By ASHLEY AMASON
In 15 minutes, the Walton County School Board breezed through an easy agenda May 3.
The Freeport High School basketball teams will attend camp at Troy University this June. The Walton High School band will take an end-of-year trip to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Ga. May 21.
Advertisements for a public hearing June 21 at 5:15 p.m. for the student progression plan and at 5:30 p.m. for the student code of conduct were unanimously approved.
Coordinator of Facilities Mark Gardner told the board it saved $400,000 on the construction of Emerald Coast Middle School (ECMS) through direct purchasing and sales tax savings. The total cost of the school is $18 million. The ribbon cutting and grand opening for ECMS was held May 10.
A workshop to discuss the redesigned teacher and principal evaluations under Senate Bill 736 will be held May 17 at 4 p.m. The bill was introduced by Senators Don Gaetz, Alan Hays, and Evelyn Lynn as the Student Success Act. The bill, according to www.flsenate.gov, “Revises provisions relating to the evaluation of instructional personnel and school administrators. Requires the Department of Education to approve each school district’s instructional personnel and school administrator evaluation systems. Requires the Commissioner of Education to approve or select and the State Board of Education to adopt formulas for school districts to use in measuring student learning growth. Requires school districts to administer assessments for each course offered in the district.” It was filed Jan. 31, 2011 and approved by Governor Rick Scott Mar. 24.
According to district Human Resources Director Sonya Alford, “[The] teachers’ and administrators’ evaluation is going to have to be tied to students’ achievement, and it’s a 50/50 breakdown. One half of the evaluation is performed by the teacher’s or administrator’s superior. For the other 50 percent the state is developing a student growth model to be released June 1, 2011 [that will determine the methods for evaluation based on student performance and learning gains]. Performance pay for teachers is not tied to this until 2013-‘14 school year by law. Teachers will receive evaluations using the new teacher evaluation process beginning in the 2011-‘12 school year, so for two years they will have some idea of what their evaluation looks like using the new model, but the performance pay associated does not go into effect until 2013-‘14.”
The performance pay model uses four rating scales: unsatisfactory, needs improvement, effective, and highly effective. Teachers and administrators who receive unsatisfactory or needs improvement ratings will receive their base salary according to the district’s pay scale. Teachers and administrators who receive a rating of effective or highly effective are awarded additional pay which becomes part of their salary. The amount awarded for a highly effective rating has to be greater than the amount given for any step on the pay scale, which in the district is $3,000, whereas an effective rating award has to be greater than 50 percent but no more than 75 percent of the highly effective award. “It truly ties the performance of those students and teachers to the performance pay…it’s a motivation,” Alford said.
Board member Dennis Wallace said in closing comments he visited Freeport Middle and High Schools and Walton Academy. “I continue to be impressed. Walton Academy is really filling a need; everywhere I’ve been it’s been a favorable impression.”