The President's Post

The President's Post

Are You Ready to Read Across America?

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” –Dr. Seuss

Every March I look forward to putting on my red and white striped Cat in the Hat hat and traveling the state to celebrate Read Across America with students and teachers. As president of the Arkansas Education Association, I work with educators all year round to ensure that we are emphasizing literacy and instilling a lifelong love of reading in each of our students. Read Across America is a national campaign sponsored by the National Education Association. Read Across America activities are centered around the March 2nd birthday of famous children’s book author, Dr. Seuss.  Here’s where you can find me reading with kids:

Feb. 15 - James Matthews Elem-Dollarway SD

Feb. 17 - Gardner-Strong Elementary- Strong-Huttig SD,
Hermitage Elem. --Hermitage SD

Feb. 28 - Lakeside Elem-Lakeside School District

March 1 - Dermott Elem  -Dermott SD

March 2 - Arkansas Children's Hospital

March 3 - Anna Strong- Lee County SD

March 6 - Pyron Elem - Clarksville,
East Pointe Elem. Greenwood

Are you hosting a Read Across America event in your area?  Be sure to register your event here: http://www.readacrossamerica.org/

In addition to Read Across America, I want to make sure all AEA members are aware of opportunities to give feedback to develop Arkansas’s state plan under the new Every Student Succeeds Act commonly referred to as ESSA. ESSA is the new Federal law that replaced the troubled No Child Left Behind law and presents an opportunity for educators to help shape Arkansas’s accountability measures. Arkansas is moving away from punitive accountability measures and toward a more supportive accountability framework.  Under ESSA, every state is required to develop a state accountability plan which includes multiple measures.

We have just begun to see legislation presented at the State Capitol that seeks to move us toward a more supportive model of evaluation.  For example, HB1424 is a proposal moving through the legislative process that hopes to do just that.  This bill makes several changes to the Teacher Excellence and Support System better known as TESS. AEA testified in support of this bill when it was heard in both the House and Senate Education Committees. This bill would:  

·       Amend summative evaluations.  One overall rating is required for summative evaluations only.  This means no domain level ratings will be required.  All evidence contributes to one overall summative rating.

·       Change formative years to be defined as the 3 years when no summative evaluation is required. Focus on PGP goals and feedback should be based on approved goals.  Support components are aligned system of professional learning opportunities that link PGP and performance.

  • Add novice teacher support which is mentoring support for three years as a novice with no summative evaluation until the fourth year.
  • Remove pre and post observations.
  • Allow school districts to incorporate peer observations and student feedback, if they desire, to contribute to a summative evaluation overall rating.
  • Allow a teacher’s work on NBCT certification may be substituted for all of part of a summative evaluation requirement and/or rating.
  • Create a system that aligns professional support and learning opportunities to link teacher’s professional practice with support for targeted, personalized learning.
  • Make changes to intensive support status so that superintendents may recommend for termination, but it is not required.
  • Remove the requirement for student growth measures to be a separate part of the summative evaluation rating and instead allows student growth to be part of the data submitted or artifacts considered in a summative rating.  The amendment allows flexibility for districts to use multiple measures for choosing appropriate growth evident.

Thanks to each of you for all you do for your students and our profession.