of copies are made when using TCI supplemental materials because consumables like the TCI Interactive Student Notebook are no longer purchased for students. Will central administration make sure the principals are aware of the need Social Studies teachers have for more paper/clicks?
A: Administration will communicate with principals regarding this need.
Q: Can IMA (Instructional Materials Allotment) be used to assist with the purchase of paper?
A: No, but IMA can be used for purchasing supplemental materials.
Our Alliance Team will continue discussions at the November meeting. Teachers may send questions and suggestions on this topic to Consultation Team member Andraya Young at AYoung2@saisd.net.
Tweaks to Electronic Discipline Referral
Last school year, the Alliance team and the administration’s team came to agreement to pilot an electronic discipline referral the last nine weeks with the intent to go districtwide with the system this school year. Based on the pilot, as well as the initial districtwide implementation this year, a number of changes/revisions were recommended. Here is a summary of those recommendations and their status:
|Teacher should receive notice that the referral actually went through.||Administration is checking on whether referring staff member will receive an email notification of receipt.|
|The “previous action taken” section should include the “if applicable” wording. It is not clear that this section is optional.||This has been added.|
|The referral should state that the administrator will inform the teacher of what action was taken within 5 school days.||This has been added to the administrator’s view but not on referring staff member’s view. Administration is still working on this.|
|There should be an alert to the teacher that the administrator took action.||A teacher is supposed to be able to change his/her preferences in the settings to receive notifications. Working on confirming this.|
|If two students are involved in an incident, the administrator should be able to split the incident apart by the students. The system gives one record with two students instead of two records.||Still waiting for response.|
|All instructional staff, including instructional assistants, should have access to submit electronic discipline referrals.||Agreement was reached in Consultation on 10-6-15 to move forward with this.|
|Paper copies of the discipline referral should still be available for substitutes, for if the system is down, etc.||Yes. Resolved at 10-6-15 Consultation meeting.|
|A teacher who has a student should have access to discipline referrals written by another teacher, such as PE or music teacher.||Still waiting for response.|
|“Reported by” field should be unlocked.||Still waiting for response.|
|The administrator still has to have parents sign. If the forms could be scanned back into the system that would be helpful.||Still waiting for response.|
|It is problematic to always have to log in so an app would be helpful.||Administration is checking into this.|
|If behavior contracts could be scanned and attached, that would be helpful.||Scanning into the system is not available. We will discuss other possible ways to address this.|
|Add a glossary or definition of terms.||Not available. We will discuss other possible ways to address this.|
|Develop some online training that employees can access.||Agreed to in 10-6-15 Consultation.|
Your Alliance leaders will continue to propose changes as needed. Please email Gracie Oviedo at gracieo@SanAntonioAlliance.org or Susan Castro at email@example.com with any recommendations you have for making the electronic discipline referrals as effective and efficient as possible. You may also contact Gracie and Susan with questions regarding the electronic referrals. Additionally, Alliance members who need assistance with discipline concerns may contact their Alliance worksite rep or their Alliance organizer at 210-225-7174 or info@SanAntonioAlliance.org.
Compass Math Program
Alliance leaders have been communicating with district administration since early in the school year about issues with the implementation of Compass Math. The original window for the universal screener and the diagnostic assessment was extended as a result. Also, the interventions were going to be limited to 25% of the students but that has changed. All students will have access to the interventions.
At the October Consultation meeting, the administration reported that it is not a requirement to report at-risk math info to the state. Therefore, any deadlines are internal and can be adjusted.
The Alliance Consultation Team asked that teachers have access to take the screener, assessments, and interventions in order to become familiar with the new program. The administration said yes. Our team also pointed out that there is not a document that a teacher can take to an RtI meeting to show student level and progress. Administration said they will go back and look at that issue.
Required assessments list posted
The list of required assessments has been posted to the “Employee” tab on the SAISD website under “Rules and Policies.” The list includes the official title of the assessment, audience tested, frequency of the assessment, approximate duration, purpose/justification, and legal policy or correlation.
Now, if teachers, principals, or parents wants to know what assessments are actually required, they can easily find the info. The link is: http://www.saisd.net/admin/newtech/testing/documents/District_Wide_Assessment_Listing.pdf
The next steps are to discuss what assessments are providing info that helps educators with instruction and to discuss the process for how an assessment becomes required.
Annualized pay for bus drivers?
Currently SAISD bus drivers receive their pay over nine months. The advantage is a higher monthly amount for those nine months than if the pay was spread over twelve months. The disadvantage is that they do not have a consistent income, which means trying to find a summer job for two months.
Our Alliance Team requested scenarios as to what annualized pay would look like for bus drivers. CFO Larry Garza will put together that info and share it with Alliance leaders for use in discussions with the employees. Our Alliance leaders will be seeking feedback from bus drivers as to their preference – continue pay over nine months or move to pay over twelve months.
Internet accessibility issues w/ Region 20 and Gradebook
SAISD Chief Information Officer Patti Holub reported at the September meeting that there had been six incidents of accessibility issues, and it has been at Region 20. Each incident happened right around attendance time. Region 20 allocated more resources to SAISD, and there had not been an incident since that change was made.
Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC)
Several issues related to BIC were discussed in September. The 13 gallon trash bags that are busting were discussed. Also, managers did not have access to enrollment numbers, and some teachers reported not receiving enough breakfasts. Some teachers felt that BIC should not be started at the beginning of the year until numbers even out. Administration said the principals want it on the first day because they want the kids to get into a routine. Administration also felt that boundary changes, schools closing, the number of new principals, and the layout of new or renovated campuses all contributed to a less smooth start this year.
If an SAISD employee is required to use his/her vehicle to travel, that employee is entitled to mileage reimbursement. During the summer, head custodians were required to pick up checks for their employees but many of them were not aware that they were entitled to mileage reimbursement. A memo was supposed to go out to head custodians making this clear to them but did not. CFO Larry Garza said at the September Consultation meeting that he will update the info and get it out.
Square footage and custodial allocations
The Alliance Team has requested a report on square footage per campus and building in order to study custodial allocations. The SAISD Board approved 11 additional custodial allocations and 8 of those positions had been filled as of the September Consultation meeting. Our Alliance Team requested a full list showing where allocations from the closed schools as well as new allocation went.