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ADSA HOLIDAY GATHERING!

Posted by waddelk on December 19, 2016 in Class News |

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Tonight, Monday, December 19, 2016

5:00 pm ADSA meeting

5:40 pm Dinner

La Pita in Dearborn

Meal includes:

Fattouch Salad

Hommous and Baba Ghannouge

Herb Roasted Potatoes and Almond Rice

Halal Shish Kabob

Portebello Mushroom Sautee with Chicken

Soft Drinks, Coffee, Tea

Cash Bar

Hope to see you there!

 

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Wayne County Regional Enhancement Education Millage Proposal

Posted by webmaster on November 6, 2016 in Class News |

 

School districts in Wayne County have placed a proposal on the November 8th ballot to provide added funding for our schools. It is the “Regional Enhancement Millage Proposal.”

If approved by the entire county, the 2 mil proposal will generate approximately $6.2 million from Dearborn but the District will receive $7.8 million in additional funding for our schools.  Money would go to local schools starting this year and the millage expires after six years.  Read more…

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Wayne County Regional Enhancement Education Millage Proposal

Posted by webmaster on November 6, 2016 in Class News |

 

School districts in Wayne County have placed a proposal on the November 8th ballot to provide added funding for our schools. It is the “Regional Enhancement Millage Proposal.”

If approved by the entire county, the 2 mil proposal will generate approximately $6.2 million from Dearborn but the District will receive $7.8 million in additional funding for our schools.  Money would go to local schools starting this year and the millage expires after six years.  Read more…

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MEMSPA Legislative Update

Posted by waddelk on October 17, 2016 in Class News |

Public Employee Pensions, Other Post-Employee Retirement Benefits, and New Hire MPSERS Updates

Last week’s announcement by Amway President Doug DeVos that the West Michigan Policy Forum has made restructuring public employee pensions and other post-employment retirement benefits (OPEB) their number one legislative priority has caused significant concern in school districts and local governments throughout Michigan. Special interest groups such as the Mackinac Center for Public Policy have also ramped up media and grassroots activity urging legislative action on the issue during the upcoming lame duck session of the Legislature.

MEMSPA’s lobbying team is closely monitoring discussions surrounding these issues in Lansing. It is important to remember that policymakers have not yet put forth any new concrete proposals for pension and/or OPEB reform, though it is readily apparent that such efforts are forthcoming in the near future.

Two bills have been introduced in the current legislative session to close MPSERS to new hires and place all new school employees in 401(k)-type Defined Contribution (DC) plans: House Bill 5218, sponsored by Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw), and Senate Bill 102, sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair). Neither has seen any action to date. However, given that some legislators and special interest groups continue to advocate for closing MPSERS and forcing all new hires into more-costly DC plans, following are some important points to keep in mind:

 Closing the MPSERS Hybrid Plan to new hires would cost the K-12 budget more than $2 billion over the next four years, and over $600 million next year alone. To date, proponents of closing the MPSERS Hybrid Plan have refused to acknowledge how to pay for these transition costs.

 One false narrative commonly cited by proponents of closing MPSERS is a need to do so in order to reduce existing Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL). It is important to remember that simply closing the system to new hires does not reduce existing UAL debt by one penny. Rather, such action could actually increase strain on the K-12 budget, due to the need to accelerate funding for transition costs to ensure promised benefits can be paid now and well into the future.

 Governor Snyder and the Michigan Legislature enacted significant reforms in 2012 that eliminated nearly $16 billion in long-term MPSERS debt and placed the system on solid financial footing going forward. The Legislature should allow these reforms continue to work, and consider reasonable discussion of pension or OPEB reforms next year, rather than in the upcoming lame duck session.

MEMSPA encourages members to reach out to legislators and candidates as Election Day approaches and ask their thoughts on this very important issue that affects not only the ability of schools to attract and retain quality school personnel, but that could also significantly reduce dollars available to be utilized in the classroom.

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Notice for AOL Email Accounts

Posted by webmaster on October 13, 2016 in Class News |

Dear Parents,

If you are an AOL email user, please be aware that you may not receive email notifications due to AOL policies. We are working to resolve this issue with AOL.

Thank you for your patience while we work with AOL to make sure you get classroom notifications from your teacher.

Sincerely,

Technology Department

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MEMSPA Legislative Update

Posted by waddelk on June 20, 2016 in Class News |

With the Legislature in Recess, What is Left Undone for the Year?

With the Legislature in recess for most of the summer, Lansing should be relatively quiet as focus will shift to the upcoming November election. A number of education-related bills still await further action before the end of the current two-year legislative session in December. With seven or eight weeks of legislative session days remaining this year and only two tentative session days on the schedule until September, the scope of issues the Legislature may yet choose to consider will begin to narrow. Following is a recap of legislative issues of importance to MEMSPA that may yet see action this year:

3rd Grade Reading
Representative Amanda Price’s 3rd grade reading legislation, House Bill 4822, continues to await action before a joint House-Senate Conference Committee, given substantially different versions of the legislation passed out of each chamber. At this point in time, the Senate appears reluctant to accept the more stringent House-passed provisions requiring retention of 3rd graders not reading proficiently at grade level. Unless both sides are able to come to an agreement this fall, the legislation will continue to languish before the conference committee. MEMSPA supports the increased focus on early literacy and early intervention in the bills, but does not support the mandatory retention provisions in the House-passed bill.

Mentoring/Professional Development/Continuing Education Reforms
House Bills 5156-5159, which would enact reforms to mentoring, professional development, and continuing education, passed the House in March but have not yet seen any action in the Senate Education Committee. MEMSPA generally supports the compromise reforms in the package, but we do not support House Bill 5159, which would take away 5% of a district’s state aid if the district was found to be in noncompliance with the reforms. It is our understanding that the legislation is not a high priority in the Senate, so we likely will know by September or October whether these reforms ultimately will be enacted this year.

GSRP
The House Education Committee held a hearing recently to take testimony from MDE with respect to GSRP. Committee members from both sides of the aisle asked pointed questions of the Department with respect to how MDE measures and evauates the success of GSRP, and whether newer, updated, and innovative approaches to GSRP curriculum should be considered in order to continue to move the needle with respect to kindergarten readiness. MEMSPA believes GSRP has provided tremendous benefits to students in Michigan since inception of the program, but that we must also continuously evaluate whether we can do even better. We look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the Legislature and MDE to ensure children in GSRP have opportunities to succeed.

Assessment Update
State Superintendent Brian Whiston this week spoke out with respect to changes he may suggest with respect to the state’s testing landscape for the 2017-2018 school year.

First, he would like the state to transition to benchmark assessments in elementary and middle school grades, or grades 3-7, with a writing component in order to provide more rapid feedback for teachers and parents, partially to address complaints about turnaround time on the M-STEP, but also to provide parents with information as to their child’s grade level.

Second, he suggested that M-STEP or an “M-STEP-style test” with a problem-solving component be taken once each in elementary and middle school to further reduce testing time. Whiston noted that most districts currently give a benchmark assessment and M-STEP, and under his proposal, districts would only need to give one.

The Department may go out to bid this fall for a vendor to provide the benchmark test. Whiston also indicated his willingness to push back on what the federal government may or may not allow under ESSA, noting that instead of worrying about what the federal government may or may not approve, he would rather focus on reducing testing time and doing what is best for kids in Michigan.

Evaluations
The Legislature did not include additional funding for teacher evaluations in next year’s budget, beyond what funding remains available at MDE from prior appropriations. However, as we are in the middle of implementation of the new teacher and administrator framework passed by the Legislature earlier this session, it may be helpful to remember a few key changes coming this fall as noted below.

For the upcoming 2016-2017 school year, 25% of an annual year-end teacher evaluation will continue to be based on student growth and assessment data. That percentage will not increase until 2018-2019. However, beginning this fall, the portion of a teacher’s annual year-end evaluation not based on student growth and assessment data must based primarily on a teacher’s performance measured by a district or PSA’s chosen evaluation tool. Additionally, beginning this fall, a school administrator responsible for a teacher’s performance evaluation must conduct at least one classroom observation, while additional observations may be conducted by other observers trained in the use of the chosen evaluation tool. The school district or PSA must ensure that the teacher is provided feedback from the observation within 30 days.

Additionally, beginning this fall, school districts and PSAs must provide training to teachers, evaluators, and observers on the evaluation tool or tools used, with posting requirements on the district’s or PSA’s website of information pertinent to the chosen evaluation system.

As the implementation of the new teacher and administrator evaluation legislation continues to be phased-in, we certainly expect questions and concerns from MEMSPA members, and encourage you to share feedback from the field.
Peer-Mediation and Restorative Practices Training
From our friends at the Oakland Mediation Center

Peer Mediation Funding Opportunity: Schools in Oakland County will receive comprehensive training and consultation from Oakland Mediation Center to implement Peers Making Peace, a peer mediation program. This has been made possible with funding from the Joshua & Eunice Stone Foundation, The Village Club Foundation, Staples Foundation, and Oakland Mediation Center’s Fund Development Committee. The selected schools are responsible for only contributing $500 each which saves the school over $3,500! Peers Making Peace is an evidence based peer mediation program. The application deadline is 6/30/16. More information about Peers Making Peace is outlined in the attached application. OMC is also happy to speak with the school’s leadership team about the program. Please contact Kenzi Bisbing, OMC’s Education Manager, at kbisbing@mediation-omc.org or 248-338-4280 Ext. 216 to arrange a meeting.

Training on Restorative Practices: Given the pending legislation on restorative practices, this training is ideal! “Restorative Practitioner: principles, skills, and processes” is a 3-day highly interactive training that equips school personnel with the necessary skills to build community through the circle process and to facilitate the conferencing process to repair harm. Training Dates: August 24, 25, 26, 2016 from 8:15am to 4:15pm. Please see the attached flyer and the following link for more information. http://www.mediation-omc.org/Restorative_Practitioner.html

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Posted by waddelk on May 9, 2016 in Class News |

DPS Update

The House of Representatives passed its own package of DPS reforms last week after a marathon 15 hour session that culminated in a series of votes that concluded around 4:00 Thursday morning.

The House package, passed along party lines with Republicans in favor and Democrats teaming with a handful of Republicans in opposition, differs significantly from the bipartisan DPS reform package passed a few weeks earlier by the Senate. The House plan provides $500 million to resolve DPS debt and provide startup funding for a new Detroit Community School District (DCSD), while the Senate plan provided $715 million. Additionally, the House plan does not transfer collective bargaining contracts to the new district and does not include the Detroit Education Commission (DEC) proposed by the Governor and the Senate to bring order to the current chaotic structure of traditional and charter schools throughout the city. The House plan allows hiring of non-certified teachers and will require merit pay for teachers going forward, in addition to requiring principals to reapply for their jobs with the new district. Finally, the House plan pays for the transition to the new district with General Fund revenue, which is somewhat of a concern given the Senate plan utilizes restricted funding from the state tobacco settlement.

The Senate has not indicated a desire to adopt the House reforms, so legislative leaders in each chamber will need to resolve differences before the Legislature adjourns for the summer in mid-June.

K-12 Budgets On the Way to Conference, Revenue Estimating Conference Announced

The Senate and House have passed their respective budgets, and next week will likely send the budgets into conference committees for action after budget targets are set following the May Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference on May 17. Shortly thereafter, legislative leaders will work with the Governor’s Office to determine final levels of funding available for both the upcoming fiscal year and to resolve the current fiscal year, and conference committees will report out final budgets for all areas in state government. The Legislature is on target to finish budget work before they adjourn in mid-June.

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MEMPSA Legislative Update

Posted by waddelk on May 2, 2016 in Class News |

House K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee and House Education Committee Hold Joint Hearing on Future of M-STEP

As previously reported, the House Appropriations Committee followed the recommendation of the House K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee to eliminate funding for both the M-STEP and SAT in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2016-2017 K-12 budget. Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw), Chair of the Subcommittee, noted this week that he took that funding out of his budget proposal in order to generate a conversation over whether M-STEP should remain or be replaced.

The House Education Committee and the House K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee held a joint hearing on the issue this week, and took testimony from State Superintendent Brian Whiston as well as from representatives of NWEA. Whiston did not indicate support for scrapping M-STEP, noting that changing any assessment takes time, and recommended maintaining the test for the upcoming fiscal year. Whiston did indicate a willingness to consider a new assessment for the 2017-2018 school year, but indicated concerns with continuously changing the assessment every few years, creating confusion for parents and students by continuously moving the goalposts for educators at the local level.

While NWEA has received mention as a potential replacement for the M-STEP, legislators on the committees, including House Education Committee Chair Amanda Price (R-Park Twp.), voiced concerns that NWEA may not be appropriate to replace M-STEP as NWEA does not currently have a summative test available that meets Michigan guidelines and is not necessarily an appropriate replacement for the M-STEP.

When the K-12 budget is finalized for the upcoming school year, it is highly unlikely that the House proposal to cut funding for M-STEP will survive at the end of the day. However, we expect rigorous discussion to continue with respect to what the future of summative and interim testing will look like in Michigan both in the short- and long-term.
Balanced Calendar Update

The House of Representatives this week prepared House Bills 5193 and 5194, both sponsored by Rep. Daniela Garcia (R-Holland), for final passage. However, the votes are not yet there on the floor to hold a vote, and heavy lobbying continues to occur behind the scenes with respect to HB 5193 both by school groups in favor of the package as well as by tourism and hospitality industry lobbies in opposition. HB 5193 will expand the balanced calendar waiver process, while HB 5194 would remove the school calendar as a prohibited subject of collective bargaining.

We support Rep. Garcia’s efforts to allow schools the flexibility at the local level to utilize innovative strategies to stem summer learning loss and ensure academic success, and encourage MEMSPA members to weigh in with their personal thoughts and experiences surrounding this issue as well.

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Hold the Date…

Posted by waddelk on April 8, 2016 in Class News |

Hold the date

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MEMPSA Legislative Update

Posted by waddelk on March 31, 2016 in Class News |

DPS Update

The Senate and House this week sent legislation to the Governor that would ensure the solvency of DPS through the end of the school year. House Bill 5296 would utilize $48.7 million from the state tobacco settlement in order to avoid DPS potentially falling short of making payroll as early as April 8. Companion legislation, HB 5385, would stipulate that the Financial Review Commission, currently responsible for oversight of City of Detroit finances as it continues to emerge from bankruptcy, would also oversee DPS finances unless an emergency manager is in place to do so.

The Senate also passed a comprehensive package of DPS reforms authored by Sen. Goeff Hansen (R-Hart) that would do the following:

Create a new debt-free Detroit Community Schools (DCS) district,
Resolve $525 million in DPS debt by utilizing tobacco settlement dollars,
Create a Detroit Education Commission (DEC) charged with oversight of opening and closing of schools within DCS,
Return EAA schools to DCS,
Return local control of the DCS as soon as this coming November, and
Create academic reforms within DCS such as an A-F letter grading system for all schools.

The legislation passed the Senate in a bipartisan fashion, but has been meet with a chilly reception in the House, largely due to the inclusion of the DEC.

The Senate package is the first step in the process of reforming DPS, and we look forward to what likely will be lively debate on the topic when the Legislature returns from spring recess in mid-April. Senator Hansen certainly deserves credit for all of his thoughtful, hard work over the past year creating a package that could win bipartisan support.
HB 4822

The 3rd grade reading bill is headed to a joint House-Senate conference committee to iron out differences after the House failed to come up with the necessary votes yesterday to concur in the changes proposed by the Senate.

Thank you to everyone who took time to weigh in with your State Senator in support of the bill with the changes included by the Senate Education Committee. MEMSPA will keep members updated as the process unfolds. We expect action on the legislation before the summer legislative recess.
K-12 Budget Released by House and Senate Subcommittees

The House and Senate K-12 subcommittees both released their respective proposals this week for the FY 2016-2017 K-12 budget. Both maintained the $60/$120 foundation allowance increase utilizing the “2x” formula. However, a number of changes of interest to MEMSPA were included in each. Below is a summary of some of those changes:

House:

Revises the pupil membership blend from 90% of the fall count plus 10% of the prior February count to 85% of the current October count plus 15% of the previous October count, and includes $13.5 million to fund the change.
Eliminates $5 million in supplemental funding for CEO salaries in the State School Reform/Redesign Office.
Increases “at-Risk” funding by $18 million to allow both Hold Harmless and Out-of-Formula districts to be eligible if more than 50% of their prior year membership pupils were eligible for free lunch.
Eliminates the M-STEP and instead allocates funding for a new replacement computer adaptive test.
Eliminated a proposed additional $10 million for educator evaluations.
Ends requirement that high schoolers take the SAT.

Senate:

Revises the pupil membership blend from 90% of the fall count plus 10% of the prior February count to 75% of the October count plus 25% of the prior February count, and includes $1.3 million to fund the change.
Also eliminates $5 million in supplemental funding to the State School Reform/Redesign Office.
Requires the State to provide the Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA) to districts who are interested in using it, and requires the MDE to field test a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment.

It is important to remember that both proposals are just the first step in the process, but also that the proposals reflect the priorities of the respective K-12 budget chairs.
State Board Asked for Guidance on Assisting Schools with Transgender Students

In response to questions and concerns, the State Board of Education wants to provide clarification regarding a Draft Guidance document on
Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students that currently is out for public comment.

1. A number of school districts asked the State Board of Education for guidance on how to address circumstances where transgender students and their parents express how the students were being marginalized, excluded, and discriminated against.
2. A work group was formed by the State Board to develop a Guidance document for local school districts. This work group consisted of parents, teachers, students, administrators, social workers, psychologists, local school board members, attorneys, and other stakeholders.
3. Draft Guidance was developed by this work group for the State Board to consider adopting, to provide assistance to local school districts that may be faced with these circumstances. This Guidance would not be required to be adopted by any local school district, it merely offers options for districts to consider, if they so choose.

4. As with all State Board of Education guidance, this would not be mandatory for local school districts to adopt. Local school districts each would decide to do what they believe is appropriate and helpful for all of their students.

5. The Draft Guidance was presented at a public meeting of the State Board of Education on March 8. That Draft Guidance now is open for public comment. Each member of the Legislature was sent notice on March 17 of this public comment opportunity, with a link to the Draft Guidance document.

6. The State Board welcomes public input as it will continue to deliberate on providing guidance and assistance for school districts wanting to ensure the safety and inclusion of all of its students.

Persons wanting to provide their input on the Draft Guidance can do so through April 11 at: www.everyvoicecountsmi.org

The Draft Guidance document is available here: http://everyvoicecountsmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/SBE-Statement-on-LGBTQ-Youth-2-9-2016-v2.pdf

 

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