Teacher compensation and the development of a “classroom dashboard” dominated discussion at last Thursday’s Jeffco School Board meeting.
In a report to update the school board about the strategic compensation pilot, teachers and principals stressed the importance of feedback, resources and support to improve teaching.
Michael Maffoni, the project’s executive director, said the message he had received from teachers is, “If you’re going to provide feedback, provide me the support to get better as well.”
The goal of the project, which is being piloted in twenty Jeffco schools, is to determine factors that affect student achievement. Teachers receive more feedback about their teaching, have more time to collaborate with master teachers and peer evaluators to address specific teaching issues, and other support structures are also available.
Half of the schools are “design schools” in which staff members who meet student achievement and evaluation goals have an opportunity to receive extra compensation. The other half are schools in which everyone received a one percent compensation increase but do not have an opportunity to earn extra compensation for meeting goals.
The program is funded through a five-year Teacher Incentive Fund grant.
Maffoni told the board they have not received data yet about how pay correlates to student achievement though they expect to receive that data later this year.
“We are also learning that there is not one simple answer,” he said.
North Arvada Middle School Dana Ellis told the board that her school, which is involved in the pilot, saw its highest-ever percentage of proficient and advanced TCAP scores this spring.
The Jeffco School Board also heard about the compensation redesign project intended to bring the district into compliance with Senate Bill 191.
Members of the redesign task force presented a tentative plan that features multiple components and different pathways to increased compensation. The current system relies on “steps and levels,” which refer to the years of experience and credit hours earned toward a master’s degree.
Under the new plan, there are more options. For example, teachers and other Jeffco staff could pursue different training paths that are attached to increased compensation. These training paths are research-based and designed to improve classroom instruction, said Amy Weber, Jeffco Director of Human Resources.
The task force also proposed a higher starting salary for new teachers to keep the district competitive.
Next steps include tactical planning, developing a business plan, budget modeling and communication with members of the Jefferson County Education Association.
In other board news, the board discussed the proposed classroom dashboard known as inBloom.
The district had announced earlier in the week that it would offer an opt-out option for parents who do not want their children’s data in the inBloom system.
Superintendent Cindy Stevenson explained that most Jeffco parents would have two years to decide whether to opt-out before they need to make the decision.
Matt Cormier, Jeffco Educational Tech Executive Director, told the board, "As a district employee, I will be part of a solution that creates a win-win situation for our schools, teachers, and families."
Jeffco School Board President Lesley Dahlkemper stressed that the pilot project is still in the discussion stages and that the board needs to have a continuing conversation about the concerns being raised. Dahlkemper also suggested the board add more study session to address some specific inBloom issues.
The board also set a date to interview candidates to fill the temporary District 1 vacancy. Five candidates, Dan Green, Samantha Hockenbery, Beverly McAdams, and Michelle Patterson, applied for the slot.
The school board will conduct candidate interviews on Oct. 3 and appoint a candidate to the vacancy by Oct. 10.