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  • May 2015 BEA Line The May 2015 edition of the BEA Line newsletter is attached to this post.
    Posted by Bartlesville Teacher
  • Words from the Prez, May 2015 I can’t believe that it is already May! Soon school will be out for the summer and it will be time to take a relaxing break.It is with ...
    Posted by Bartlesville Teacher
  • April 2015 BEA Line Newsletter The April 2015 edition of the BEA Line newsletter is attached to this post.
    Posted Apr 16, 2015, 5:50 AM by Bartlesville Teacher
  • Words from the Prez, April 2015 April is here and what an action packed month! It is filled with testing, testing, and more testing. Of course with testing comes lots of stress. Do your best to ...
    Posted Apr 16, 2015, 5:49 AM by Bartlesville Teacher
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May 2015 BEA Line

posted by Bartlesville Teacher   [ updated ]

The May 2015 edition of the BEA Line newsletter is attached to this post.

Words from the Prez, May 2015

posted by Bartlesville Teacher   [ updated ]

I can’t believe that it is already May! Soon school will be out for the summer and it will be time to take a relaxing break.

It is with mixed feelings that I write my last letter as the President of the Bartlesville Education Association. I am so proud and privileged to have served as your president for the last two years, and humbled that we have so many members that are willing to step up and help out when help is needed.

Last week, myself and three other BEA members, attended the delegate assembly in MidWest City. Something happened that to my knowledge has never happened before at a delegate
assembly. The state superintendent of public education, Joy Hofmeister, spoke to the delegates of the Oklahoma Education Association. She was upbeat, supportive and seemed to understand what Oklahoma educators need to be successful in the classroom. She is trying to do away with EOI’s and other state testing. Listening to her speech gave me hope that someone is actually listening to educators and not turning their backs on us.

Again, I am so blessed and fortunate to work with the wonderful educators in our district and to have been able to serve as your president for three terms. Have a great May and a
wonderful summer break!

Kelli Bryant
BEA President

April 2015 BEA Line Newsletter

posted Apr 16, 2015, 5:50 AM by Bartlesville Teacher   [ updated Apr 16, 2015, 5:50 AM ]

The April 2015 edition of the BEA Line newsletter is attached to this post.

Words from the Prez, April 2015

posted Apr 16, 2015, 5:48 AM by Bartlesville Teacher   [ updated Apr 16, 2015, 5:49 AM ]

April is here and what an action packed month! It is filled with testing, testing, and more testing. Of course with testing comes lots of stress. Do your best to relax, take some time to do something just for you, and enjoy the remainder of the school year. All the students in the district are well-prepared for testing and our district is filled with teachers who spend time, much of it our own time, to make sure that every student in the district is reaching his or her potential.

This year at the OEA Delegate Assembly the Bartlesville Education Association will receive the Golden Apple Award on behalf of Judy Allen for the work that she so diligently does on the BEA Line.

The job fair will be held on April 25th at the Bartlesville High School Fine Arts Center. This is a great opportunity for potential employees to hear the benefits of joining our professional association. I will be sending out a sign-up sheet this week through the email and I hope that you can help our association. Due to the Delegate Assembly many of our officers are unable to help, so we need any member who has some free time to fill in and help serve our
association.

Kelli Bryant, BEA President

March 2015 BEA Line Newsletter

posted Mar 12, 2015, 8:54 AM by Bartlesville Teacher   [ updated Mar 12, 2015, 8:54 AM ]

The March 2015 edition of the BEA Line newsletter is attached at the bottom of this post.

Words from the Prez, March 2015

posted Mar 12, 2015, 8:52 AM by Bartlesville Teacher   [ updated Mar 12, 2015, 8:52 AM ]

Can you believe that it is already March? This winter has flown by and it has been such an unusually warm winter. With spring comes the end of school activities and planning for the next year. We are looking forward to gathering ideas for next year’s negotiations team. If
you have any ideas please email me and let me, Granger Meador or any officer know your thoughts or concerns.

There are many educational bills that are in legislative session. These bills have a direct impact on our students’ educations and our jobs. Please stay informed and contact your local legislator to give your opinion. To see the current status of bills that have to do with education follow this link and use your BEA/OEA membership card to register
and then login. Be sure to email your representatives from your home email, be professional and courteous, but voice your opinion about how these bills will affect education and teacher morale. 

Also, if you want your voice to be heard in person, you may use your personal day to attend the educational rally on March 30. 

The last item I want to address is the fact that we are having a hard time getting members to get involved in our association.  I have served as president for three terms, not because I did an amazingly fabulous job, but because no one wanted to step in and be an officer. There are many reasons that people don’t want to serve. The reasons range from, not knowing about BEA or what we do, not enough time, or I don’t want to get involved. While all of these are very valid reasons, it makes me think back in history to what our country would be like if our forefathers such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln had used those words. We are only as strong as our membership or the involvement of our members. Please consider coming to our monthly meetings or some of the special events that we have for our members.

I hope you have a wonderful and restful spring break!

Kelli Bryant
BEA President

Big Changes Pending in TLE

posted Feb 19, 2015, 10:42 PM by Bartlesville Teacher   [ updated Feb 28, 2015, 2:14 PM by Granger Meador ]

By Granger Meador, Chief Negotiator, Bartlesville Education Association

UPDATE: The state board of education voted on 2/26/2015 to POSTPONE for this school year, but not yet eliminate, the use of SLO/SOOs for non-tested subjects and the mandated menu of allowable OAM selections while alternatives are being studied. Postponing or eliminating OAMs will require amending existing law. The Tulsa World provided some more details on the meeting.
LOCALLY this means that Bartlesville Public Schools has SUSPENDED all work on SLO/SOOs. However, since OAMs are still required by existing state law, the district is maintaining its database of OAM selections while hoping that legislation to postpone or eliminate them is approved in a timely manner: before teachers invest the time in collecting data such as student surveys.

In a most welcome development, the Teacher/Leader Effectiveness (TLE) Commission has unanimously recommended sweeping changes in the TLE appraisal system. (Bartlesville's Senator Ford, the chair of the Senate Education Committee and a member of the Commission, actively helped craft the recommendation language. But he declined to vote on the final recommendation to the State Board of Education; see below.)

The recommendation calls for scrapping Other Academic Measures (OAMs) and Student Learning/Outcome Objectives (SLO/SOOs). While it calls for retaining Value Added Measures (VAMs), the recommendation takes much of the potential sting out of their use, since it calls for eliminating TLE composite scores which would combine qualitative and quantitative scores, while also saying local school board policies (and bargaining agreements, unless specifically excluded in legislation), not statewide rules, should define how qualitative and available quantitative measures would be used for determining career teacher status and mandatory firings.

Who's to blame?

These positive changes appear to have the full support of Superintendent Hofmeister and to be driven by Tulsa's Jana Burk, who leads the TLE office in Tulsa Public Schools. They are an obvious drive to restore more local control in teacher appraisals after the state usurped most of that control when it changed Oklahoma's appraisal laws in a vain attempt to capture some of the Obama administration's Race to the Top funding, which mandated ill-advised test-based teacher appraisals.

The legislature should be faulted for its repeated meddling in and bungling of state education policy. But the greatest blame for the SLO/SOO fiasco attaches to the State Department of Education under the discredited leadership of former State Superintendent Janet Barresi, and to the existing State Board of Education, which mandated SLO/SOO without a recommendation to do so from the TLE Commission and without a research base to justify the use of such measures in teacher evaluations. These types of objectives and tests are certainly appropriate for the formative assessments used by Data Teams and Professional Learning Communities, but have not been shown to be an effective part of teacher appraisal.
Don't count your chickens yet...
HOWEVER, many of the recommendations would require an amendatory law make it through the legislative process. Senator Ford, a key player in that, declined to vote for or against the final recommendations, saying that he did not want to vote no on the recommendations, but also is not clear on the end results of the legislative process to amend TLE. He said he will be working with many different parties to amend TLE, and he did make it clear that he:
  • Supports a two-year delay in the quantitative component
  • Wants TLE to be reflective and not combative
  • Feels the qualitative component is well accepted while the quantitative component is not
  • Wants the quantitative component to be significantly redesigned so that it can be better accepted, although he recognizes that its very nature makes it unlikely to ever be as well accepted as the qualitative component
So bear in mind that all of the recommended changes may well not make it through in their current form, although it appears certain that significant changes will occur. Senator Ford's SB 706 currently differs from the recommendation in marked ways, but he indicated he will be visiting with various parties to further craft the bill's language, and a companion bill will be introduced in the House.

So which quantitative measures are endorsed by the Commission?
The Commission recommends having separate quantitative scores only when a high-quality measure is available.  The Commission is following Ms. Burk's lead in considering VAMs to be high-quality, but labels the menu of OAM choices as poor-quality with little validity and accepts that while research supports the use of SLO/SOOs in formative assessments (e.g. for use in data teams), there is no strong research base supporting the use of them in teacher evaluations. 

Standardized Tests
The Commission also calls for study of other higher-quality measures, with Tulsa's TLE coordinator promoting that district's use of student surveys from Tripod. However, those surveys were the subject of considerable controversy this year.
Tulsa's TLE leader also noted that while a 5-point scale is appropriate for qualitative ratings, Tulsa's research showed only a 3-point scale (below average, average, and above average) was appropriate for quantitative ratings, and they avoid a composite score, instead having evaluators consider multiple separate scores when data is available. 

So far the Commission only says it plans to 'recommend', not mandate, such alternate measures. As your Chief Negotiator, if the Commission does eventually recommend the very expensive and controversial Tripod surveys now being used in Tulsa, I would not support their use in our district.

SLO/SOOs could be eliminated as soon as next week

Bartlesville Suspends SLO/SOO Process

Bartlesville principals and supervisors are being asked to SUSPEND their SLO/SOO review process until further notice.  If SLO/SOOs are to be scrapped and not merely delayed, then we see no value in continuing the rushed and burdensome implementation forced upon us by the Barresi-era State Department of Education. If SLO/SOOs survive the state board meeting, then we'll resume a streamlined approval process we have just put into place.
While most of the recommended changes will require an amendatory law make it through the legislative process, SLO/SOOs are another matter.

The audio record of the meeting revealed that the TLE Commission never recommended the use of SLO/SOOs to the State Board of Education; that requirement did not come from them or from state law, but was imposed by the State Board of Education, and the Commission members were unclear on whether or not the state board knew that the TLE Commission never voted to recommend SLO/SOOs.

So Superintendent Hofmeister plans to ask the State Board of Education, at its 2/26/2015 meeting, to scrap SLO/SOOs. So we might soon be able to forget about that onerous mandate, with OAMs living on until hopefully a state law is passed to get rid of them as well. Bartlesville teachers, in a good faith effort to comply with state law, will then have wasted considerable time and energy on SLO/SOOs. Shame on the state's policy leaders for yet again foisting off on us yet another unfunded mandate, based more on politics than sound research.

It appears certain that the quantitative component of TLE will not be fully implemented until 2017-2018, but what precise form that component will take is now up in the air, with a Commission recommendation that may or may not be fully reflected in the necessary legislation. 

Below is the press release on this matter from the State Department of Education:

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 19, 2015) — The Teacher & Leader Effectiveness (TLE) Commission today voted unanimously to approve several recommended changes in an effort to have a more valid and reliable framework for teacher and leader evaluation.

Key recommendations include delaying implementation of TLE’s quantitative component for two years and eliminating the SLOs (Student Learning Objectives) / SOOs (Student Outcome Objectives) as a proxy for Value-Added Models (VAMs).

The proposal to delay the quantitative component is in legislation authored by state Sen. John Ford, who chairs the Senate Education Committee and is on the 11-member TLE Commission.

“This marks the first of several steps to ensure Oklahoma’s TLE framework is built on strong research and reliable measures,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “Our focus is on professional development for teachers and leaders that translate into greater results for children.”

The full recommendations passed include:
  • Report quantitative measures, as available, to teachers and leaders for information purposes only until 2016-2017. Begin using quantitative measures for evaluation purposes, as available, beginning 2017-2018.
  • Keep five-tier rating system of qualitative.
  • Allow for separate reporting of multiple measures — no composite score or weight system required.
  • Keep high-quality quantitative measures
    • Keep value-added, where available
    • Eliminate OAMs (Other Academic Measures) and develop alternatives that will be recommended to local school districts that are reliable, research-based and an actionable measure correlated to growth in student achievement or engagement.
  • Allow school districts the ability to define in their board policies, using qualitative and quantitative measures as available, when/how a teacher is deemed “effective” for purposes of automatic career status, or “ineffective/needs improvement” for mandatory exiting purposes.
  • Eliminate OAM menu and SLOs/SOOs and study alternatives. (State Board of Education policy)

February 2015 BEA Line Newsletter

posted Feb 11, 2015, 1:35 PM by Bartlesville Teacher   [ updated Feb 11, 2015, 1:35 PM ]

The February 2015 edition of the BEA Line newsletter is attached to this post.

Words from the Prez, February 2015

posted Feb 11, 2015, 1:33 PM by Bartlesville Teacher   [ updated Feb 11, 2015, 1:33 PM ]

Words from the Prez:

Have you ever seen such crazy weather? One day the temperature is in the 70’s and the next day it is in the 20’s. The ups and downs in the temperature reminds me of our membership and getting people involved in our association. Sometimes our membership goes up, and our voice gets stronger. Other times, our membership goes down, and our voice becomes weaker. 

My point is that people want the benefits without being a member or being involved. Before I
became an officer, I knew literally nothing about our association, local, state or national. It was by becoming involved and people mentoring me that I found out all our association has to offer. We are looking for people to become involved, to voice their opinions and help us be the strong local that we are meant to be. 

Soon it will be time to find a president-elect for the next school year. I know people are going to say they don’t have the time, but I found that being an officer is not only rewarding but it didn’t take as much time as I thought. Please consider finding a way to become involved, we would love to have each and every one of you.

Kelli Bryant
BEA President

TLE Commission Hears Critical Report

posted Jan 30, 2015, 2:33 AM by Bartlesville Teacher   [ updated Jan 30, 2015, 3:02 AM ]


New state superintendent Hofmeister, Senator Ford, and other members of the state TLE Commission received a stinging new report on 1/29/2015 about the implementation of the quantitative components of the TLE appraisal system. The report came from statewide focus groups conducted by researchers from the Southern Regional Educational Board (SREB). It was authored in November 2014, but not released publicly until now.

The complete report is attached to this post.

The Tulsa World report quotes Andy Baxter of the SREB:

“Implementation of TLE has been really undermined by the educators’ severe distrust of OSDE (Oklahoma State Department of Education), and that’s an uncomfortable thing. I don’t bring that up lightly. It was a powerful, powerful theme in what we heard,” said Andy Baxter, vice president of educator effectiveness at SREB.

“If the theory is to help people get better in a rigorous way, people have to believe in it. There is going to be limits to what you can legislate or regulate. It’s going to come down to the schoolhouse discussions. … On the course you’re on now, it seems like it would just blow up in a general sense.”


New state superintendent Hofmeister was quoted as saying:

“I’ve been wrestling a lot with the discussion about the equity and try to argue both sides as I think though this, as well,” she said. “It does occur to me that we already accept that there are differences in certification requirements, what we test and how the workload is different for a P.E. teacher than a U.S. history teacher. Is there a way to overcome this concern that is fair and that brings value to teachers with self-reflection, growth and professional development?”

The report's central recommendation is for Oklahoma to delay the use of quantitative measures for educators’ evaluation scores. Baxter told the commission that would provide time for state leaders to review each of the measures and for educators to better familiarize themselves with them before they are factored into their effectiveness ratings.

The TLE Commission reportedly decided to spend the next month working on recommendations based on the advice from the report authors. It could vote on those at the March commission meeting and then forward them for consideration by the state Board of Education. 

Senator Ford has already introduced SB 706 to convert 2014-15 and 2015-16 into pilot years for the quantitative components, with only data collected in 2016-17 becoming 50% of TLE appraisals in 2017-18; his bill also would allow districts to modify the percentage split between Other Academic Measures (OAM) and Value Added Measures (VAM), for the 25% or so of teachers who receive ratings based on state test scores, from the current 15% for OAM and 35% for VAM. His bill retains the mandated split of 15% for OAM and 35% for local teacher-developed Student Learning/Outcome Objectives (SLO/SOO) for the 75% of teachers who do not receive a VAM. This would allow districts to put less weight on VAMs to help compensate for the clear inequities with SLO/SOO.


 KEY FINDINGS IN THE REPORT:

  1. The qualitative portion of TLE is a significant improvement over the old teacher evaluation system, although implementation is in its nascent stage. Some teachers still receive little to no feedback from administrators about their strengths and areas for improvement. Administrators and teachers alike need more time to fully unpack the teaching quality rubric and align professional development opportunities to growth areas. 
  2. Many educators, especially teachers, do not understand the quantitative components of TLE and need guidance for developing meaningful and fair local measures. Administrators who received Value Added Measures (VAM) training lack a firm grasp of the measure and do not feel qualified to train teachers on it. Educators are generally unclear about the difference between Other Academic Measures (OAM), Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) and Student Outcome Objectives (SOO), and need guidance on choosing or creating measures of student growth that are meaningful and fair across teachers. 
  3. The vast majority of educators do not believe the quantitative components are valid, fair or helpful for improving their instruction. They want to see the quantitative portion either delayed or eliminated. Educators expressed an immense amount of pushback against the quantitative components. Some of the resistance seemed to stem from misunderstanding, but most of it came from disagreement about the theory of action, practicality and helpfulness of quantitative measures. In other words, even those who understood it rejected it. 
  4. Lack of buy-in for TLE is significantly rooted in a severe distrust of OSDE. Many focus group participants described OSDE’s school and educator accountability programs as means of “tearing down public education” and “beating down on teachers,” instead of a system genuinely intended to improve teaching and learning. The distrust was deep and wide, including everything from OSDE’s handling of sensitive data, to organizational capacity, to the motive behind the TLE work.

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