Dynamic Decision-Making and Problem-Solving

Dynamic Decision-Making and Problem-Solving

ABC Unified – The district and union have a history of collaboration extending more than a decade. This collaborative partnership involves a systemic, district-wide effort involving Business Services, Human Resources, School Services, and Academic Services in making decisions and problem-solving. Collaboration and shared decision-making also occurs at the school-site levels.

Baltimore – With the goal of improving professional practice, increasing student learning, and enhancing career acceleration and opportunities, City Schools and the teachers' union will work together to develop the Baltimore Professional Practices and Student Learning Program (BPPSLP). The contract creates two labor-management committees – the Joint Oversight Committee and the Joint Governing Panel – to develop and facilitate the various components of the contract.

Denver – The district and the union have created a contractual basis for a labor-management partnership. It calls for interest-based bargaining, a process that has been used occasionally in the last decade to negotiate the agreement. The district and the union have negotiated provisions that govern aspects of school turnaround and portfolio management initiatives, and the union has begun operating a teacher-led school created through the district's New Schools Development Initiative. State law provides a way for schools to seek waivers from the teacher contract, board policy, and state law when requested by at least 60 percent of the teachers in the school. This provision has been used to create "Innovation Schools," schools that operate largely outside of the labor agreement regulations on time allocation, transfer, non-probationary status and other board policies.

Douglas County – In an effort to meet its unique student population's needs, DCSD sought and received waivers from the Colorado State Board of Education from current teacher licensure procedures. This precedent-setting decision allowed current DCSD/DCF teachers to teach and train teachers and enable them to be hired for "hard-to-fill" positions such as world language, science, math, special education, career and technical education, and other areas where highly qualified staff are needed to meet 21st century workforce demands. The waivers have allowed the District to establish a streamlined alternative teacher licensure and endorsement program. Waiver teachers must complete identified courses taught by many of the union's Educational Research and Dissemination trainers. The program's success was recognized by the Independence Institute for pioneering specialized alternative teaching paths for Colorado. In addition, the program just won the Colorado Department of Education Commissioner's Choice Award for excellence in educator preparation.

Green Dot – All decisions at the school are to be transparent and made in a collaborative fashion. Union and management have established a shared decision-making framework in which teachers (and parents and students) play a role in shaping administrative, curricular, and extra-curricular decisions. The intention is for the majority of key decisions to be made at the school site.

Helena – The district and the union have a long history of collaboration grounded in the interest-based process, and extended into a model Helena calls "consensus negotiations." The "consensus negotiations" process is ongoing; with the direction and approval of the board, employee groups and administration work together to create solutions to issues of mutual interest. The district and the union developed their model with the support of Bob Chadwick and have used other consultants to help develop their alternative compensation system. The district administration, employee groups, board, and community members participate in "shared governance " structures on both the building and district levels to encourage collaborative decision-making in all aspects of running the schools and the district. The board supports and respects the decisions created through these processes.

Hillsborough County – The district and the union are developing their evaluation and compensation systems with the support of an Intensive Partnership for Effective Teaching Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For many years, the district and union have developed a close working relationship that includes regularly scheduled problem-solving meetings, as well as union representation on all district committees and union input into textbook adoption.

Montgomery County – Each of the three association contracts is developed in a climate of interest-based bargaining and includes provisions, through institutionalized committees, for ongoing discussion in areas of concern. All three associations are represented on district leadership teams, including those that revise the school system's strategic plan and associated annual performance targets, as well as on leadership teams providing input to the development of the operating budget. All union contracts support a commitment to a culture of continuous improvement, mutual respect, and a shared responsibility for employee success and student achievement.

Plattsburgh – Establishes a commitment to shared decision-making at the district level through the Education Policy Council, and at the school level through school improvement teams.

St. Francis – The district has an Education Cabinet, which meets monthly to act as a think tank to advise the superintendent on issues related to program improvements. Three teacher representatives and the union president serve as members of the cabinet. The Student Performance Improvement Program Coordinator acts as the non-voting facilitator for the group.

Winston-Salem – Develops input at the district level through a Teacher Advisory Council and a Parent Advisory Council. Collaboration occurs at the school level through a school improvement team. Board policy emphasizes the district's commitment to site-based decision-making about school plans and budgets.

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Ideas From Other Districts – Establish joint central committees that make interim contract implementation decisions between negotiating rounds, and take full responsibility for the successful implementation of all contractually agreed upon provisions proactively. Establish processes for granting latitude to schools from district policies, including policies established in the labor agreement. Develop timely dispute resolution processes in exchange for fair decisions that bind both parties.