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South Tama School Board holds policy discussions

January 22, 2014
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

By Joyce Wiese

Chronicle correspondent

The South Tama School Board met Monday night, Jan. 13, for discussion of policy and other matters on which action was expected at the Jan. 20 regular board meeting.

The board first met with Jeremy Jones to discuss the revision of the Good Conduct Policy. Jones is assistant high school principal and activities director.

This policy is issued to students each year with the intent every student read through it to know the penalties if any part of the good conduct policy is violated.

Some of the following behaviors prohibited by the good conduct policy include any student with possession, use or purchase of tobacco products, regardless of the student's age, possession, use or purchase alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine (having the odor of alcohol on one's breath is evidence of use), being in attendance at a function or party where the student knows or has reason to know that alcohol or other drugs are being consumed illegally by minors and failing to leave despite having a reasonable opportunity to do so, possession, use, purchase or attempted sale or purchase of illegal drugs, or the unauthorized possession, use, purchase or attempted sale or purchase of otherwise lawful drugs.

And, Engaging in any act that would be a violation of local, state or federal laws or grounds for arrest or citation in the criminal or juvenile court system, excluding minor offenses such as traffic or curfew violations, regardless of whether the student was cited, arrested, convicted or adjudicated for the act. Other inappropriate or offensive conduct such as assault, insubordination; refusing to cooperate with school officials or law enforcement authorities, hazing, bullying or harassment of others, or chronic or habitual discipline issues at school.

Grant Application

Superintendent Kerry Nelson told board members she would like to apply for a grant through the state (Teacher Leadership and Compensation Grant). This must be in by Jan. 31. This is a grant which came from the Iowa Legislature. It is a state driven compensation plan to promote excellence in teaching and developing teacher leaders. It is a new way of compensating teachers based on student performance, educational advancement, leadership within the district, successful implementation of district initiatives and administrative evaluation.

Teacher Minimum Pay

Educational practices continually to evolve. Discussions have taken place between administrators and teachers about how teachers could be compensated differently. All districts are eligible to apply over the next three years. The state has guaranteed funding over the next three years to help assist districts to pay for these changes.

It is expected to increase student performance across multiple assessments, to promote career development and leadership within the district and to encourage and promote stronger teacher performance. This is not a Merit Pay or Pay based on length of service and degree plan.

Some of the requirements for the plan would be a minimum salary of $33,500 for beginning teachers. New teachers would need additional coaching, mentoring and opportunities for observing instructional practice. A new teacher must have differentiated, multiple, meaningful teacher leadership roles and rigorous selection process for leadership roles as well as aligned professional development.

South Tama's plan would be a 4-Lane System. This would cover the beginning teacher, career teacher (Phase one and two), Model Teacher, (Phase one and two), and an Instructional Coach. In each of these steps as completed there would be a change in salary once all requirements are reached. If a teacher does not meet the requirements they would be frozen at the $33,500 level.

School Calendar

The other discussion item was the school calendar. The new school calendar could be one of four different plans with six hour days. It is required to attend school 180 days in one year or 1080 hours in one year.

Plan one would be an early start, early finish going from August 11 through May 8. Plan two would be a Middle start, middle finish from August 18 through May 15. Plan three would be a late start middle finish starting August 25 and going through May 22. Plan four would be After Labor Day start, starting September 2 and running through June 1.



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