Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Educator Days on the Hill

Educator Days on the Hill will be held on Fridays throughout the Legislative Session.  The dates are:

·         February 1 (D track off)
·         February 8 (I will be there, D track off)
·         February 15 (C track off)
·         February 22 (C track off)
·         March 1 (I will be there, C track off, middle school PTC comp day, traditional elementary grade prep day)
·         March 8 (I will be there, B track off, traditional elementary PTC comp day)

The JEA PAC is willing to cover the cost of the long-term sub ($92) for up to 10 JEA members who choose to use an Alternative Leave Day to attend Educator Day on the Hill.  If you would like to use one of those days, please send me an email with your name and the date you will attend.

If you are off on any of the dates listed and would like to attend, please send me an email with your name and the date you will attend, so I can inform UEA that you will be there.  I look forward to seeing some of you there.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2012 Dues Totals for Tax Purposes

Below is a chart showing the amount of JEA dues paid in 2012.  Dues are tax deductible on the 1040 Schedule A.  The amounts vary because of different pay methods.  If you were a member for only part of 2012, just add the amounts from the time you joined. 

If you have further questions, please email me at

 JEA Fulltime    JEA 1/2 time 
Pay Method  Payroll   EFT/CC   Cash PIF   Payroll   EFT/CC   Cash PIF 
Jan 2012             49.83          49.83             25.75          25.75  
Feb 2012             49.83          49.83             25.75          25.75  
Mar 2012             49.83          49.83             25.75          25.75  
Apr 2012             49.83          49.83             25.75          25.75  
May 2012             49.83          49.83             25.75          25.75  
Jun 2012             49.83          49.83             25.75          25.75  
Jul 2012             49.83          49.83             25.75          25.75  
Aug 2012             49.83          49.83             25.75          25.75  
Sep 2012             59.80          598.00           30.90          309.00
Oct 2012             59.80          59.80             30.90          30.90  
Nov 2012             59.80          59.80             30.90          30.90  
Dec 2012             59.80          59.80             30.90          30.90  
Total 2012          637.84        578.04        598.00         329.60        298.70        309.00

Monday, January 14, 2013

UEA Election Candidates

JEA members will be voting for the four statewide offices of President, Vice President, NEA-RA Delegate-At-Large, and NEA-RA Successor Delegate-At-Large.  I hope you will all support Majestic Elementary teacher Tina Susuico for NEA-RA Delegate-At-Large.

2013 Utah Education Association Candidates (in ballot order)


President(Three-year term) Schipper Clawson, Provo

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, Salt Lake

Vice President
(Three-year term) Heidi Matthews, Park City

Tom Nedreberg, Tintic

NEA-RA Delegate-At-Large
(Three-year term) Brian Ferguson, Davis

Noelle Willard Jones, Salt Lake

Tina Susuico, Jordan

NEA-RA Successor Delegate-At-Large
(Three-year term) Brian Ferguson, Davis

Rebecca Bissegger, Salt Lake


Davis Director

(Three-year term) Jennifer Tanner, Davis

Rosalind Van Vleet, Davis
Davis NEA-RA Successor Delegate
(Three-year term) Rosalind Van Vleet, Davis

Northern Director
(Three-year term) Steven Seamons, Cache

Northern NEA-RA Successor Delegate
(Three-year term) No Declaration of Candidacy

Ogden-Weber Director
(Three-year term) Debbie Green, Weber

Ogden-Weber NEA-RA Successor Delegate
(Three-year term) No Declaration of Candidacy

Woodland Peaks Director
(Three-year term) Jim Griffin, Nebo

Woodland Peaks NEA-RA Successor Delegate
(Three-year term) Caroline Barrington, Carbon

Thursday, January 10, 2013

SB 64: Q & A on the Evaluation

Senator Aaron Osmond hosted a Question and Answer last night on where the state is with SB 64 and the new teacher evaluation.  In attendance were JEA members James Maughan, Renee Sass, Brett Boberg, Angie Alm, Jen Hebertson, other district employees Glen Varga, Mike Anderson, and Jordan School Board Member Corbin White.  If you were there and I missed seeing you, I apologize.

The following are my notes:

Susan McFarland, Salt Lake District, asked about professional development to learn and meet standards. Superintendent Martel Melove would like to restore quality teacher block grant that used to fund 10 PD days before the legislature cut the funding.  PD is not included in governor's budget. The cumulative loss of PD will make it so Utah can't meet Prosperity 2020 goals.

SLO, Student Learning Outcomes, will be used in non-tested subjects.  State is working with outside experts for how to measure growth with SLOs. SLOs take a lot of work which can be arduous, but SLOs do provide clarity on student outcomes. State needs to create a bank of examples.

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, UEA President, is concerned about only computer adaptive testing for student growth in tested subjects. 

The reporting into "Highly Effective", "Effective", "Emerging Effective" (teachers in first year or first year of new assignment), "Minimally Effective", and "Not Effective" was never intended to be a bell curve system. Reporting is only to see how many in each category and to show that administrators are doing the evaluations.  Aaron Osmond's intent is not a bell curve on number of teachers in each level of effectiveness.

Cathy, sixth grade in Salt Lake District, said her team departmentalizes.  She is concerned about the evaluation on student growth.  Last year she had 77 students who were all proficient in Language Arts.  Students who had 100% in fifth grade missed one question in sixth, so they are not showing growth. It is hard to show growth when students hit the ceiling. Adaptive testing will be able to show growth. Growth is only part of evaluation.  There are multiple measures, including observation (which will likely be similar to JPAS), student growth, and stakeholder (parent and student) input. Senator Osmond supports district level reporting, not schools or teacher level.  Laws and board rules require reporting at district level and school level. Adaptive testing provides specific information with immediate feedback for teachers.

Tom Nedreberg, UEA Vice President, Tintic District is concerned about district level data in small districts, because it can look like individual data, because number of teachers is so small. State office is working through this issue and may aggregate with other districts.

Connie Sorensen, Kindergarten in Granite District, asked about accountability for parents.  She said some students are just in survival mode, because they need food or sleep, are being abused, watch too much TV, and parents don't follow through.  They are not learning, because they are not receiving support at home . Senator Osmond said this is a systemic problem with parents for education. We can't legislate parental quality. Looking at ways to hold parents somewhat accountable, by possibly hold students back a year.

Sharon reminded everyone present that the purpose of bill was to improve instruction. Growing as educators and moving forward together is the intention.  We need this message to get out.  The bill also puts more pressure on administrators.

Unitah District Superintendent said if that purpose is true, it is missing the training part, if we are truly working to improve instruction.  Administrators also need PD.

Cody, a superintendent somewhere small who also teaches two periods a day, said we can't treat kids as a product.  He is concerned that the variables (student growth, parent and student input) change so much every year.  Teachers need something solid to work on. 

Karla Moosman, Canyons, appreciates veteran teachers for what they shared with her. We don't want competition between teacher.  We need collaboration. She is concerned that the best teachers won't want to teach lower kids, causing the lower kids to be taught by those with les experience and expertise.  Evaluate us on factors we have some control over.

Sue Dickey, Granite, asked if we can change timelines as needed based on how the pilot goes?
Senator Osmond is willing to look at changes if truly needed.

Utah Schools for Deaf and Blind, deaf teacher said she has only 8 students which means few students get fewer parent reviews.  Concerned about having too small a sample of parent input.  Blind students need Braille tests, which can't be computer adaptive. Signing what is being said can't be done on computer adaptive, because students will be on different questions. Sid Dickson from the state office said that the parent input part will be more about changing instruction based on information received.  Model is about communication between teacher and parent, and what you do with information from students and parents. RFP (bid) on Computer Adaptive Testing included accommodations for students with disabilities. USDB volunteered as a pilot Computer Adaptive Testing.

Rick Steadman, Canyons choir teacher, said electives are just as important as core classes.  With large classes in music, the teacher can't meet some criteria due to number of students. Working with groups doesn't reflect on evaluations. Are elective teachers actually teaching the core?  Student assessment on electives will be very different, based on SLOs.

One teacher commented that she won't want to have a student teacher if test scores are going to reflect on her evaluation.

Glen Varga, Oquirrh Hills, asked, "Where is the balance between control of development of assessments between district and state board?"  We can't compare between states if don't use a common assessment, which Utah opted out of.  We want local control at the state level, but the state then makes the tests for the state, not allowing districts to have their local control.  Values and context locally is important.
One superintendent is concerned about unintended consequences.  He said there are 53 indicators in teacher standards, which seems like too many. "Effective" is goal, but it looks like a C to the public.  It is hard to sell C to public as "effective".

Senator Osmond recognized that the pressure on educators comes from legislature.  He knows that teachers are not the problem, and we need to work together.  You can contact him with further questions or comments on SB 64 at   He is data gathering to see what the concerns are.

State Superintendent Martel Menlove said any bill that impacts compensation will hurt SB 64 outcomes. We need to time make SB 64 work.  It will be fully implemented in 2015-2016 school year. Thanked Sid Dickson at state for all the work she has done.

Suicide Prevention Training for Relicensure

Suicide prevention information for relicensure: 
One hour through UEN at UEN Suicide Prevention Training.
One hour through the District at the Jordan Family Education Center (JFEC), located at River's Edge School (319 West 11000 South) from 5:00-6:00 p.m.   Sign up on JPLS at Jordan Professional Learning System.  Search “suicide prevention” in course title.  Dates for the trainings are listed below:
Wednesday,  January 30
Wednesday, February 13
Tuesday, February 26
Tuesday, March 5
Tuesday, March 12
Thursday, March 14
Tuesday, March 19
Thursday, March 21
Tuesday, March 26
Thursday, April 4
Thursday, April 18
Wednesday, May 8
Wednesday, May 15

Another option is to do a two-hour training through a federal suicide prevention training at Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide.

If someone in your life has committed suicide and you are receiving counseling to help you through, that time with a counselor can count for this training.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New School Board

Tonight the new school board members were sworn in.  Richard Osborn is the President, Susan Pulsipher is the Vice President, with Janice Voorhies as the Secretary (a new position from the new policy governance documents).

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Meeting with Superintendent Johnson

I attended my regular monthly meeting with Dr. Johnson this morning.  We talked about safety in the schools.  She said the Board will be hearing more during closed study session over the next month.  Security can be discussed in closed session, because the general public shouldn't know about all of the security measures.  Some items will be discussed in open session.

We talked about co-teaching and what that should look like as more schools are going to a push-in model for Resource.  True co-teaching has both teachers presenting material and both teachers interacting with all students through group and independent work time.  The district has not adopted any particular model. 

She stated that there has been a 100% fill rate for substitute jobs the last two days.  Hopefully with the new subs that have been hired that this will continue, especially on Fridays.