Late Start/Early Release

The district, KEA and other interested bargaining groups have been in discussion for several months over the issue of providing more time for teacher collaboration, training and performing other professional responsibilities.  To that end, a committee of administrators, teachers, KEA leadership, parents and community members was formed to develop a few proposals. This is an idea that has support from the superintendent, administrators, teachers and other groups within KSD.

 As you may know, in most surrounding school districts, there are many more days set aside as early release or late start than we currently have, and if you speak to teachers from those districts, most will tell you that it has been invaluable as a means to do a variety of things that enhance their teaching and student learning.  In the districts that have this time, they added minutes to the student day to keep with the state required 1000 hours of instructional time. Teachers in those districts understand that a few minutes extra each day is well worth the additional time they get on the late start or early release days. We currently have 8 days of early release/late starts and the 3 proposals that have been suggested are:

  1. Every Wednesday a 90 minute late start
  2. One half day every other Wednesday Every
  3. Wednesday a 2 hour late start

How the days will be directed is subject to bargaining, so you will have a voice in this, if adoption is recommended. Two community meetings will be held to provide information and gain input from community members, teachers and other KSD employees.    The first meeting is at Kentridge High School on January 31, from 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, and the second is at Kentlake High School on February 1, from 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM.  Come and see what’s being proposed.

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21 Responses to “Late Start/Early Release”

  1. Weary Says:

    I am not in support of this unless those days are directed by me, for myself. “Training and performing other professional duties” sounds, to me, like a catchall phrase for principal/KSD Adm directed days. Oh sure it will be bargained for and for the first few months or even maybe a year, most will be teacher directed, but gradually there will be a shift from more teacher time to more admin time, less teacher time. Does the contract even have meaning? I recall after the strike hearing KEA say that KSD is not following the intention of the contract language. This will be one more thing that we think will be to our advantage until KSD begins to “misinterpret” the contract language. I will be at the Monday meeting.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      I am sure you echo the voices of many KEA members in your mistrust of KSD. I would urge you to make sure that your voice is heard because that will influence both the discussion and the way the language is set up at the bargaining table. It does us no good to adopt ambiguous language that is toothless or worse, can be used against us. We need ironclad language and intent to make certain that the message is clear. However, all contracts can be violated both in letter and in spirit and that is where members must make sure those “misinterpretations” don’t occur or are caught and reinterpreted correctly. KEA leadership must be made aware of your feelings and must be held accountable to follow through with whatever is necessary to avoid being walked over by KSD admin. Remember: YOU ARE KEA! It is your voice and the collective voice of 1800 members that moves leadership to action. If enough people feel as you do, that KSD absolutely cannot be trusted, they will be made aware of that. To that end, we will continue to use all methods at our disposal, whether it be grievance, arbitration, our combined voices or picket signs, if necessary, to ensure that KSD plays fair.

    • theresa Says:

      Weary has a point. It’s difficult to trust when there have been so many grievances filed due to contract violations. However, it is important that we move forward and bargain for a contract that is clear. District ignores it and another grievance is filed. That’s how the process works. KEA has won nearly all of our grievances filed.
      Donating a half hour every week for PLCs is not my idea of a fair contract. Perhaps the late starts will help us get more time.
      And please Bargaining Team- let’s change the language of the current contract so that administration can only hold us over our contracted time in extreme emergency situations. My colleagues at KW are donating an hour a week to KSD in the name of PLCs. Meanwhile, they could be paying us Principal Effective Ed (PEE) for this time and won’t. The excuse? It’s in the contract!

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        Trust must be earned and the district has not done much to justify our trust except for making us trust that they will make every conceivable effort to twist hard fought contract language into something it never was intended to be. All the gains that we have made over the past few years were made through harsh actions, not gentle negotiations. We grieve contract violations because there is no discussion possible with administrators that believe that their way is the only way. Trust KSD? Not yet. There needs to be a change in behavior by administration before teachers are going to start trusting. The recent violations over class sizes and caseloads as well as the continuing problems surrounding meetings are prime examples of why they cannot be trusted. If being a “partner” means looking for loopholes to slither through like some shyster lawyer, then we have to be even more vigilant about not allowing this to happen.

  2. Curious Says:

    Will members get to vote on the final decision of the three proposals?

  3. Savvy Says:

    Not buying it. First of all, won’t we have to teach longer each day to make up for these late starts? Also my controlling boss refused to even follow the contract for our optional workshop days that we have now! She would schedule meetings between grade levels during the teacher controlled half of the day. It took some pushing to get her to simmer down.

    These “late start days” means more time for KSD to tell us which new fandangle idea we need to implement. They’ll tell us they will be evaluating us on it too–or won’t tell us, but do it anyway.

    If we get to vote on this, my answer will be NO WAY, unless teachers can control 4 out of 5 of those days. It’s time for members to show their disgust of being taken advantage of.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      I am hearing that from teachers. Both community meetings (very poorly attended, IMO) had teachers who stood up and said that if the majority of the time (being fair, some said ALL) was not teacher controlled, that would be a deal breaker and that they would not vote for a contract that did not have ironclad language guaranteeing teacher control. I still believe this to be a great idea and I would hate to see it go away because KSD wants to control the time, but I see contention ahead. On the subject of your principal trying to use teacher controlled time, that is a violation and deserves a grievance. Have your rep file it and don’t wait for your principal to simmer down. She has no right to get heated up in the first place. The contract is between KEA and KSD. Both sides signed it. That means thats she agreed to abide by it just as we do. Hold her to that agreement!

  4. Truth Be Told Says:

    Here is the problem with trust. Even after KSD administrators supposedly were told/taught/encouraged to follow the contract, my principal will still try to “get away” with things. She does this, so she can have the “last say”. She’s hoping that our rep will give up and not challenge her violations of the contract. Well, guess what? I spoke with our rep and she is not going to back down! She will keep a watchful eye for violations and take our principal to task. Truly, this is the only way to work with someone who is so recalcitrant. As far as late start days? I heard that in most districts around Kent, their late start days are ALL TEACHER CONTROLLED. 100% That is the only way I will vote YES.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      I doubt that all will be teacher controlled in the end, but I wouldn’t mind giving them, say, one out of every 4. Two out of 4 is too much and all teacher controlled they probably won’t go for. Bargaining team will get out their haggling hats on for this one but let’s make sure that they hear what we need. Your principal needs remedial instruction on how to get along with others. Make sure your Rep is in contact with KEA leadership about her.

      • Truth Be Told Says:

        I don’t know if I would even agree to 3 out of 4 being teacher-controlled. Again, it should be ALL teacher controlled, just to keep in step with the work the district continues to shower upon us anyway. Expectations come to us at our staff meetings as is. Why would the district need even more control? If we want to talk about ed reform, let’s start with a teacher’s workload. Common sense tells us, the more work on your plate without time to finish it all, the less effective you will be. PERIOD!

  5. Science rocks Says:

    I would be very much in support of late starts that are school directed if they are for collaboration within departments or PLCs. I would adore more time to work with my collegues and developing and refining curriculum, aligning to standards, developing HSPE like assessments –
    and who has time to do those things on their own? I want to collaborate.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      And that’s exactly the reason we need those days and we need them to be teacher controlled as much as possible. So much of what we do now requires massive planning and data collection and we simply don’t have time for that. So much has been piled on our plates in the past few years with no time added for planning that the job simply CANNOT BE DONE IN THE TIME ALLOTTED. We must prevail in this request.

      • Curious Says:

        Planning? I get one half hour per day to plan for 8 subjects…..(and they are, but in no special order) Math, reading, math intervention groups, writing, spelling, science, social studies, health! In that half hour, I have to use the restroom (afterall), so that cuts out 2 minutes. Then it takes 3 minutes to commute both ways to drop off students, and then pick them up after rotation.

  6. Weary Says:

    I understand that there are real budget constraints that are preventing teachers from earning higher salaries. But, will the early release days mean we will no longer, even when the economy gets better, be able to receive extra pay for extra duties? If the early release days are used for training and teacher responsibilities, will that be a reason to do away with effective ed money altogether, forever? I know we are probably going to lose it anyway, but what are the chances of getting it back if we now have time to perform those duties during the contracted hours? I know there are many more extra hours of work than free time hours to do the job, but somehow I believe administrators will think the early release days will be enough.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Let me rephrase my comments to Weary. The answer to the first part of your question is that KEA will not bargain away money. That has been a directive for the bargaining team as far back as I know. Also, all districts that I know of have a TRI (Time, Responsibility and Incentive) schedule or schedules that determining pay beyond the state allocation schedule. These are bargained and they can change over time. Ours has gone up in the last two bargains. Could it go down or disappear as you suggest? Ultimately, that depends on how strongly you and the other members feel about it. We have to agree to it if a cut is suggested. Politically, I can’t see KSD even suggesting a pay cut, even in this economy, because they are aware, as all of us should also be, that we are on the bottom of the pile in regard to pay. We still make less than any other district in the Puget Sound area. They really should offer more in the coming contract, for several reasons: 1) Because KSD, despite the economic crisis, is in good shape financially. 2) Because it was promised by Jim Berrios. 3) Because KSD should be ashamed that we are as poorly compensated as we are. Pay cuts? I’d pick up a sign over that.

  7. Steve Says:

    As a point of reference… in Auburn, the District unilaterally implemented a late start schedule this year. At this time, there is nothing in our contract regarding the late start schedule.

    Our schedule includes a one hour late on most Mondays – for a total of 24 or 25 dates depending on whether you are at the elementary or secondary level.

    The format of the meetings is PLC. All discussion is supposed to be focused on the four essential questions with regard to student learning. We then have a very brief one page note taking sheet to account for our meeting. The District has also arranged for participants to get clock hours for this meeting time.

    Contract-wise, the impact of this schedule change is on planning time. Secondary teachers had planning periods shortened on Mondays. At the elementary level, some teachers have no planning on Mondays and two planning periods on another day of the week because of scheduling constraints. And Kindergarten classes have a hodge-podge of coverage as the time in between A.M. and P.M. classes is not enough for lunch and planning on Mondays.

    If I recall correctly, a large part of the battle during the strike was putting a limit on meetings. If this schedule is to be written into the contract, KEA would be wise to make sure this time isn’t added to the list of potential training and/or typical Principal/KSD directed meeting times.

    I also understand that Dr. Vargas has talked about leaving it up to buildings how to use the late start time. While a nice gesture by the Superintendent, that sounds to me like opening a whole new/old can of worms.

    Good luck in negotiations.

    We’ll be watching.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Thanks for the info Steve. Interesting that the Auburn District felt that a unilateral change of that magnitude would be accepted by your members. I will be interested to see the ultimate decisions over that. Please keep us posted. It is vitally important that we know what goes on in our neighboring districts because proposals that “fly” in one district will surely be attempted in others. We’ll be watching you folks down there, too. Good luck.

      • Steve Says:

        ASD has consistently maintained the right to run alternative schedules. The hitch here is that this schedule infringes on contract-guaranteed planning time.

        I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the change was 100% accepted as it also placed new [and far different] requirements on Dept. Chairs., now called Content Team Leaders [as per PLC doctirne].

  8. Teacher Says:

    We must support our union and each other to ensure that we will have our planning time and no added work to our plate. If the idea of an Early Release day once per week or twice per month is shot down in the member vote, I hope the district doesn’t go back to the community and twist this to make it sound as if the teachers did not want to “collaborate”. I have a good memory of how our image was tarnished/tainted during the strike, by a few who chose to frame it negatively. Let not one of us forget!

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