Week of 12.16.16

This will be the last Communique’ before the holiday break.  So, on behalf of Eagle County Schools, happy holidays to you and your family and please stay safe if traveling over the break!

Negotiated Agreement

The Board of Education formally approved the Negotiated Agreement with the Eagle County Education Association this Wednesday.  This is, by far, the largest increase to employee compensation in the history of Eagle County.

This agreement paves the way for compensation changes coming as a result of the district passing question 3A this past November.  Over the next few months, we will watch our friends and colleagues in other districts around the state struggling with budget cuts and talking about things like pay cuts or freezes, laying off staff, eliminating supports and services for students, and even closing schools.  Thanks to the tremendous gift of 3A from our community, our schools will not be in this predicament.

We also agreed to not add any staff at this point in the school year due to difficulties hiring quality staff this time of year and the disruption re-scheduling everyone would cause.

Also, we will get back together in the spring of 2017 to start working on changes for the next school year, which will be dependent on what happens in the legislative session.

The approved Fall Negotiated Agreement can be viewed here.

January Pay Changes Explained

As is our tradition in Eagle County Schools, we work to extend the any pay changes provided to teachers to all other employee groups (certified exempt, support staff, and administration).  We will continue this tradition in allocating 3A funds, with the exception being that senior district administration (members of the leadership team and myself) are excluded from receiving 3A funds.

Compensation systems across employee groups are different and these differences require working to adapt the pay increases to different group.

To assist in understanding, we’ve created this example of salary changes to walk you through what to expect for pay changes in January.   Note that these are fictional examples and every staff member will be different.  However, this should be helpful in increasing understanding.

As always, feel free to send question to myself or Adele Wilson, Director of Human Resources.

Changes to Edwards Elementary Enrollment/Lottery

After much consideration, we’ve decided to end the matched-pair lottery system for entry into Edwards for native English-speaking and native Spanish-speaking students.

With several up-valley schools also implementing (or planning to implement) the dual language model, the necessity of the matched pair system creates an unnecessary and confusing difference.  For next year EES will operate the same way as our other community elementary schools in terms of enrollment.

You can read the communication sent out to the community on this change here.

Minor Teacher Evaluation Changes

CDE, in accordance with HB 15-1323, requires districts to include present year data in teacher evaluations.  For 2016-2017, WIDA ACCESS is the only statewide assessment that will be available for inclusion in teacher evaluations.   It was necessary that ECS amend the 2016-2017 Professional Growth and Evaluation Cycle to reflect this requirement.  The ECS Evaluation Council revisions are attached.  School and District Performance Frameworks were valued at 10% each in the previous model.   The revised model reduces those to 5% each, allowing for 10% of the overall evaluation to be assigned to WIDA ACCESS.  In addition, the Evaluation Council inserted graphics to explain how the final teacher effectiveness rating is determined.  Please direct questions to Philip Qualman, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services.

You can read about the evaluation changes here.

A Word on Inclusion, Diversity, and Tolerance

This November’s national election has (and continues to) bring out the worst in a lot of people.  We’ve been talking past and over each other for months, and that shows no signs of slowing down – in fact it may be getting even worse.

Regardless of the rhetoric and vitriol spiraling out of control at the national level, we have to work on making our community an oasis of inclusion and hopefulness.  This week, the Board of Education passed a resolution restating our organization’s commitment to being a public education system open to every family.

Frequently, we worry and think about our minority and undocumented students in this charged political climate.  And well we should, given the tenor of what has been said and what may come.

While it is important that we stand up for these students, it is equally important that we work every day toward making our schools a place where all students feel safe and valued, regardless of their background or political creed.  This includes Democrats, Republicans, and all stripes and colors in between and beyond.

Starting with you and I, let’s commit to hearing and really understanding each other, and resisting dogma in our thinking, regardless of where it originates.

Battle Mountain High School – Spilled Ink

Check out the creative art and writing work of our BMHS students, which appeared in a special to the Vail Daily yesterday. You can read Spilled Ink here!

Eagle Valley High School – EVTV

The students at Eagle Valley High are really hitting their stride in terms of content and production quality.  Check out their latest episodes of EVTV here! 

Catching up with Social Media

Check out this Storify post of things happening in our schools over the past couple of weeks.  If you want your posts included, tag them with #ecsrocks.

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