High School, 2013-2014 Budget
will not be cut. -We knew that cutting salaries was not something
we were going to do. One of our staff members quit so we were
able to take two teachers who were ¾ time and make them full
time staff members. This gave us a small decrease in output.
are not losing any staff members due to budget cuts. -We were sure
that loosing staff was not something that we wanted to do and we
were able to keep everyone on staff.
colleagues are now with us full time. -As explained above.
budgets will remain the same. -We wanted to keep the budgets the
same. We are assuming this is a project-based school and it is
important that teachers have some funds to work with for supplies.
size in 9th and 10th grades will increase to 26. -This was only a
one student increase and it helped our budget quite a bit. Our
class size is still pretty low and we tend to have some attrition so
our upper classes should still remain smaller than 25.
will be implementing a "Freshmen Foundations Week" during
the first week of school instead of Summer Bridge. Each 9th grade
team will have an additional $500 for related expenses. -This was an
interesting study group discussion. Some of us (specifically those
of us at new schools) liked the summer bridge program, whereas some
of us thought that the summer bridge program was a waste of money.
I personally have seen it work well at HTHNC, but I wonder if it
will have the same turnout now that we have a middle school? As a
compromise to the summer bridge program, we decided to have a
“Freshman Foundations Week.” I believe they do this at
International. This would be a week where each team spends time
team building and doing summer bridge type activities. I think this
is a great idea and depending on how many students we have sign up
for summer bridge, we may do this in the future. I wonder if
teachers would be concerned about loosing two weeks of class time.
This could be a real problem for Exploratory Teachers who only have
a limited amount of time with each group.
will have limited scholarship funds for student activities (retreat,
etc.). -We will increase fundraising efforts for class trips, and
consider ways of reducing expenses for these trips.
have slightly less money for professional development. -We will
have to be creative about where and if we do retreats this year.
did conversations from the study group influence your final
budgeting decisions? Were there points of disagreement?
Group: Conversations from the teacher study group were helpful
rather than confrontational. I realize that it was easier for us
to talk about the issues due to the fact that this was only an
exercise not a real budget, but it helped me see how and where
there is flexibility in the school budget.
challenges do you foresee with getting the budget back on track when
we pull out of the recession and how might you overcome them?
Back on Track: I think the most important thing that we can do
when we get out of this recession is to compensate our staff. We
have been working in a space where we have not received raises, we
are working harder because staff has been cut and we are taking on
additional responsibilities. Some teachers are feeling under
appreciated and a little defeated. It does not feel like we are
going to come out of this recession anytime soon. Speaking from
experience, this is particularly difficult for young
teachers/administrators who are trying to start families, own homes
and be overall more stable in life. I think that High Tech High
has done a good job of making budgeting decisions transparent. We
understand why decisions are being made and teachers appreciated
being informed, but it's still difficult.
and how will you bring teachers into the decision making process? I
think it's fair to bring teachers in to the decision making process
only if you plan on making that time worth while. If there are
places where the budget can be manipulated, let teachers have a say
in what happens with those funds. I think narrowing the information
down to the core of what can be changed in important as well. As a
teacher, I do not want to sit in a study group meeting and hear
about the budget without being able to give input.
will the decision making process look like? If a director brings to
the table the areas where there is some flexibility and let's
teachers have some say there, I think that can be powerful.
challenges to you foresee with creating a budget study group and how
might you overcome them? It is difficult to think about the whole when talking about budget. We all work so hard and so it makes sense to want to understand why we do not get compensated accordingly.
do you plan to measure teacher effectiveness? I believe that the
most important thing a director can do to measure teacher
effectiveness is to be present at school. Ongoing observations,
both formal and informal are key. Having ongoing check ins with
students, being present at POLs, SLCs, field trips and performances.
Always observing relationships and seeing how people interact with
each other. Noticing what the student's work, but also asking what
went in to it.
will you support teachers and provide feedback for their work? As I
stated above, being present for them. Being in their classrooms so
that you can offer them authentic feedback. I like the organized
teacher feedback meetings that Nikki has. She has them twice, once
in the middle of the year and once at the end... she may have one in
the beginning as well? At these meetings, we generally just talk
about what is going well and what our goals are. This is a place
for the director to offer feedback, advice or just share thoughts
with staff members.
teacher effectiveness be connected to compensation? And how do you
plan to implement performance-based pay at your school? I think
that starting teachers according to relevant education and years
teaching is a fair base. I believe that good teachers should have
additional opportunities to make more money. Stipends for
leadership roles outside of the teaching curriculum such as teaching
summer school, testing coordinators, mentors, presenting at
institutes, leading workshops, leading staff development days, etc.
are all ways that teachers could and should be compensated.
Teachers could also be compensated for taking on leadership roles
during school. Some of the roles that are a lot of extra work like
ASB or yearbook should be places where teachers are compensated
monetarily as well. In addition to monetary compensation, teachers
who work especially hard should have the opportunity to travel, help
hire new staff, give input on partnerships, opportunities to open
new schools, etc.
challenges do you foresee in your plans for budgeting and
compensating teachers and how might you overcome them? High Tech
High used to compensate teachers for many of these things and I
think that it gave us the sense that we were appreciated for all of
the extra work that we were doing. It is important to be upfront about the opportunities that are available, but the expectation should be that teacher earn those opportunities.