Don Raczka, President of the Poway Federation of Teachers and Don Phillips, PUSD Superintendent discuss plans for the newest collaboration project between the district and the teachers' union.

As part of the 2004 negotiated agreement between the PFT and the PUSD, four shared leadership Curriculum Councils were established to study and make recommendations regarding improved student learning in the areas of mathematics and language arts.  These councils include: K-6 Literacy, K-6 Mathematics, 6-12 Literacy, and 6-12 Mathematics.  The charge of the Literacy Councils will be determined by the superintendent in support of the goals the Board of Education has established for the District.  The work of the Councils and the work of the Learning Support Services division of the District will be aligned in support of those goals.

In addition, a new professional development program is being initiated which compensates teachers for continuing to grow professionally.  This program, the Teaching and Learning Cooperative (TLC), will be governed by a collaborative board of teacher and administration representatives.

Although not everyone is directly involved in the  Learning  Councils, keeping you informed as to our major initiatives is vital if we are to move forward.  We hope that this email is helpful.

On Tuesday, October 5, the first meeting of the Learning Councils was held.  Seventy people came together from school sites, departmentsand the district office. There was a great sense of energy as we did what was powerful work laying the foundation for collaborative work between teachers, site administrators, and LSS members around our literacy goals.  Unspoken in the conversation but underlying the day was a respect for the work and wisdom of teachers. 

We  have attached a working paper that describes the work of the Learning Councils. This paper is an evolutionary document.  We emphasized at the meeting that clearer definition of the work of these Councils and their role will take time and effort.

In our meeting, the terms used to describe the Councils' work were focus, facilitate, and communicate.  If the white paper attached fails to emphasize these topics, the next version will!

One of the most crucial parts of this work is making sure we do everything we can to communicate effectively and that it supports site efforts. The relationship between sites and councils is best summarized at the top of the second page of the document, and copied below.

General Working Philosophy Regarding District and Site Level Leadership for Improvement
We recognize that a balance must be maintained between district and site level leadership.  In general, this balance should be predicated on the district setting clear, consistent, and long-term improvement goals and measurable targets. This represents the “what” in terms of our work. The “how” we get there should be guided through the work of the Councils in concert with LSS leadership and site level leadership that includes principals, teacher leaders, and staff.  We recognize the need to provide districtwide leadership in the areas set out above and to also allow for site level initiative and innovation. It is critical that we foster site level initiative around the goals and targets and hold sites accountable for measurable progress. This proposition requires sufficient flexibility for school sites to take advantage of the skills of their staff and the unique needs of their students and parent community. The districtwide councils should provide leadership and clarity around districtwide initiatives and best practices to support school sites and teacher work in the classroom.  All members of 6-12 Councils will also be active members of local school site teams.  Where possible, members of K-6 will be members of their site teams as well.

Thank you for your continuing efforts and support on behalf of the students of PUSD.

Warm Regards,

Don Phillips, Superintendent         Don Raczka, President, Poway Federation of Teachers