1120 Teacher on Special Assignment
1120-Teacher on Special Assignment
Washington County School District - Approved 9-14-04: Revised 9-13-05; Revised 8-12-08; Revised 5-10-11; Revised 4-14-15; Revised 10-10-17
The purpose of this policy is to implement guidelines that will ensure appropriate and responsible use of Teachers on Special Assignment.
Teacher on Special Assignment (TSA) or Teacher Specialist is the term used to describe a licensed teacher who has been assigned to perform duties other than classroom instruction. The assignment may include, but not be limited to, working on special programs and/or curriculum development; However, TSA and Teacher Specialist assignments are not typically intended to provide or replace administrative judgment, direction, or oversight. Because a TSA opportunity provides exposure to unique program responsibility and development potentially enhancing an educator's career, it is important that eligibility, qualifications, competition requirements, and limitations are clearly defined. Further, as a teacher authorization is a valuable and scarce resource, TSA assignments must focus on the effective instruction of students and must be cautiously, wisely, and prudently used.
3.1.1. To be eligible for consideration and placement into a TSA or specialist position, the educator must:
- meet applicable state and federal endorsements and/or requirements for the special assignment.
- hold a current level 2 or 3 license issued by the Utah State Office of Education;
- be a teacher in good standing with no documented performance or conduct concerns within the past three years.
3.1.2. Learning Coaches are required to participate in the following training activities:
- Learning Coaches hired after July 1, 2011 are required to pass the Principals of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Praxis II examination within the first year of their assignment, unless s/he has previously passed the examination.
- Summer Learning Coach Academy: Learning Coaches are required to attend the yearly Learning Coach Academy to enhance their skills and share best practices in mentoring and PLC.
- Instructional Coaching: Each Learning Coach is required to complete the District Peer Coaching Seminar within their first year. Then participate in yearly Instructional Coaching Professional Development, with a focus chosen in consultation with their principal (such as differentiated instruction, language arts, math, ESL, technology, etc.), that aligns with school and District goals, and leads to high levels of learning for all students.
- Learning Coach Forums: Learning Coaches will attend on-going forums to access implementation of key program elements, collaborate, and receive on-going training.
- Partnership with Principal: Unless directed by the Superintendent, the Learning Coach will not serve in an administrative role. Each Learning Coach will meet regularly (at least twice a month) with their principal to coordinate PLC efforts and support for new teachers, plan professional development and align it with school goals, examine student and teacher data to determine training needs, and determine next steps and needed support;
- Annual Performance Review: Principal will complete an annual performance review with their Learning Coach. As part of the annual performance review, they need to consider available data from student assessments, PLC results, feedback from faculty, EYE and PLC surveys, etc.
3.1.3. Learning Coaches are expected to complete the following position responsibilities:
Spend approximately 75% of their time coaching new and veteran teachers to build teacher capacity for selecting, implementing, and reflecting on effective teaching strategies and curriculum;Meet specific teaching needs of individual (new and veteran) teachers and PLC teams through the use of research-based coaching strategies, such as: analyzing student work, modeling effective teaching strategies, peer coaching observations, discussing case study students, reflecting and problem-solving, analyzing and reflecting on student data and authentic teaching artifacts, learning walks;
While Learning Coaches are advocates for teachers, they still have the responsibility, as all employees do, to report violations of the law or major employee conduct violations of District policy, such as child abuse, disregard for administrative directives, or acts of insubordination.
The term of assignment is based on the nature of the project, program, and/or funding. Assignments may be limited under the terms and conditions specified in a temporary agreement. (9-13-05)
3.3.1. TSA and Specialist salary will be based on the daily rate of the applicable lane and step on the Certified Salary Schedule times the contract days listed in the following table:
|Program Level||Program Requirements||Basic Contract||Addendum Agreement (by temporary agreement)||Total Contract||PLC Compensation|
|1||Basic Teacher Contract Assignment||183||0||183||Yes|
|2||TSA contract will be closely associated with school days but may require additional program planning or development outside of the school year.||183||5-10||188||Yes|
|3||TSA contract will require substantial additional preparation, planning, or development time beyond a standard teacher contract.||183||18||201||No|
|4||TSA contract will require working a schedule that is equivalent to an Administrative Employee on a year-round contract.||183||32||215||No|
3.3.2. The workday for a TSA or Specialist assignment is eight hours. (9-13-05)
3.3.3. The TSA assignment is temporary and as such may conclude or change at any time at the sole discretion of the District. TSA or Specialists with provisional or career employment status whose assignment is abolished will be placed in a temporary position pending the opportunity for permanent placement at the beginning of the next contract year or as soon as the District is able to administratively effect a transfer to the first available vacant teaching position for which the individual is fully qualified without undue disruption. Additional compensation beyond a standard teacher contract, to include additional days, may end at any time regardless of employment status. (9-13-05)
3.4.1. TSA vacancies will be announced and filled competitively according to District Policy.
3.4.2. The District may non-competitively assign (designate an employee without announcing the position) a TSA to fill an administrative position for one year or less when the action is necessitated by an exigency, such as, but not limited to, the need to temporarily fill a principal position while the incumbent is on sabbatical or sick leave. If an administrative TSA assignment exceeds 30 days, the individual will be compensated for the daily rate of an additional 1/7th FTE for the number of days the administrative duties are assigned. The TSA may also be assigned and compensated for additional workdays.
3.4.3. A fully qualified TSA selected from outside the current permanent WCSD employee workforce will be hired under the terms and conditions of a Temporary Employment Agreement with no expectation of continued employment. At the end of the temporary employment agreement, the employment relationship with the District will simply end.
It’s a skill most people learn in 3rd grade but now is really only used to write a signature.
So, in a digital age, is cursive handwriting still necessary?
"If they don't learn it in 2nd and 3rd grade, when will they learn it?” asked Lucinda Zeiher, a 3rd grade teacher of 49 years, now at Anna Marie Ayers Elementary School in Martins Ferry. “I feel very strongly that they definitely need it."
"Third grade is perfect. They are like little sponges that soak everything in."
The Ohio Department of Education currently has no requirements for handwriting, meaning individual districts can decide.
"There were 44 states that adopted Common Core standards and one of the standards was to switch from cursive handwriting to keyboarding," Zeiher said.
Students do learn keyboarding skill -- and cursive writing in Zeiher's classroom.
"Thank goodness Martins Ferry School District did decide, yes, to keep it," Zeiher said.
But they are required to use Chromebooks to complete the 3rd grade reading guarantee, a state test needed to move up a grade. One question asks for an answer in essay form.
"The problem is with the keyboarding, it takes them a long time to find the letters and they get very frustrated,” Zeiher said. “I think the state has heard plenty of criticism because of that. A bill has been introduced in the state legislature that is tentatively going to allow 3rd graders to take the test with paper/pencil again."
There's also another bill under review in the Ohio State House -- House Bill 58 -- to amend the revised code to require instruction of cursive handwriting.
That’s something Zeiher likes to hear.
"I mean, I have taught cursive writing all of my years, and really, I don’t see the justification to do away with it," Zeiher said.
Meanwhile, West Virginia is one of several states that requires students learn cursive writing.
According to the West Virginia Department of Education’s Title 126 Legislative Rule, 3rd graders should begin learning how to legibly write in cursive or joined italics.
"It is something that they should know; it's part of our written language," said Kim Ueltschy 3rd grade teacher, Woodsdale Elementary.
Ueltschy, who has been teaching at the school for 8 years, says even if cursive writing wasn't required, she'd still want to teach it.
"Sometimes computers don't work, sometimes any technology doesn't work,” she said. “It's important to be able to write with paper and pencil."
Teachers infuse technology into the curriculum as much as possible, as there is no graded keyboarding course, but it can have its drawbacks.
"Students tend to associate technology with games and fun things, so sometimes they are easily distracted by other things they can do with the technology," Ueltschy said.
That's why both teachers believe handwriting is the easiest type of written communication.
Being introduced to cursive writing allows people to be able to read historical documents and write a signature.
"It really builds up their fine motor skills in their hands,” Ueltschy said. “It can actually lead to a big increase in neatness in their print writing."
"Think of someone receiving a thank you note or any kind of written communication, I think it would mean much more to the person receiving it if it's actually written out," Zeiher said.
It's a skill children enjoy learning, and for now, isn't a lost art in the Ohio Valley.
"When it's time to get the cursive workbooks out, at least 95 percent of the kids in my class are like, ‘yay we get to work on cursive for a little,’" Ueltschy said.
Overall, teachers in both states say cursive handwriting is necessary and should continue to be taught even in this digital age.