Thursday, January 26, 2012

Welby and Westvale

I had school visits at Welby and Westvale over the last couple of days.  I helped members "flip" to E-Z Pay and answered questions about EFT and the coming legislative session.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Teacher Transfer Fair

The District is going to try out a Teacher Transfer Fair.  Teachers who are looking to transfer must have a completed transfer form as their entrance pass.  You can get one at the door if you don't get one before the Fair.  There will be an hour when teachers can walk around and be introduced to various principals and sign-up for an interview.  After a 30 minute break where JEA will offer refreshments, 15-minute interviews will be held.  Each teacher could have up to 6 interviews that day.  Because the time is short, teachers are asked to bring a resume but not a portfolio.  Human Resources (HR) will contact teachers who principals would like to have at their building.  Some teachers may be requested by multiple principals, so you may be given a choice of which school you transfer to.  The goal of the Fair is to help teachers go to schools where they want to be and to help principals find teachers who would fit well in their school.  In addition, if teachers receive a transfer, there will be fewer Reduction In Staff (RIS) teachers to place.

We still don't know how RIS teachers will be determined, except that evaluation and school need are the criteria that can be used as far as state law and district policy.  All RIS teachers will be placed in a position for which they are qualified.  If there is not a position for which a RIS teacher is qualified, that teacher could be a Reduction In Force (RIF) or laid off.

Teachers will still be able to transfer through June 1.  At that time, openings will be available for new-hires, but current teachers may still transfer through 10 days prior to the last day of new teacher induction.  You would need to watch the District website for job postings and call HR to add the other positions for which you would like to be considered to your transfer form.

This process is still unfolding, but Kyle Hansen from HR said it would be rolled out February 7.  I'll post more when I know more.

Dates of the Teacher Transfer Fairs:
Elementary - Friday, March 23 from 3:00 to 6:30 at South Jordan Middle Gym
Secondary - Monday, March 26 from 10:00 to 1:30 at Riverton High Tech Atrium

Thursday, January 12, 2012

JEA Legislative Council

The JEA ARs met last night.  Dr. Johnson spoke about the focus groups she held, the discussions and priorities out of those focus groups which include morale and professional development, and the information the Board presented to legislators. 

There are many concerns and much anxiety over the new RIS process, which is still unknown.  I have been on a committee to figure out how this will work since seniority is not allowed.  A rubric is being developed based on school need and evaluation.  As soon as I have more information, I will post it.

A good portion of the meeting was spent on the EFT transition.  JEA is asking all members to "flip" from payroll deduction to EFT for the payment of dues.  We are starting now to be ready for the 2012-2013 school year.  Your AR should be holding a meeting within the next month to help you "flip".  All members who "flip" will receive a JEA retractable badge holder.  If you have questions, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"American Teacher"

The film "American Teacher" is a rebuttal to "Waiting for Superman", and we have an opportunity to see it.  A screening of "American Teacher" will take place Thursday, February 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Utah Film and Media Arts Auditorium, Campus Building #36. A panel discussion will follow.  Please share this information with those would be interested.

School Board Meeting

I attended the School Board Meeting last night.  The hot topic was the proposed purchase of the Jordan District Office Building located at Jordan Landing, which the District has been leasing since the split.  This issue is the first I have seen where the Board was publicly divided.  The vote was 4-3 in favor of the purchase.  Rick Bojak, Leah Voorhies, Peggy Jo Kennett, and Richard Osborn voted in favor with Carmen Freeman, Corbin White, and Susan Pulsipher voting against.  For a full description of the discussion, please see the JEA Facebook page.  It was a very interesting meeting.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fort Herriman School Visit

I enjoyed meeting with teachers at Fort Herriman today during lunch.  There are a lot of new, energetic teachers there.  They asked good questions about Sick Bank, Leave of Absence, NEA, the legislature, and the calendar.  Thanks to Brianne London for inviting me out!

Article on Superintendent Johnson

This is a complimentary article on Dr. Johnson that is in the Deseret News today.  See Deseret News


The JEA Political Action Committee met yesterday.  We revised questions to be sent to candidates in order to help the PAC know whom to endorse in the elections.  We discussed some endorsements prior to the Republican convention in April.  The three races we are focusing on are in South Jordan (currently held by Merlynn Newbold), the new Riverton (formerly part of Carl Wimmer's area), and the new Herriman (also formerly part of Carl Wimmer's area). 

Voters in Jordan District have a real opportunity to change the legislature this fall at election time.  It has been 30 years since there were two new seats that do not have an incumbent in them.  Please stay informed.  If you live in one of these areas, become a Republican delegate so you can attend the convention and vote for a public education friendly person to become the Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

Carl Wimmer's resignation was discussed.  The next two weeks, Republican delegates in Riverton and Herriman are going to need to choose a candidate to vote for to replace Carl Wimmer for the remainder of his term (through this legislative session).  Candidates as of today are Corbin White (current Jordan School Board member), Dan McCay (heard he is supported by Howard Stephenson), and Josh Mills (current Herriman Mayor and endorsed by Carl Wimmer).  If you are a delegate in the current House 52 district, please be informed and know that JEA may be contacting you about this race.

Educator Day on the Hill will be on Fridays during the legislative session.  The JEA PAC has authorized funds to pay the cost of a long-term substitute for 10 JEA members who wish to use an Alternative Leave Day (see this link for information on Alternative Leave) to attend Educator Day on the Hill.  More information on how to apply will be forth coming.  Days teachers are already off include:
  • D-track:  January 27, February 3
  • C-track:  February 10, 17, 24
  • B-track and Traditional:  March 2

Meeting with Superintendent Johnson

Dr. Johnson and I met in our monthly meeting yesterday.  We discussed putting together an alternative compensation (merit pay/performance pay) committee after the legislature has met.  She believes there will be a law passed with certain criteria for merit pay, so she wants to wait and see what those criteria are before establishing a plan for Jordan.

Dr. Johnson will be speaking at the next Legislative Council (AR) Meeting.  She is going to talk about the focus groups she held and the direction she would like to take the District, as presented to legislators in November.

I asked about how RIS (Reduction In Staff) teachers will be determined.  This has not yet been decided.  The law changed, stating that hire date or seniority cannot be used.  The law allows performance (evaluation) and school need as criteria for determining RIS.  As soon as I know how RIS teachers will be determined, I will let you know.

We also discussed the progress of problems at a school and the political changes happening in Jordan with Carl Wimmer resigning prior to the legislative session.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jordan Education Foundation

This morning the Jordan Education Foundation Board met at Falcon Ridge Elementary.  The focus was on fundraising activities, including the upcoming breakfast on Thursday, February 16.  If you are on C track and interested in attending, please contact me.  I am a table captain and need seven people to join me that morning at Noah's. 

After the main meeting, we visited a couple of classrooms to learn more about the Leader in Me program that has been in place at Falcon Ridge for a couple of years. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Executive Board Meeting

The JEA Executive Board met this evening.  We discussed the budget, EFT, negotiations, membership, PAC, and JEA elections.  We also prepared JEA retractable lanyards as gifts for when members flip to EFT so they are ready once we start the EFT transition.