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Listing PLT options for the 2010-11 school year

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There's now a plan on the table for Wake County schools to still have time for professional learning teams for the 2010-11 school year.

Staff laid out at Tuesday's student achievement committee meeting a list of options that individual schools can pick from to hold the time once Wake Wednesdays/Wacky Wednesdays come to an end next month.

The full school board could sign off on the options Tuesday.

It's possible that some schools might not be able to meet for an hour a week or even weekly this fall. The board may have to amend the policy requiring meeting an hour a week.

High schools would have four possible options.

In option one, high schools could choose to start school a half hour later one day a week. With teachers already contractually required to come in 30 minutes before students arrive, they'd use that time plus the late start for the PLTs.

This option was used at a few high schools before this year. Buses still arrived at the regular time so administrators watched the kids until classes started.

In option two, high schools could have SMART Lunch in which the entire school is slotted to have lunch during a one-hour window. During that window, students can go off campus for lunch or stay on campus to eat and to use the remaining time to work with a teacher.

During the SMART Lunch, time would be slotted for different groups of teachers to hold their PLTs. You couldn't have all teachers meeting at the same time because some would need to be meeting with students.

In option three, teachers could meet before school or afterschool for the PLT time. The tricky thing is that teachers aren't required to come in more than 30 minutes early so you can't mandate they come in any earlier. Teachers can be required to stay after class for as long as needed if it's mandated as part of their instructional duties.

In option four, teachers could meet during common planning times during the school day. Teachers would basically give up their daily 90-minute planning period for one day a week to be in the PLT.

Middle schools would have two options.

In option one, teachers could use common planning periods.

In option two, teachers could meet after the end of the school day.

Elementary schools would have two options.

In option one, schools could create blocks of time, such as scheduling specials together, at the beginning or end of the day. Teachers could combine that time with a slot before classes began or right after they ended to meet in a PLT.

In option two, schools could hold PLTs before or afterschool.

School board member John Tedesco argued that they're giving schools more flexibility without inconveniencing families as had happened this year on Wednesdays with the weekly early dismissals.

Tedesco also argued they're saving money. He said it would have cost another $750,000 to operate even more buses this fall to continue to accommodate the extra 10 minutes a day that had been built in this year to offset the time lost on Wednesdays.

But Jennifer Lanane, president of Wake NCAE, said all they're doing is recommending the options that had been used by schools before this year. She said not all schools had met regularly before this year and fears that will be the case again this fall.

Lanane argued that if the new board majority had backed the PLTs from the start that they could have found the $750,000 to keep the banked time and continue to dismiss school early once a week. She said she would have been willing to accept having teachers meet each Friday, a position she initially opposed.

Click here for the handout from Tuesday's committee meeting, It lists the pros and cons for each option.


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I read and reread the post you are referring to and never could  get how
you came to this conclusion.


It's amazing, two people looking at the same data,

and arrive at two different conclusions.  How is that possible?

i'll tell you.....

It's because Woodstock arrives at the conclusion before he ever looks at any data.

"schools are already at capacity"


Tell that to the ones where tracks have collapsed!  Surprised

Sorry - Lunch room capacity

Sorry - meant to state lunch room capacity.  Have you ever been to a HS lunch room during lunch time ? 


I don't understand your point.  I thought that SMART lunch was only for high schools.  High schools don't have tracks...

Thank you Mr. Tedesco

Great comments once again from Mr. Tedesco. "more flexibility without inconveniencing families as had happened this year on Wednesdays with the weekly early dismissals" So asking teachers to work prior to or beyond their contract is not a problem. I love how the new board majority pleases all of the parents. I understand it is who they represent but they should start to think of what is best for the kids once and a while. What did data show from first semester EOC scores? Some people I spoke with said that scores improved. Perhaps some of that was due to the time put in by the teachers during the PLT time. Now many people are going to say "then teachers should put the time in even if it goes beyond their contract..." I would like to ask those people how they would feel if they were told to put in extra time every week with absolutely now compensation.   Oh yeah, and why was it ok to find $750,000 to run the busses how you wanted to but not alright to benefit the students and the teachers.  Let's think about that.

"I would like to ask those

"I would like to ask those people how they would feel if they were told to put in extra time every week with absolutely now compensation."

What do you mean by extra time? Teachers are professionals who get paid to do a job, not punch a time clock. I don't know about you, but the clock does not dictate when I am done for the day.


Being a teacher is something a bit more than just a "salaried professional"    They are professionals but, as opposed to the standard office professional, they aren't highly paid.  The state sees to it that they don't always get pay raises, either performance or otherwise.   They already work long hours, arriving before 7 at some schools and staying, as articles have alluded, until "the job is done" usually requiring significant unpaid overtime.    They don't often have time to interact with others in their department or school, getting a planning period to pull together a full day of training in a limited time.   A large part of their job is to figure out how to teach/train children for hours each day.   I know I struggle when it is just me training a group for even a few days on end.

The clock already doesn't dictate when they are done for the day, our children do.   But there is a breaking point for everyone and we're not appreciating the bargain they are giving us now, instead pushing for still more.   There comes a point where what we're asking is unfair.

And Isolation

Is a big part of our day.

Especially specialists.  

It seems that many people that have not taught don't get this fact.

Being in charge of 20-35 children a day all by yourself and then working through the planning and paperwork is challenging.  Not to mention trying to use the bathroom.  Paaleeeassse. 

It is necessary to have time to converse with peers. 

There is no time during the school day for this. 





Aren't PLT's supposed help

Aren't PLT's supposed help teachers do their jobs better and more efficiently? It seems like time teachers would be eager put time in to do that.

We aren't making widgets

We aren't making widgets here. It is about sharing methods and processes that enable the teacher to pull the best out of each student. Your comments reveal how little you really know about what is trying to be achieved. 


So it isn't about doing

So it isn't about doing their jobs better or more efficiently?

Did you type that response

Did you type that response under the correct post?  The post you responded to says this:

"It is about sharing methods and processes that enable the teacher to
pull the best out of each student."

That one sentence shows how PLTs help teachers do their jobs better and more efficiently.


Wake Wednesday

I agree with the previous comment by another teacher. My school also used the PLT time to great advantage. It allowed them time to meet without giving up their planning time which would put them further behind. This Wake Wednesday also allowed specialists who might be the only one at the school who teaches a subject to meet with other specialists like themselves once a month to improve instruction. Now, for specialists, there will be NO time for collaborating. Despite ideas that specialists are just there so teachers can have planning, we do teach things like technology, information and research skills, foreign language, art, music and physical fitness--ALL things that contribute to a child's education in the 21st century.
I don't doubt that it was a hardship to parents--many educators are parents- but it was beneficial to their children. Our teams discussed ways to close the achievement gap and differentiate so that ALL children grow.
This unfortunately just deducts more time from teachers who are already burdened with work and constant criticism from the public that we don't do enough for the children.

"but it was beneficial to

"but it was beneficial to their children"

Well said.  Great points!

Wake Wednesday

I know that Wake Wednesday's weren't convenient for parents but I serve on several committees at my school and the teachers and staff found it VERY beneficial and helpful for student achievement.  It's a shame we couldn't find a way for it to work.


I haven't been here in a while, but its nice to see some refreshing voices here on the benefits  PLTs.  The hard reality I've learned from the dialogue is that not every parent cares about every child in our community.  We can debate whether they should or not, but it is the reality-and it makes our work as educators more difficult because-as educators-we are tasked to care for every child in our school community.  


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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.