Grading Contract, Sem 2, 00, TAT Team and Site : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Donna Frederickson UMD Cohort, Int'l Falls Grading Contract for "A", Sem. 2, 99-00

Membership on School Committees, TAT and Site

TAT Team:

The Teacher Assistance Team, TAT, meets on call when a teacher in the school submits a student's name to the committee. That student is displaying problems in the classroom setting. The problems can be of a wide nature, such as behavior, problems staying on task, reading and comprehension tasks are not in line with oral ability, performance problems, comprehension problems, and so forth. The teacher is concerned about the student's performance and submits the name to the committee and the committee sends a standard questionnaire form to all of the student's teachers. The committee then meets to review the questionnaires, study the file, and discuss findings and options with the counselor, LD personnel, and principal. The parents are then notified if testing is recommended or other action should be considered.

The TAT committee reviewed seven students this past year. One of the students was in special services in the past in another school district when we read the file, so we recommended that the student be placed on services again. One student exceeded the school's absence limit while being reviewed, so the student transferred to another school. One student was recommended for testing plus the parents had testing done and the result was for EBD services. The rest of the students were recommended for testing and a parental conference meeting with teachers, counselor, principal and school special learning service personnel.

Site Committee:

The Site Committee meets every Tuesday morning to discuss the school business. The schools in Minnesota are to be operating with a Site committee to discuss and aid in the decision making. Our school personnel are divided into nine departments, so each department elects a department chair for a two-year term and that chair serves on the Site team for two years. Besides the department chairs, the principal, dean of students and two parent volunteers serve on the Site Committee. The committee reviews budget needs and budget allotments, staff development requests and funds, school handbook policy, building rules, attendance rules, behavior codes, dress codes, parent-teacher conferences, staff conferences, education plans, school plans for betterment, class offering book, class requests and many other items.

The past two years we spent a great deal of time studying how we could change the school periods to make them better for students and teachers. We observed other schools and researched other schools via the web and written material. We proposed a seven hour day with a period being 48 minutes and a twenty minute mentoring period built in. However, when the teaching staff voted was on the proposal, the proposal was defeated. This was the most discouraging part of being a member of the committee this year. We were all confused after that. We talked about it to our departments, had staff meetings, answered questions, discussed the schedule with the Committee for Transition (a committee of 6-7 grade teachers and parents), developed a list of pros and cons and presented the plan in what we thought was a positive manner. We did not hear anything too negative until the vote came. This was the lowest point of the year for the committee.

This is my last year of my term on Site; however, it has been my third term on Site. The art teacher is going to be the representative for the next two years.

Committees seem to be the trend lately. Lately, I am confused as to their effectiveness, especially when I review Site. In my view, it seems that those in the high paying positions who are supposed to be making the decisions and are paid for the big decisions will not make any decision unless a "committee" of lesser paid over worked people form a committee, research, and report. The philosophy of input from a committee is ideal. However, from what I have experienced from my Site committee term, the process is slow, a method of "passing the buck", stalling, avoiding a solution and keeps the school board and administration looking good. This bothers me because all of what I read and studied these past two years in the Master Program from UMD has encouraged this method. Discuss and formulate ideas, work toward a goal, build on the ideas and plan implementation; then all will feel great because all had input and were a part of the solution. Why isn't it working on the Site committee? Many times when Site found a solution, a road-block appeared from somewhere. The TAT committee is the only committee that I felt worked the way a committee in theory should. We discussed and built solutions. There was a sense of accomplishment. Site just seems to spin its wheels. The Site committee is having a difficult time finding teachers from all departments who are willing to make the commitment to the process and agree to be the chair and department representative for two years. This is the first year that members of Site can bank time for their attendance at Site meetings before or after school, so maybe that will be an incentive for some to commit. Time will tell.

-- Anonymous, April 30, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ