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Dare school board passes teacher contract policy

A new teacher contract policy is now in place for Dare County Schools.

On March 13, Dare’s Board of Education unanimously adopted Policy 7410 Teacher Contracts and associated revised Policy 7504 Extracurricular and Non-Instructional Duties on first reading.

Dare Schools Superintendent John Farrelly will present both policies to teaching faculty this spring.

A month ago, Dare’s school board met to consider options available in crafting a Teacher Contract policy as required by General Assembly action.

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly eliminated tenure or career status for teachers. Teachers with tenure as of Aug. 1, 2013 retained that status.

For five years, one-year contracts have been issued to teachers without tenure in all North Carolina districts.

Beginning July 1, 2018, one, two or four year contracts can be offered by a school district to a teacher. The superintendent makes recommendations to the Board of Education about what contracts are offered to teachers.

In the Dare policy, probation for new teachers lasts three years. At the end of that period, a teacher can be offered a two-year contract as long as that teacher meets the following criteria:

– received a rating of at least “proficient” on all standards in the two most recent annual evaluations;

– is not monitored or on directed growth plan, mandatory improvement plan or corrective action plan currently and has not been on any such plan at any time during the current or previous school year;

– has not received during the current or previous school year, a demotion, a suspension without pay, or reprimand, warning or other disciplinary action that is documented in the teacher’s official personnel file;

– does not have other relevant performance or conduct information in his or her personnel file that would support a decision to disqualify the teacher from a multi-year contract.

After a teacher has completed five years in the employment of Dare County School, a four-year contract may be offered, if the teacher meets the above criteria, receives an “accomplished” rating on a majority of the standards on the evaluation instrument in the most recent annual evaluation, and meets one of the following qualifications:

– be licensed in an area in which the school system is experiencing difficulty recruiting qualified applicants or that is otherwise in high demand, as determined by the superintendent or designee;

– be licensed in multiple areas;

– be National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certified;

– have earned a master’s degree or higher in an area deemed relevant to the teacher’s professional role by the superintendent or designee;

– is serving in an advanced leadership role, such as mentor teacher, department chair, grade-level chair, or school improvement team member; or

– be currently performing extra-duty services as described in Policy 7504, Extracurricular and Non-Instructional Duties, such as serving as a coach or faculty sponsor for a student extracurricular club.

The board adopted a revised Policy 7504. Some 20 teachers and administrators helped identify K-12 extracurricular and non-instructional duties.

The policy spells out responsibilities of teachers and administrators in assigning extra duty, provides for exemptions and exceptions for compelling need waivers by board, superintendent and principal.

New to the policy is the following list of 17 non-instructional duties: mentors, coaches, lead teaches, club and class sponsors, tutoring outside of regular school hours, student government organization sponsor, department and grade level chairs, crisis team members, professional learning community leaders, school improvement team members, committee leads, student assistance team members, translators, athletics duties, parking and bus monitors, school social media and publications leads, and academic competitions.

In additional action, the Dare school board approved on first reading the following:

– revised Policy 2130 Board Member Compensation and Expenses. Revisions define official school business as board of education meetings, board committee meetings and school district events. Mileage for two informal visits per mnth will be reimbursed. The policy states “School system funds are not to be used to pay excess costs or additional expenses that are for the convenience or personal preference of a board member or to pay expenses incurred by family members or other guests of a board members.”

All expense reimbursements requests must be submitted within 30 days, include event details and be reviewed, approved and signed by the board chairman.

– revised Policy 9300 Naming New Facilities. Recommendations or requests for naming a facility from school and community groups and individuals will be considered. Current board members are not eligible to make nominations. Three criteria are laid out for identifying potential names: extraordinary long-term service to the school system as a staff member, coach, board of education members or volunteer with a minimum of 20 years of service and not active; honored due to significant financial contribution or donation of personal property which has a useful life of more than 10 years, significant financial value and direct impact on student success; meritorious contributions to the school system.

The board considered on first reading revisions to Policy 7130 Licensure as well as revisions to Regulations 7130-R to reflect changes by the State Board of Education.

Serving on the Board of Education Policy Committee are Board Chairman Bea Basnight, Vice Chairman Margaret Lawler and member Mary Ellon Ballance.

The board received a presentation from Sandy Kinzel, Executive Director of Elementary Education, regarding a digital learning plan. Under a grant, 17 teachers were selected as innovative classroom model teachers. Some 33 teachers applied for the program. Teachers throughout the district will sign up to visit the classrooms of the selected teachers.

In the consent agenda, the board approved the budget for Government Education Access Channels for Fiscal Year 2019. A bevy of budget amendments dealt with state public school and federal funds as well as projects completed in the capital outlay fund.

At this meeting, board member Joe Tauber was not present.