Carroll task force to consider questions posed by teachers

Planning, training time, curriculum among issues

October 11, 2002|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

A task force seeking answers to the questions raised by teachers who launched work-to-contract job actions at several Carroll schools likely will explore issues such as the use of "in-service" planning days and the effect curriculum changes have on instruction.

"The intent is not to be an ongoing committee but a short-term task force that can identify those areas of concern, which we can then direct to the appropriate staff to work on with teachers," said Stephen Guthrie, assistant superintendent of administration for the school system. "They're going to try to narrow those issues into workable issues."

Other topics likely to be addressed include the number of standardized tests teachers are required to administer and staffing levels for secretaries and other support personnel, union leaders said Wednesday.

In the job actions, teachers have worked more closely to the terms of their contract, refusing before- and after-school activities for which they are not paid.

Guthrie said that Gregory Bricca, the schools' assessment and accountability coordinator, will co-chair the committee with Michele Becker, a teacher at Linton Springs Elementary, where the work-to-contract protest began.

Joining them will be nine teachers, three each from county elementary, middle and high schools. Three principals will also be on the committee.

The first meeting is scheduled for Monday.

The goal is to put together a master list of issues and recommendations for the Carroll County Education Association's Representative Assembly and the school board by Oct. 23.

"We need a consolidated list rather than 40 different lists," said schools Superintendent Charles I. Ecker.

The only specific concerns forwarded to the school board are contained in a letter from teachers at Linton Springs Elementary to the PTA. Teachers there drafted a list of 20 points they want addressed, among them shortages of planning time, support staff and equipment.

Some points that teachers might bring to the table include how to make the best use of planning days. Bricca said that the committee might look at whether training takes up too much time.

Another issue that might be discussed is curriculum development and implementation. Bricca said he is aware that some teachers complain that the curriculum is in constant flux and that they might appreciate more stability.

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