SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 21, 2012

Column: Salem school questions answered

At the Community Meeting on the Salem Public Schools held at SSU in September, audience members submitted questions. It was not possible to answer all questions that evening. Below are some more of the unanswered questions with answers.

What is the plan to get teachers’ school day to match the students’ school day at Bentley?

Members of the Salem School Committee bargaining team have continued to meet with members of the Salem Teachers Union bargaining team to address this and related issues — not only for the Bentley School but for all of Salem’s schools.

When will extended hours be expanded to all students?

In light of the nature of the ongoing negotiations, we’re not sure yet. It is our hope to be able to expand the school day to accommodate both additional teacher non-instructional time and student instructional time within the school day/year as soon as possible.

What metrics are used to make evaluations in the educator evaluation system? What steps will you take to bring underperforming teachers up to par?

During the past year, the Massachusetts Legislature passed legislation making significant changes to the evaluation of teachers and administrators that will standardize the process across the state. While we are in the midst of negotiating these changes at the local level, training is now under way to implement this new program during the 2012-13 school year. For those interested, further information may be obtained through the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website.

How specifically will school and district leadership be held accountable for achievement gains? What are the accountability mechanisms for school and district leaders?

Under the new program, teachers and administrators are responsible for setting annual, measurable goals. They will be held accountable for reaching these goals. There is a mechanism in place for those not reaching them to be put on an improvement plan and subsequently, as circumstances warrant, dismissal.

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