What to include in teacher contract for Special Ed. Teachers

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by rookieABC123, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. rookieABC123

    rookieABC123 Comrade

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    Jan 7, 2013

    Hi all,

    I have been asked to come up with a "wish list" of things I would like to see in our teacher contract since it is up for negotiation soon. Currently there is no language in the contract that is geared towards special education teachers because the intermediate units previously ran all of our special ed. rooms.

    So, what is in your contract? I know two things that I can think of are time off to write IEPs, and being compensated when we are at IEP meetings that run past school hours. There have been times that I have been after school in an IEP meeting until 5:30.

    Please be specific as you can. I know most get 2-3 days off per year just for IEP's.

    Thank you in advance for your help!!!!
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 8, 2013

    It's interesting to me that Special Ed teachers would have a different contract; all teaching staff here, regardless of assignment, have identical contracts.
     
  4. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    If that's the case, Gen Ed. teachers should get 2-3 days off per year for grading, inserting grades online, prepping for classroom projects, etc.

    In my district, your contract would get laughed at.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Same here on all counts.
     
  6. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jan 12, 2013

    Wow, how rude.

    Nowhere did the poster say Special Ed teachers got a SEPARATE contract. She said what language should be GEARED towards Special Ed teachers within "our" general contract. Also, nobody implied Special ed teachers did any more work. We also grade, insert grades online, and prep class projects....so I have no idea why that time off would only apply to Gen Ed teachers. :rolleyes: There are some very real issues that only apply to Special Ed and I'm glad districts are considering this.

    Anyway, our new contract has the following language for Special Ed:

    • Special Ed teachers will be paid for IEP meetings outside contract hours, including missed preps.
    • Special Ed classrooms must not be clustered together and must be of comparable quality to Gen Ed classrooms. (AKA you can't put SPED kids in a closet anymore. Or in a trailer out back.)
    • Special Ed teachers will not be required to do unassigned duties outside of Special Ed. (like recess monitoring, morning duty, etc.)
    • Special Ed teachers will have a district web site with resources specifically for Special Ed.
    • $500,000 grant will be applied towards caseload reduction and assuring Special Ed teachers are in legal compliance with their numbers.
    • All clinicians will be provided a proper workspace with something that locks.
    • All clinicians and Special Ed teachers will be provided testing/diagnostic materials in a timely manner. Materials will be re-filled as needed.
    • Paraprofessionals will be provided direct professional decelopment on working with students who have Autism.
    • Administrators are "encouraged" to use substitutes for teachers who need time writing IEPs.
    • Substitutes in Special Ed must have at least 8 credit hours of Special Ed background.

    We did not technically win on getting subs to write IEPs. Notice it says "encouraged" not "required." Some principals have said no to this. Luckily, mine said to take what I need and let her know when I want time to do them. I have not had to utilize this offer yet. It's actually easier for me to just do them at home. But if I ever had like 6 in a month, I would definitely take the time!
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2013

    Didn't mean to be rude, FourSquare, sorry you were offended. Here, all teachers within a school district work have exactly the same contract.
     
  8. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Jan 12, 2013

    I co-teach math and language arts, so I do all of the tasks listed above in addition to being responsible for writing 22 IEPs this year.

    The only item that I'm aware of in our contract geared toward special education teachers is that we can have up to 3 release days to write IEPs.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jan 12, 2013

    This worries me because each job within a school has unique needs and requirements. Maybe each position should have language geared toward those?
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2013

    Was your contract passed? My district has the same contract for all facuity, but different job descriptions.
     
  11. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Yes our contract was passed.

    We have the same general contract, but there are special "sections" of the contract for many different disciplines which include special education teachers, librarians, elementary school teachers, clinicians, counselors, nurses, assistants, drivers Ed, etc.

    We don't have enough subs in the district period at the moment, so I doubt we have enough certified SPED teachers that are subs, however, I do know there have been a few meetings of retired sped teachers to get them to sign up for subbing, I assume because if this.
     
  12. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Pretty much each "standard" position does. We still don't have our new bound contact, our old one was over 300 pages or something. Small pages mind you, not typical paper size.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2013

    Are you and four square in the same district?
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jan 12, 2013

    What I meant was (and maybe you understood this) that the music teacher should get release time to audition students for various regional and state programs instead of having to do it after school. The librarian should be given release time to set up for the book fair to avoid having to do it over the weekend. The ag teacher should be given release time to prep students for state judging competitions. The eighth grade teacher should be given release time for portfolios. These things are absolutely expected and required, at least at some schools. Every position has these time-consuming demands. Frankly, it doesn't make much sense to me to give these allowances to special education teachers.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2013

    I'm right there with you on this one.
     
  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jan 13, 2013

    I'm not sure where I stand on this issue of allowing SPED teachers more release time than other teachers, as I am well aware that each position does, in fact, have its own time-consuming requirements. However, one thing to keep in mind might be that IEPs are legal documents, over which the district could be sued if they are not written and implemented properly. I'm not sure the same can be said over setting up a book fair, auditioning students, or grading portfolios. For this reason, administrators may be more concerned with their special ed teachers' duties than with those of other teachers - whether it is fair or not.

    For the record, I am a SPED teacher, and my contract is exactly like every other teacher's in the district. I spend hours upon hours in the evenings and on weekends writing IEPs, creating data collection sheets, creating and revising para schedules, and preparing state alternate assessment portfolios, in addition to those duties that all teachers have: writing lesson plans and preparing materials for those lessons. I guess it just comes with the job, which I absolutely love. Better go get started on all that stuff now....
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jan 13, 2013

    Yes, as you said, it comes with the job. We each accepted our positions understanding, at least in part, that there would be A, B, and C to accomplish and manage. I knew when I accepted my new position that I would find myself at school regularly on the weekends, especially this first year, and that I would be responsible for several after school activities at which you'll find no other teachers. I asked for it. But I'd take some release time if offered. :)
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    There are advantages and challenges to each of our positions. I might not have to spend hours and hours writing IEPs, but I do have 150 students, which most special ed teachers don't have. Last year I had almost 250 students! I could most definitely have used a few days during the year just for grading and planning. Besides that, I have an extra-curricular activity that goes with the subject I teach. I have to stay late every week for meetings, drive across town for meetings, and spend several Friday nights and Saturdays (all day) at club events. I do it because I like it and because it's part of the job I agreed to do. It's always a trade-off. I don't like it when people start to act like what they do is so much harder/time-consuming/more valuable than what others do that they need special treatment.
     
  19. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    My point wasn't to say that SPED teachers have it harder or that we need special treatment. In fact, I was a gen. ed. teacher before I became a special ed. teacher. So I know from experience that each job has it's own unique time-consuming duties, which I said in my previous post. My point was only to offer a possible explanation for why administrators may be more concerned with special ed. teachers' duties, and that was the fact IEPs are legally binding documents that could lead to due process hearings if not written and implemented correctly. I believe that we all have tough jobs and think that, in general, we understand that each of us have responsibilities unique to our specific positions. It's really the general public that needs to be educated on the time-consuming duties we all have.
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    My gradebook and attendance records are also legally-binding documents.
     
  21. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Isn't my contract legally binding as well?

    I'm not trying to be a pain. I just clearly have some opinions on the topic. ;)
     
  22. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Agreed. It would contribute to a better, more fulfilling school experience overall. Unfortunately, with the state of education nowadays, I doubt that type of contract would be agreed upon by all parties :(
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :thumb:
    Negotiations are tough...laying out SO MANY requirements for sped alone could be an issue when on the table with across the board raises, work conditions,benefits...good for those of you who are able to negotiate successfully for what you need.
     
  24. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I think that maybe my comment was misunderstood. Please believe me when I say I'm not disagreeing with what any of you are saying. I don't think that SPED teachers should have more release time than any other teacher. I can't count the number of times I've said to myself and others, "Well, I could get out of SPED and back into gen. ed. to avoid all of this legal paperwork, but then I'd just have all that grading to do. So it'll pretty much even out."

    I was merely pointing out something to consider that makes the SPED paperwork I do now slightly different than other responsibilities that I have had as a gen. ed. teacher before. Maybe this is not everyone's experience, but it certainly is mine. It's scary being told that you could lose your job and/or be put on an improvement plan simply because you accidentally checked the wrong box. I apologize for offending anyone.
     
  25. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Well, we had to have a 2 week strike over it. But we won. Baby steps. Like turtle said, there are several sections that apply to other kinds of positions. Example: There's a clause for only Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers to get extra paid time for Kindergarten registration and cumulative files. There's another $225,000 marked just for PE teachers and supplies. Also, high school teachers get seven duty-free preps every week and 50 minutes of lunch. I only get 4 preps and 45 minutes of lunch....but I get it. I am not mad at my colleagues. I fought hard for what they need and they fought hard for what we needed in SPED.


    czacza:

    Special Ed teachers will be paid for IEP meetings outside contract hours, including missed preps.Outside contract hour compensation should apply to all teachers. Preps can be used for meetings in my district. It does. But it is specifically restated for Special Ed under the Special Ed section.

    Special Ed teachers will not be required to do unassigned duties outside of Special Ed. (like recess monitoring, morning duty, etc.) Just curious, why? Principals were targeting SPED teachers to fill in for aides, absent gen ed teachers, secretaries, etc. If gen ed has duty free time, we have duty free time now too. If you volunteer to do these things the time has to be made up to you.

    Special Ed teachers will have a district web site with resources specifically for Special Ed. ALL teachers in my district have a webpage linked thru the shool website. They're not talking about teacher pages, but resource pages. The page has IEP guidelines, alternative assessment materials, tips related to managing specific disabilities, etc. This is available for gen ed too...but we never had a spot targeted just for SPED. All these questions about modifying assessments and how they're basically unfair for most of our kids just fell by the wayside. Not saying it's much better, but it's a start. It's also got a lot of parent resources and links to support groups and whatnot.

    $500,000 grant will be applied towards caseload reduction and assuring Special Ed teachers are in legal compliance with their numbers. Was this grant written specifically for SPED dept? No, supposedly they "decided" to use this money for SPED. It wont make a dent in how much we actually need. ALL class sizes should be smaller, but in Special Ed's case, it is ILLEGAL to have huge classes. I believe it's up to 14 with 1 aide. After that you need 2 aides and that is NOT happening. Many of my friends are teaching SPED with 17-20 kids and no aide at all or 1 aide inconsistently. Wrong.
     
  26. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Jan 13, 2013

    Yes
     
  27. rookieABC123

    rookieABC123 Comrade

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    Jan 13, 2013

    Thank you for posting! It helps give me some ideas.
     
  28. MotherGoose

    MotherGoose Rookie

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    What about the Special Ed teacher who writes IEP's AND ALSO has classes of her own with papers to grade, lesson plans with multiple preps to do, inserting grades online, classes to prep for, etc....??? Please keep in mind that many Special Ed positions are the SAME as regular ed positions BUT with additional SPecial Ed resposibilities.

    The idea of a special contract is no laughing matter considering the obvious inequities of workload. In fact, people need to speak up more for change in these positions--- which I have with great results. If I had feared getting laughed at then change would not have happened.
     

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