The high school sits in the highest poverty zip code in Washington State and has a student homeless population in the hundreds. If they’ve got the knowledge, they’ve got the knowledge” – Kevin Hickerson, Fairfax Education Association “Attempts at reform to help struggling students backfired, at least in part, because policymakers neglected to spend more time engaging in dialogue with teachers about how to address student motivation issues and the ramifications of failure on high-stakes universally required tasks,” Mac Iver writes. They are pillars of the community.  Pinkston has a long history as a local Sacramento community activist and understands the value of deep engagement between local unions and the community. “When we are talking to one another we are able to identify and strategize how to address key issues affecting our students, instead of being played against one another.” According to Milevsky, the district has been pushing back on SCTA’s proposals based on economics, but he says the facts don’t back up their position. No-zero will be going into effect this fall at all public schools in Boise, Idaho. Supporters of the no-zero policy argued that such a low mark on a 100-point scale doesn’t accurately measure what a student knows and pushes him or her to give up on a class mid-semester. Department of Education because of its graduation rate, which stood at 49 percent.

Under new changes approved earlier this year in Fairfax County, VA., middle and high school students will be given “multiple opportunities” to complete assignments before they can be handed a zero at the end of the quarter. In addition to the $1,000 check to the school, she also provided each driver with a gift card to Target and a local grocery store. If they’ve got the knowledge, they’ve got the knowledge. This alone is cause to celebrate! To honor this work and the commitment of ESPs, NEA teamed up with the DUDE. be nice Project to pull off a series of surprises for the self-proclaimed “lunch bunch,” the cafeteria workers at the school.  Placing too much emphasis on teacher’s “rules and expectations” instead of actual student knowledge, Hickerson says, is unfair. “It shouldn’t matter when students turn in an assignment. None of this, however, ensures a smooth transition, and educators in Fairfax, even if they are on board philosophically, have legitimate concerns about increased workload in implementing and sustaining the new system. “It will be interesting to see how certin schools are handling the no-zero policy and find out what’s working and not working,” Hickerson says. “There’s definitely concern about the impact on students and teachers.

They were dazzled by paparazzi flashes and draped with a custom Lunch Bunch apron. A stop to Mason Elementary took Moss back to her roots as a music teacher. Now educators who have questions about the campaign can walk down the hall to ask the team member in their school rather than having to call the SCTA office.  After three years, the collaborative efforts among ESPs, teachers, and school staff helped to launch the school’s graduation rate to 82 percent—and today its inching toward nearly 85 percent. Hammond Middle School. Also, if a specific issue comes up, there is someone on the bargaining team present to speak to the issue, instead of delaying negotiations or relying on the district’s misrepresentation. “With the new bargaining team it’s a different dynamic – not only is the process now more transparent with more communication through widely dispersed team members, the team itself is also far more diverse in terms of age, race and gender.” Milevsky says.

Earlier this year, members put together a proposal to revamp the grading system of the area’s high schools that included this “good faith” provision.   Things in this country are changing and it is important for us to maintain our unions, keep them strong, and get involved.” Proposition 55 For the first time, their bargaining team also includes community members, like Carl Pinkston, from the Black Parallel School Board. Other noteworthy changes: educators would no longer be able to use behavior, attendance or tardiness as grading factors and they would be required to allow make-up work, regardless homework market of the reason for the student’s absence. Earlier this year, Greenville County, South Carolina, banned zero grades in their middle school – even if students fail to turn in assignment or cheat. These teams will also determine what qualifies as a “reasonable attempt” to complete an assignment. We’ll be monitoring it very closely.” To reverse the trend, Chandler, an attendance secretary and parent-community specialist at Rogers was put on a team to help lead transformation efforts. The decision to move ahead with the changes emerged after a 18-month conversation between district leaders and educators.

Middle School in Beltsville, MD. “A large portion of my work as a math teacher focuses on encouraging students to take pride in their work and follow through solving challenging tasks,” Barnes explains. “A grading policy that says ‘good faith’ is only completing half of the assignment completely undermines this message.” Barnes points out that teachers undergo years of training to help them tailor instruction to meet the needs of students. “Creating a uniform policy is a one-size-fits-all approach that simply does not fit into every classroom and undermines our efforts to differentiate for our students’ needs,” she says. Students Create Thank You Cards for school staff on Education Support Professional Day. As part of American Education Week (AEW) 2016, ESP Day (Nov. 16) focuses on the importance of these school employees, who make up 40 percent of the school staff and take care of students every day, making sure they have the tools they need to succeed in school. At Williams High, Moss kicked off the celebration with a staff breakfast, as well as a meet and greet with bus drivers. For example, they will set the bar on how many do-overs of an assignment a student will have to avoid a grade below 50. This is a crucial component of any effort to fundamentally change any aspect of classroom practice, says Martha Mac Iver, a research scientist at the John Hopkins School of Education.

Hickerson says the implementation of the no-zero grading system will be done on a school-by-school basis, in part by collaborative learning teams charged with filling in the gaps.  Also, in its approved budget for 2016-17, the district began the fiscal year with $97 million total in its reserve fund, which is $48 million more than originally projected. Is your name on a paper ‘good faith’?” Creating a uniform policy is a one-size-fits-all approach that simply does not fit into every classroom and undermines our efforts to differentiate for our students’ needs” – Natalie Barnes, math teacher It’s a concern echoed by Natalie Barnes, a math teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. The bargaining team grew from 10 members to over 50 members present at the bargaining table. NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, along with National ESP of the Year Doreen McGuire Grigg and Council for Education Support President Debby Chandler spent the day today honoring the hard work and dedication of ESPs from Rogers High School in Spokane, Wash. School leaders who support the policy believe zero grades can put struggling students in too deep a hole.

While the Prince George’s County school board will soon vote on the new proposals, no-zero grading is taking hold in other parts of the country. The Sacramento City Unified School District is in the best financial position it has ever been in its entire history, she says. For starters, SCTA members helped pass Proposition 55, a ballot proposition to continue taxing the rich at a higher rate to raise billions of dollars for public schools and health care. President Lily Eskelsen García celebrated ESP Day by honoring the hard work and dedication of ESPs at Rogers HS in Spokane, Wash. During a school tour, she stepped into the class of Heather Rosner, the school’s band teacher, and picked up the clarinet to play with the award-winning George Mason Band. Theresa Mitchell Dudley, president of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, while praising the effort to review grading policies, called the proposal  “problematic.” Dudley told the board that it may be not be taking into account some serious issues surrounding accountability. “How is this making students college and career ready when we are not teaching the basic skills of being timely with your work?” Dudley asked. “Our teachers are professional educators and each educator has a class system for late work. I’m hopeful that my participation in the bargaining unit, and the SCTA’s willingness to present all our concerns, will show the district that psychologists are more than test givers and report writers.” Young believes everyone should get involved in the process by supporting the bargaining team and by supporting the union.

Five years ago, the school was deemed as “failing” by the U.S. Like any good guest, Moss came bearing a special gift: Each school received from NEA a $1,000 check for programs and services that will benefit staff and students! “Our school support staff has many needs and this money will go toward helping them in their work,” says Moss. But what kind of message does a no-zero policy send to a student? And aren’t teachers best-positioned to decide what kinds of grades are handed out in class? These were just a few of the questions raised at a recent school board meeting in Prince George’s County, MD. The duo visited three area schools: TC Williams High School, George Mason Elementary School, and Francis C. The real Hollywood-style production happened in the afternoon when each Lunch Bunch member walked the red carpet. In the new book, When School Policies Backfire (Harvard Education Press), Mac Iver examines how and why parents pushed back against a no-zero policy in Houston, Texas, that was approved in 2009. “It shouldn’t matter when students turn in an assignment.

Eskelsen García has often said, “ESPs are the secret weapon to student success,” and this sentiment rings true today. “I was an amazing educator because I had an entire army behind me: nurses, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, and counselors—we always lifted each other up!” On the Opposite Coast NEA Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss Thanks ESPs During American Education Week 2016 At a kick-off event on Tuesday, NEA Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss—joined by Dawn Lewis, president of the Education Association of Alexandria (EAA)—spent the day yesterday in Alexandria, Va. As drivers pulled up to the school, Moss personally thanked them for their commitment to keeping students safe, and getting them to school on time and ready to learn. Instead, a student would be given a failing grade of 61.   The district ended the 2015-16 year spending about $35 million less than projected in their final budget, while students attended classes often without a fully credentialed teacher leading instruction. But the surprise breakfast was only the beginning of surprises slated throughout the day.

So are we measuring that or their behavior?” Ultimately, the county’s goal is to transition from a 100-point scale to a 4.0 scale, Hickerson says. As the group made their way to a formal recognition in the center court, also known as the Rogers’ gym, students and the DUDE. be nice crew gave the Lunch Bunch break room an extreme makeover, including a new couch, carpet, fancy sound system with lights, and an official “Lunch Bunch” sign. The surprises included a drive-by style breakfast served this morning to ESP staff, including the Lunch Bunch, with loving tenderness by none other than the King himself, Elvis. From coast to coast, students, teachers, and parents are rolling out the red carpet in a national day of recognition for education support professionals (ESP), who are integral members of the education team. According to the new policy, however, teachers are “encouraged to assign a grade no lower than 50 if a “reasonable attempt” by the student is made to complete work. Not everyone has the right, she says, and those who do are fortunate to have a voice. “If you don’t participate in your local association, you won’t have a voice and decisions will be made without you,” Young says. “Participation in bargaining and your local union is not something that should be taken for granted, whether you’re a first year educator or knocking on the door to retirement.

Among the day’s events and activities are appreciation breakfasts, luncheons, and other celebrations to honor the individuals who work behind the scenes to support students and help schools run smoothly. The process, according to Hickerson, was deliberative and transparent. If no progress is made by April, SCTA and its members are prepared to strike – for only the third time since the union was founded in 1921. “The whole community is prepared to move into action” says Milevsky. “Our city is the state capital of California, the world’s sixth largest economy, and is one of the most diverse cities in the country; Sacramento must become the destination district for California.” A small but growing number of school districts have implemented new grading systems that ban grades of less than 50% – the so-called “no-zero” policy. But more than just the check, the day proved to be a whirlwind of excitement, celebration, and emotion. “Education support staff are near and dear to my heart because both of my parents were public school bus drivers,” said Moss. “I have an appreciation…for ESPs because I know the very important work they do. It usually works like this: If a student has completed an assignment – no matter how late or poorly done – he has shown a “good faith” effort, and therefore deserves somewhere between a zero and 49. See Also: Are Letter Grades Failing Our Students? Teacher Autonomy Declined Over Past Decade, New Data Shows Experts: Keep ‘Grit’ Away From Teacher Evaluations Want to Reduce the Teacher Shortage?

Treat Teachers Like Professionals Kevin Hickerson, president-elect of the Fairfax Education Association, says that, while divisions persist among educators, a consensus is forming that student behavior – tardiness, work ethic, etc. – is being weighed too heavily in grades. It’s also more diverse in terms of job categories, allowing more voices to be heard, like that of Nafeesah Young is an early career school psychologist who now sits on the SCTA bargaining team. The concerns she and other eight-hour employees like counselors and social workers deal with weren’t specifically addressed in the last contract, so she decided to speak up. “As a school psychologist, you often feel like the needs of the teachers overshadow the needs of other members in the union because, let’s face it, they have the numbers,” Young says.  “I decided to join the bargaining unit because I felt working for the change I want to see is more beneficial than complaining at a roundtable with a group of colleagues.