LF School Board hears new evaluation plan for teachers

By Tina Snell, Staff Writer

The state of Minnesota is requiring schools to have in place a plan to evaluate its teachers. While this plan is mandatory, it does not have to be approved.

Aaron Sinclair, Little Falls activities and human resources co-director, reported to the School Board Monday about what has been put together so far.

State requirements want teacher evaluations to show if there is both teacher and student growth plus include a peer review and what the improvement process will be.

“The Little Falls plan was developed by a team of teachers and administration,” said Sinclair.

The professional learning community (PLC), or teachers and principals, will help improve instruction, give peer reviews, assist in writing goals and give additional training if necessary. It is an idea of collaborative learning among teachers and administration.

Each teacher will have an individual growth and development plan (IGDP). They will work with their principal on various goals, with both agreeing on what they need to be. There will be an IGDP for tenured and non-tenured teachers.

“This is a manageable plan that will support every teacher and what they do in the classroom,” said Sinclair. “No one portion of the evaluation weighs more than another.”

This plan will be presented to the staff Wednesday, May 28.

Board Member Mark Gerbi asked if this plan will eliminate bad teachers.

“This plan will help us improve all teachers,” said Sinclair.

Gerbi also asked if this plan grades teachers. Sinclair said that in some ways, it does.

Board Member Brad Laager said that when one teacher’s students don’t have test scores as high as in other classrooms in the same grade, that’s when peer review will come into place. Through the reivew, it will be learned what is  working and what is not.

The hard part, said Supt. Stephen Jones, will be structuring the PLCs into the work day, finding the time.

“We will come to the Board with some unique ways to include this to the day,” he said.

This new evaluation plan will be voted on at a future Board meeting.

Little Falls School Board Briefs

Other business conducted by the Little Falls School Board Monday night included:

•Approving its membership in the Minnesota State High School League;

•Voting to continue a two-year contract with a liaison officer for $27,000 for the 2014-15 school year and $28,000 for the 2015-16 school year;

•Resolving to establish the dates for filing for candidacy for the School Board. Sharon Ballou, Brad Laager and Mark Gerbi are up for re-election for four-year terms;

•Approving the Title program budget addendum with an increase of $318,074 over the current budget of $380,140. District-wide, the increases were due in part to administration, salaries and  support;

•Accepting the resignations of Becky Abbott as the high school student council co-adviser; Corine Cook as a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and Janet Lubers as the district transportation assistant;

•Accepting a 12-week leave request from Deanna Christenson, kindergarten teacher, for military exigency leave and a four-week discretionary leave, beginning Monday, Aug. 25;

•Employing Miriam Alanen and Michelle Bjorklund as language arts teachers at the middle school; Kate Bjorge as the junior varsity girls soccer coach, Kristin Haugo-Jones as a .6 physical education teacher at Lindbergh Elementary; and Wade Mathers as the principal of the middle school; and

• Accepting gifts of $500 from the Flyer Athletic boosters, $200 from Belle Prairie Township, $200 from Darling Township, $300 from Green Prairie Township and $250 from Morrison County Pheasants Forever to Community Services; $7,000 from the Initiative Foundation, $1,000 from Pioneer Hi-Bred International and $10,500 from Crow Wing Power to the scholarship fund at the high school; $1,000 from Al Asmus Band Instruments to the Flyer Band Program at the high school; $750 from the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce for the industrial technology department at the high school; $20 from Richard and Donna Wolch for the Randall scholarship fund; Two award-winning books each to the high school and the middle school; $195.40 from Boxtops for Education to the middle school; and $303.85 from Nancy Henderson for the spring musical at the high school.

The next School Board meeting will be held at the Morrison County Government Center Monday, June 16, beginning at 5 p.m.

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