During their regularly scheduled work session Oct. 2, the Haralson County Board of Education heard updates on math scores and was briefed on a pilot program for evaluating teachers and principals.
Board members said they were concerned after last year’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) and End of Course Test (EOCT) results were released. Therefore, they asked Haralson County Schools Director of Instruction and Assessment Annette Johnson and math team leaders to present to them what the system is doing to improve math scores.
“We have been working on several things to improve math scores,” Johnson said. “Many of these we do all the time, but some of them are new. For example, last year we worked on common assessments, and now we’re using that data to make improvements.”
According to Johnson, the data the system gathered last year with common assessments has been most helpful in grades where there are multiple teachers teaching the same content since they have other teachers to compare and contrast effective teaching methods with.
Johnson said the system had also increased in-class formative assessments, in which team leaders or principals observe teachers on scheduled and unscheduled walk-throughs. The system is also using past CRCT data to evaluate areas of concern before students get to the next grade level.
Johnson said common planning time by department has also been very helpful by allowing teachers to bounce ideas off each other during planning.
In other news, Haralson County Schools Chief Academic Officer Dr. Janet Goodman briefed the board on a new evaluation program the state is initiating, called the Teacher Key Evaluation System (TKES) and the Leader Key Evaluation System (LKES).
“We were one of the schools chosen to pilot the program,” Goodman said. “This is a good thing because we will be more familiar with it when full implementation starts next year.”
Ten percent of the teaching staff will be participating in the new evaluation system. Additionally, all school principals – but none of the assistant principals – will participate in the LKES program.
According to Goodman, the new evaluation systems are part of the state’s Race to the Top program. Teachers will be evaluated on 10 different performance areas, and the evaluations will include student surveys.
The council was also updated on recent Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax projects, many of which have been completed, such as: the new flooring in the multi-purpose rooms at Buchanan Primary and Tallapoosa Primary; the bus canopies at BPS and TPS; new lighting at Buchanan Elementary and West Haralson Elementary; and the relocation of the playground at BPS.
Also, the tennis court and fence at Haralson County High School are ready for final inspection; ventilation projects at BES and WHES are under way; and the restroom renovation at WHES is nearly complete.
The board also heard from Goodman about the need for a salary schedule for the occupational therapist position.
“Most occupational therapists sign contracts with us,” she said, “but if one were interested in taking a lower salary and receiving benefits, I don’t even have a pay schedule right now to base the salary off of. Having a salary and benefits schedule would be useful for me to have in the future in case someone applying for that position were interested in being salaried.”
During their regular meeting Thursday, Oct. 4, the board approved the salary schedule.
The board also approved a new policy on bids and quotations, as well as reviewed policies on emergency closings, private vehicles, transportation safety, and special use of school buses.
The board tabled the policy review of EED regarding vending machines and EEE regarding the wellness program.
All policies are available for review on the school system’s web site, www.haralson.k12.ga.us.
The board also tabled any decision about whether to continue offering health care benefits to board members, as the cost to both members of the board and the school system will go up significantly, according to Dee Wrisley, Haralson County Schools financial director.
At issue is the fact the State Health Benefit Plan will no longer offer a retiree cost option. If retired board members wish to stay enrolled in the coverage, they will now have to enroll as active members, which results in higher premiums for the member and the school system.