Oct. 30, 2006

Delano Schools receive $540,800 in state aid for Q Comp program

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Minnesota’s Commissioner of Education Alice Seagren is most likely always welcome at Delano schools, after the news, and check, she gave to school representatives, students, and members of the public Friday morning.

Seagren presented the district with a check for $540,800 in state aid to implement the Quality Compensation (Q Comp) program during the 2006-07 school year. Q Comp is a performance and professional pay program, and Delano is the 28th school district in the state to participate in the program.

“I commend the Delano School District for their leadership and commitment to rewarding quality in the classroom,” Seagren said. “Improving the teacher pay system and the additional training and career options provided under Q Comp will have a direct impact on student achievement.”

“Q Comp is really about you,” Seagren told members of the student body who were present. “It’s to make you, as students, more successful.”

Last year, Governor Pawlenty proposed, and the state legislature approved, Minnesota’s Q Comp program. Q Comp provides up to $86 million for districts that join the program.

Q Comp is designed to advance the teaching profession by providing structured professional development and evaluation, as well as an alternative pay schedule that compensates teachers based on performance, not just seniority.

In Delano, teachers Neva Stoebner, Meredith Huikko, and Maria Menz spearheaded the effort for Q Comp.

“It’s been a long haul,” said Delano Schools Superintendent Dr. John Sweet. “These three teachers worked very hard throughout the summer and the rest of the year.”

School board member Peter Brasket, who worked with the teacher group organizing the Q Comp proposal, said the district will support Delano Schools in three ways.

He said first, it will help the teaching staff, and allow for more staff development and growth. He also said it will help improve the education of children, and it will also ensure accountability, and see that resources are spent wisely.

The program brings together career advancement, professional development and compensation linked to academic achievement, according to Seagren.

It includes a locally agreed-upon peer evaluation process for every teacher that is based on skills, responsibilities and student academic growth. This plan is voluntary, and will add another $260 per student in participating districts.

“People from the state department of education have always been very supportive of us, and we do appreciate it,” Stoebner said.

The Q Comp program gives participating school districts the flexibility to meet local needs within a comprehensive model of improved teaching and learning. Delano’s district administration and teacher representatives have agreed to the following:

Career advancement opportunities for teachers: The career ladder includes three positions with various duties and compensations. These positions are:

• Peer coach – responsible for scheduling, observing and evaluating another peer coach using the district observation rubric. Must conduct one informal and two formal observations each year. Prior to the formal observations, complete the district pre-observation report. No salary augmentation.

• Lead peer coach – work in partnership with other lead peer coaches to plan meetings that include discussion of nest proactive strategies and current educational proactive. Distribute and collect information and materials between the collaborative group and the Q Comp advisors. Set the district goal for the following year with the Q Comp advisor. Salary augmentation: $500.

• Q-Comp advisor – determine which instructional strategies will best need the needs of the students in our district relative to the district and site goals. Offer necessary staff development through the staff development academy. Collect, record, and file paperwork related to Q Comp. In conjunction with lead peer coaches, will set the site and district goals for the following year. Salary augmentation: $3,000.

Integrated, job-embedded, on-going, site-based and teacher-led professional development activities to improve instructional skills and learning: The district has always maintained strong scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) in reading and math. The students do well in reading, but they do not consistently maintain or acquired the same scores as those in math.

After analyzing the data from the 2005 MCAs, it was found that in the elementary and high school, the subtopic on which to focus is analysis; and in the middle school, the focus is on evaluative comprehension. The district will look at students as a whole, as well as the subgroups of special education and free/reduced lunch, to find the same skills were necessary across all groups.

With the trend and data analysis in mind the district has determined its Q Comp focus to be on the goal of continuing to be a high-performing school district by improving language arts achievement as measured by performance in reading on the MCA II. There will be an increase of at least 1 percent of students achieving a score of proficient (four) or exemplary (five).

Performance pay: Teacher compensation will be based on the following factors:

• 15 percent (approximately $350) based on meeting the district improvement goal as stated in component two.

• 35 percent (approximately $815) based on a teacher receiving a rating of 18 or more on the district observation rubric.

• 35 percent (approximately $815) based on completion to the professional growth plan.

• 15 percent (approximately $350) based on meeting the site improvement goal as stated in component two.

Objective and comprehensive teacher evaluation system is based on the educational improvement plan, the staff development plan, and multiple evaluations of a teacher’s performance conducted by a locally selected and trained evaluation team that includes classroom observations of instructional practice.

Each career teacher will be observed at least three times each year by another peer coach; two are formal observations, one is an informal observation. At least one observation will be performed by two peer coaches, with the second peer coach assigned by the Q Comp advisor, as a means of addressing inter-rater reliability.

The peer coach is responsible for two formal and one informal observations each year, plus at least one additional formal observation as a second observer.

A teacher must receive a combined score of 18 on one of the formal observations to earn performance pay. The lead peer coach is also responsible for distributing, collecting, discussing, and signing the personal growth plans in October and April with members of their collaborative group.

Alternative professional pay schedule: Performance pay is divided between district-wide student gain goals, site specific gain goals and professional growth activities as outlined in component three for a total of $2,330.

In addition to performance pay, teachers are eligible for salary augmentations as outlined in component one for performing the duties of the positions of lead peer coach or Q Comp advisor.

“Delano School District is a high-achieving school district with outstanding students, staff and parents,” Sweet said. “We look forward to implementing the Q Comp program to assist us in moving achievement to the next level, increasing staff development opportunities, and improving on how we deliver instruction to all students.”

Delano Public School District has 2,170 students in three buildings with 132 teachers.

School districts that began implementing the Q Comp program during the 2005-06 school year include:

Minneapolis, Hopkins, St. Francis, Mounds View, St. Cloud, Alexandria, Fridley, La Crescent-Hokah, and Marshall.

School districts that began implementing Q Comp during the 2006-07 school year include:

Grand Meadow, Albert Lea, Alden-Conger, Brainerd, Wayzata, Eden Prairie, Red Rock Central, International Falls, Le Center, St. Louis Park, Osseo, Lac qui Parle Valley, North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale, Clearbrook-Gonvick, Proctor, Burnsville, St. Anthony-New Brighton, and Minnetonka.

Approximately 134 other school districts have indicated to the Department of Education they are planning to submit an application for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years.

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