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SOUTH KINGSTOWN â€“ South Kingstown teachers stood up in solidarity against the school committee and Superintendent Tuesday night, filling the Broad Rock Middle School with passion, determination and frustration. After the school committee adopted two policies and tabled one policy concerning teacher evaluation, transfers and layoffs and the Code of Professional Responsibility, teachers did not hold back their disfavor and the trust between teachers and the school department began to ebb.
Passions flared as South Kingstown teachers filled the Broad Rock Middle School cafeteria Tuesday night to speak out against the school committeeâ€™s decision to approve several policies affecting how teachers are evaluated for their work and what determines how effective their teaching is.
â€śWeâ€™re respectfully asking you to not adopt a policy that needs to be bargained in good faith. You want us to trust you, but youâ€™re doing something that makes us feel insecure, unsafe and worried about our future in the town and weâ€™ve never felt that way before,â€ť Christine Heid, President of National Education Association of South Kingstown (NEA-SK) said.
At issue between teachers and the school department are three policies affecting teacherâ€™s work: the educator evaluation policy, the Educator Code of Professional Responsibility policy and the human capital policy.
According to the educator evaluation policy, the policy intends to assist a teacher in improving his/her instructional practice by ensuring that educators get accurate useful feedback on their performance and by providing teachers with the support they need to do their best work in the classroom. The school department adopted the policy based on a model developed by the Rhode Island Department of Education. The policy stipulates that all monitoring or observation of the work performance of a teacher shall be conducted openly and with teacher awareness. Also, after several years of consistent and successful evaluation, teachers who are rated effective or highly effective could participate in a differentiated process. At the end of the year, before June 15, a report shall be prepared by the evaluator and shared with the teacher.
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