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, departments, and 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.
Don Phillips, Superintendent Don Raczka, President,
Poway Federation of Teachers