Joint HTA and HPS Statement

Joint HTA and HPS Statement

The Holyoke Public Schools and the Holyoke Teachers Association want to wish our staff and their families a happy holiday season! We appreciate that 2015 has been a year with many changes, including new district leadership and a bold turnaround plan. We applaud your continued professionalism, eagerness to share your input, and above all, your commitment to our students and their families.

It is important that you take time over the holiday break to rest, relax, and recharge. Research suggests that educators should use the holidays to disconnect from work (http://phys.org/news/2015-12-christmas-vital-teacher-psychological- wellbeing.html). As the findings point out, this will help prevent burnout and exhaustion in the long run.

We pledge to work together to ensure that you receive the support, guidance, and direction to deliver on our promises to children. We look forward to 2016 and building a bright future in the Holyoke Public Schools with you.

Holyoke Teachers Association Responds to DLC Report

For immediate release: Dec. 14, 2015
For additional information, contact HTA President Gus Morales, xxx-xxx-xxxx

Holyoke Teachers Association Responds to DLC Report

The Holyoke Teachers Association shares the concerns expressed in the community about the report issued by the Disability Law Center. Our members want to be sure that all students in Holyoke, and specifically those at the Peck School, are provided with a safe and productive learning environment.

As the professionals who directly address the learning and caretaking needs of students in a high-needs educational setting, our members at the Peck School have long raised concerns about systemic problems. Issues include the need for more resources, higher staffing levels, and appropriate student placements.

The HTA stands by the staff at Peck. A lawyer from the Massachusetts Teachers Association attended each of the interviews that the DLC conducted. Based on the attorney’s observations and report to us, the HTA believes that the advocacy group is not portraying an entirely accurate or fair picture.

We look forward to working with the district attorney and will cooperate fully with his office in the days ahead.

NO to PARCC; YES to Moratorium

Send a message to BESE: NO to PARCC, YES to moratorium

MTA’s messages on the destructive impact of high-stakes testing are beginning to get through, but it is crucial to drive them home.

Members are asked to turn up the volume by sending messages right away to members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education before it votes on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The MTA’s message is this: NO to PARCC. NO to MCAS 2.0. YES to a moratorium on high-stakes testing.

Across the country, educators, parents and students are making their voices heard on how high-stakes testing undermines teaching and learning. MTA members need to continue to raise their voices in that chorus.

Please click here to send your e-mails right away. Feel free to elaborate on the message the MTA has developed to describe your own experiences with PARCC and high-stakes testing.

In addition, members are urged to come to the BESE public hearing on the future of testing in Massachusetts. The hearing is Monday, Nov. 16, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Malden High School, 77 Salem St., Malden.

Membership Update Turnaround Plan

Members of the HTA,

Thursday, October 1, the leadership of HTA met with Dr. Zrike in order to discuss the changes that will be taking place as a result of the Turnaround Plan. (http://www.hps.holyoke.ma.us/pdf/receiver/turnaroundplan.pdf)

While there are many issues that we will be facing in the coming year, we would like to take a moment to make sure you are all aware of some of the more pressing matters regarding the Turnaround Plan.

1. Receiver Review

  • Effective immediately, anyone on a Directed Growth or Improvement Plan will be under review. The receiver will establish a process for review that will be shared in advance with each staff member identified for review.

2. Evaluation

  • Effective immediately, the evaluation will more closely reflect DESE model language for evaluations. More specific guidance will be shared next week and staff will be trained on the new model.

3. Grievance Procedure

  • Effective immediately, any grievances that fall within the boundaries as put forth by the Turnaround Plan will be subject to the grievance procedure laid out in the Turnaround Plan.

4. Performance Pay

  • The performance-based salary system will not be implemented until the 2016-2017 school year. For the remainder of this school year, all salary schedules will remain. For clarification, the plan does not call for union staff to reapply for their positions at the end of the school year and any changes in the compensation system next year will not result in a reduction to someone’s pay.

5. Extended Day

  • Any implementation of an extended day will not take place during this school year. The earliest that we will see this implemented is at the outset of the 2016-2017 school year. We will be going from 990 hours of instruction to 1330 hours of instruction.

There are many more things that will surface as we have the time to delve deeper into the document. We will keep you posted as soon as we know anything. We realize that many of you will have questions and we ask that you be patient, as this will be ongoing. Dr. Zrike will be visiting all schools over the next 2 1/2 weeks to answer any questions staff might have about the plan. We will continue to meet with Dr. Zrike and figure out exactly how all of these changes will affect us this year and the following year.

In Solidarity,

HTA Leadership