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Oak Creek-Franklin School District weighs teacher merit pay

April 9, 2014

Oak Creek — A new teacher compensation structure based on performance and instructional effectiveness will roll out in the 2014-15 school year once the Oak Creek-Franklin School Board finalizes salary ranges in future board meetings.

The compensation structure will categorize teachers into four tiers. Each tier reflects a pay range based on that teacher's instructional effectiveness, professionalism, leadership and other descriptors.

The goal was to increase initial educators' starting salary, while shrinking the compensation gap between starting and veteran teachers, with a salary maximum at $80,000. The compensation structure only applies to salary.

"This will give people an opportunity to see that what they do in the classroom will make a difference rather than seniority," said School Board Vice President Paul Mason.

The Board agreed with the new evaluation concept and compensation structure March 24.

OCFSD starting salary has been $41,000 for the past four years. The highest earning teacher salary for 2012-13 was about $95,000. Superintendent Sara Burmeister proposed increasing initial educators' starting salary to $42,000 during the meeting on March 24. The Board will approve that at a later date, Burmeister said.

"We want to stay really competitive and stay a destination district," Mason said.

Teacher performance will be evaluated by the state's Educator Effectiveness model, known as CESA 6.

CESA 6 helped OCFSD create the wording in their teacher evaluation descriptors, like professionalism, leadership and educator effectiveness. Thirty district teachers on the Professional Staff Advisory Council provided input in developing the descriptors.

In addition to rubric standards, the teacher evaluation program will include two student learning objectives and two professional practice goals each year. Building administrators in the state are being trained in the new model.

"It's called 'calibration training.' It's not to ensure that they evaluate properly but rather that scores might be more comparable from one district to another," said Burmeister in an email.

Some teachers expressed concerns during the March 24 meeting that Educator Effectiveness language, like performance consistency, is unclear. They wondered how evaluators would quantify "consistency" for teachers.

Burmeister affirmed that evaluations will consider teachers' full body of work throughout the year. Evaluation methods will be clarified for teachers before the new school year.

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