MCES provides stipends for curriculum planning
By Kathryn Schiliro
Stipends for local elementary school teachers are taking the sting out of planning for and simultaneously putting into place the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS).
Development of the CCGPS – the state-mandated implementation of which requires a complete curriculum overhaul, but will bring Georgia’s curriculum in line with the rest of the nation – is in process and has been since before the start of the school year. With virtually no planning time due to budget cuts at the local level, teachers at each of the county’s schools have to write lesson plans as they go.
Teachers oftentimes stay after school’s over to do this work. Recognizing this, Morgan County Elementary School administration began thinking how they could provide some compensation for this extra work.
Thanks to the advantages of being a charter school, they were able to move a few things around.
Funds previously used to pay for the school’s after-school program, for remediation, were rerouted to pay teachers staying after school to plan for CCGPS. They get about $150 for 10 hours of work, Assistant Principal Kay McLeod said, provided they document their time and have their work, whether writing, English-Language Arts or math, reviewed and approved by a consultant. Not all teachers at the school take advantage of this, but many do.
“We’re lucky we’re able to give them a little something for their work,” McLeod said.
So what happens to remediation?
The school’s paraprofessionals role was shifted. Instead of focusing solely on completing teachers’ clerical-type work, they’re helping children with remediation and tutoring during the school day, a move that, in turn, keeps teachers in the classroom and students from having to stay after school.
The paraprofessionals are also in constant communication with the teachers so that they can keep the students they're working with abreast of what their teacher's teaching so that when they return to the classroom, they haven't missed anything.
"The key is communication in the classroom," Principal Jean Triplett said. "The teachers guide the parapros in what they're supposed to do."
There's still after-school tutoring available as needed.
"It's (the compensation for CCGPS planning) been received well," McLeod said. "Teachers are working very, very hard to get the work done."
Teachers are lucky if they're two to three weeks ahead in planning, according to McLeod, but by the end of the year they should have a very good draft of the units which will only have to be improved upon.
"The teachers are up to the challenge," McLeod said. "They're going to get the job done."
Printed in the November 22, 2012 edition