Teacher Evaluation Survey Results

Your MEA leaders want your feedback on Madison’s new Teacher Evaluation Plan so that we can bring teachers’ concerns to the table as the plan gets refined. Let your voices be heard.

Click here to take survey. (Works fine from a mobile device)

teacher eval

UPDATE: The results of the Teacher Evaluation survey are in. Click here to read them.

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MEA Grants Being Put to Good Use

It’s great to see MEA grant money being put to good use and having a real impact on student learning. Last year Ruth Smerek, second grade teacher at Jeffrey, received a $100 MEA grant and used the money to buy books by Cynthia Rylant to supplement an author study unit in literacy, which second grade teachers are conducting across all three elementary schools this year. These kids look psyched…and well-read.

Rylant Readers

Rylant Readers

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Teacher Evaluation Pilot Study Released

img_teacher-eval-studyThe Connecticut Department of Education released the UConn Neag School of Education report on the implementation of SEED, Connecticut’s system for educator evaluation and development, in the 10 pilot districts/consortia during the 2012-13 school year.

The 81-page report found that “SEED was implemented with a relatively high degree of fidelity.” It also outlined issues and challenges, some of which our may sound familiar, as we undergo the adoption of our own new evaluation plan here in Madison. A close reading, however, should shed light on the fact that our plan seems less bogged down in compliance issues and allows teachers and evaluators to focus more on meaningful conversations around teaching and learning.

Other important news from the CEA website includes recent meetings at the State Legislative Office Building with members of Education Mandate Relief Task Force.  CEA Policy Director Linette Branham was one several representatives from various stake-holder groups who addressed concerns about the State’s SEED model plan. Branham shared with the task force ideas directly from teachers to improve the process and increase flexibility. Click here to read the document.

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Your Chance to Voice Your Concerns to Your State Legislators

regional-teacher-meetings-graphicI know from multiple conversations with colleagues that many of you are feeling overwhelmed by our new evaluation plan requirements, especially if you are on the unit study cycle. But did you know that if the State had its way, we’d essentially all be on the unit study cycle every single year? The challenges of getting assimilated to a new eval plan can be stressful, especially one that is more rigorous than what we’ve had up until this year. While our new plan may not be perfect, it’s hard to argue with the fact that it’s designed to focus on what actually matters in teaching and learning, as opposed to the State’s SEED model.

As a district, we’re committed to getting this right, and your voices will play a big role in that. But we should all be concerned about what could happen to us and our evaluation plan if the State ignores evidence-based approaches like ours and marches on with its wrong-headed approach that places emphasis on standardized testing and an excessive use of disjointed, multiple teacher observations.

So what can you do to help? Let your voice be heard. Join your colleagues and participate in Regional Teacher Meetings with state legislators. This is your opportunity to educate legislators about meaningful changes that will improve education in Connecticut would look like.

Meetings are free and will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Food will be provided.

Register for a meeting in your area by clicking here and logging in with your member ID. If you don’t know your member ID, you can look it up here.

WINDHAM COUNTY
Monday, January 13
The Gold Eagle, Dayville

TOLLAND COUNTY
Tuesday, January 14
Georgina’s, Bolton

MIDDLESEX COUNTY
Wednesday, January 15
Crowne Plaza Cromwell

NEW HAVEN COUNTY
Thursday, January 16
Cascade’s, Hamden

NEW LONDON COUNTY
Tuesday, January 21
The Spa at the Norwich Inn

HARTFORD COUNTY
Wednesday, January 22
The Chowder Pot, Hartford

LITCHFIELD COUNTY
Thursday, January 23
Crystal Peak, Winchester

FAIRFIELD COUNTY
Monday, January 27
Cinzano’s, Fairfield

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Questions about the New Teacher Evaluation Plan and Common Core Standards?

While we are moving forward under our own teacher evaluation plan here in Madison, that doesn’t mean we can ignore the Common Core Standards. What are the Implementation Questions you need to ask as your district implements its new Teacher Evaluation plan and Common Core Standards? What other big issues have emerged that will impact teachers this year?

Find out at upcoming CEA Issues IQ meetings being held across the state this fall. Register for a free workshop today.

CEA flyer

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This Year’s MEA Grant Winners

Every year, the Madison Education Association makes available to all Madison teachers 8 $100 teaching grants that can be used at the winning teachers’ discretion for enhancing instruction by purchasing books/materials, equipment, supplemental materials, or anything deemed necessary to enhance your curriculum. Here are this year’s winners and how they plan on using the grant money:

• Sue Daub, P.E., Ryerson…To purchase pedometers to support lessons focusing on exercise.

• Ruth Smerek, 2nd grade, Jeffrey…To purchase books to supplement a second grade author study of Cynthia Rylant .

• Lauren Ramondetta, 5th grade, Social Studies, Brown MS…To purchase materials to supplement a unit on the American Revolution and Civil War in 5th grade.

• Mike Ginsburg, 4th grade, Island Avenue…To purchase a USB mic and app to create math lessons on an iPad to post for parents.

• Missy Hartmann, Social worker, Jeffrey/IAS/Ryerson…To purchase books and games to enhance lessons in social cognition.

• Lisa Aronson, SpEd, Jeffrey…To purchase mentor texts to support students’ units of study throughout the grade levels.

• Alicia Dunbar, 4th grade, Ryerson…To purchase grade appropriate teaching materials that are aligned with Common Core standards to help enhance learning center time.

• Erica Browne, DHHS, Science…To purchase materials in order to incorporate a case study for her anatomy course in Biology.

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Your 2013-14 MEA Officers

While all of the nominees for next year’s MEA officers ran unopposed, with the retirement of our current president, Mary Helen Leitze, we do have a new president, Denise Earles. Here is the full slate of officers:

President: Denise Earles (DHHS)
Vice-president: Mary Ellen Babik (Jeffrey Elementary School)
Treasurer: Steve Isleib (DHHS)
Secretary: Michelle Rindfleisch (Jeffrey Elementary School)

We should all feel confident that Denise will do a great job filling Mary Helen’s (very big) shoes, but it is an understatement to simply say that she will be missed. Mary Helen gave her heart and soul to representing all of the teachers of Madison, and we wish her well as she begins the next chapter of her life.

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MEA Instructional Grants

The MEA is no longer accepting applications for its annual instructional grant. Each year the MEA awards seven $100 grants to teachers or teams of teachers that show the potentially most impactful, innovative uses of instructional supplies through their applications.

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MEA Elections for the 2013-14 School Year

MEA elections for the officer positions will take place this year in the Polson Middle School auditorium on May 15 from 3:45 to 5:00. If you cannot attend, please see your building rep for an absentee ballot. This year your vote is particularly important, as we will be electing a new president.

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MOA Ratified

Last Wednesday, March 20 MEA members met in the Polson Middle School auditorium to vote on a proposed Memorandum of Agreement that would minimize the number of extreme weather days teachers would have to make up at the end of June. This agreement would reduce the number of calendar work days in our contract from 188 to 186, but would require our members to attend professional development workshops outside of the normal work day in lieu of attending two 6-hour professional development sessions that would occur after June 27 and/or during April vacation.  The decision of how to make up the 12 hours outside of the normal work day will be determined on a school-by-school basis at the building level. Currently the last day of school for students is June 25. June 26 and 27 will each be used for a full day of professional development for teachers. A teacher who is legitimately absent due to a sick day or personal day on June 26 or June 27 will be charged a sick or personal day.  If the teacher is legitimately absent on any of the extended work days, then the amount of time debited will be equivalent to the length of the extension, but not to exceed 1¼ sick or personal day.

A motion was carried to vote on this proposed MOA, and it was ratified unanimously. To view the full MOA, click here.

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