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Teachers want Q Comp at BEA

By Staff | Nov 8, 2010

Donna Drescher

Teachers are ready to give change a try, but now it’s the Blue Earth Area School Board’s turn to weigh in.

BEA teacher Donna Drescher presented a Quality Compensation (Q Comp) proposal to the ISD 2860 school board in a work session Monday, Nov. 1.

BEA licensed staff had already voted 82 percent to continue preparing the Q Comp plan and application. Three of 91 licensed staff abstained, but were still included in the final percentage, listed as a no vote.

“We’ve got our teachers on board,” says Drescher, president of the Blue Earth?Education Association. “Now we’re coming to the district.”

Q Comp is a voluntary program that aims to improve professional development and student achievement. So far, 44 Minnesota school districts haveimplemented or been approved to implement the program.

Revenue of $260 per student is received under Q Comp, with $169 coming from state aid and $91 from a board-approved levy.

If the program is approved for Blue Earth Area for next year, the amount of revenue would be based on the student count as of Oct. 1, which was 1,216.

The Q Comp program must be renewed annually since student counts can change. In terms of salary schedule, a memorandum of understanding would be added to the master contract that is already in place, and alterations would be made.

Under Q Comp, step gains are not automatic. Instead, they are achieved by meeting certain performance indicators. If the board or licensed staff voted to discontinue using Q Comp at any point, instead of renewing it for another year, the salary schedule would revert back to the master contract.

Under Q Comp, licensed staff have access to a stipend after completing state-mandated and locally designed requirements, including?a personal professional goal that measures student achievement in their class, three formative observations by peer coaches or administrators and a site goal that shows student achievement gains connected to the MCA math or reading test scores.

Five components make up the Q Comp law, including a career ladder, job-embedded professional development, observation and feedback, performance pay and an alternative salary schedule.

While the overall requirements of the state must still be met, a district-wide committee gets to design certain aspects of the program to best suit its school district.

“There is a big piece of Q Comp that is about giving teachers choices,” Drescher says.

At the work session, Drescher says she thinks some pieces of Q Comp will end up being mandated on schools within the next several years anyway. If the program is implemented now instead, Blue Earth Area will get to have more say in the way things are run.

“It’s a teacher-driven program,”?Superintendent Dale Brandsoy says. “It’s about time that we do something like that, that we work as a team and get people improving.”

The board will vote at its meeting tonight on whether to continue with the process. If the vote turns out in favor of the program, the next step is to prepare an application and submit it to the Minnesota Department of Education.

Upon approval from the state, the Blue Earth Education Association and the board still need to ratify the memorandum of understanding before anything is finalized.