Last week the governing board of the Maricopa Unified School District heard updates on various programs and procedures.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director Jack Wallbrecht reported that this year 46 students have earned at least two Carnegie credits toward college. That number of concentrators, as these students are called, will bring in CTE grant funding in the amount of $12,000 to the district in 2008-2009.

Elementary handbook

The district handbook for elementary schools is complete. The new, modified dress code policy (see related story) will be added before printing.

Teacher evaluation instrument

Pima Butte Principal Janelle Lowey headed the 10-member committee to work on the teacher evaluation instrument, which had not been updated for several years. The committee’s goal was to develop a practical, standards-based evaluation tool.

The evaluation instrument will include both a checklist and a rubric to evaluate five domains: planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, professional responsibilities and professional development and knowledge.

Teachers will be evaluated as unsatisfactory, approaching standards, proficient or distinguished, a “master” teacher.

Average daily membership and the budget

Business administrator Mark Busch presented estimated average daily membership (ADM) figures to members of the governing board. Estimates impact next year’s budget, determining income from the state based on student attendance throughout the district.

Busch will run two sets of 40th day estimated figures for the board, 4,810 students ($24 million) and 5,060 students ($25 million). These state monies provide funding for teacher hirings.

Board member Shannon Johns noted, “It would be better to go higher and get those teachers up front.”

Staff salaries and teachers

Middle school teacher Cindy Barzilla expressed her concern with the fact that signed teacher contracts are due by June 11, but the specific salary amounts will not be ratified until the June 13 board meeting. “We are being asked to sign without complete knowledge,” she explained.

Robyn Rice, also on staff at the middle school, echoed those sentiments. “We are being asked to sign before we know the numbers.” Rice urged the board to retain highly qualified teachers, presenting research showing a correlation between teacher education and student achievement, particularly in math and reading. “The sooner you hire, the better teachers you are going to get,” said Rice.

Approximately 60 teachers will need to be added next year, primarily for the middle school and the high school; 297 eighth graders were promoted Friday, but only 115 seniors graduated from Maricopa High School that same day. Thus the high school will have an additional 182 students – all of whom will need teachers and classroom space.

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