Friday, April 1, 2011

Guess what's wrong with this???

Dear Employee:
The Total Compensation Review (TCR) Committee is the Superintendent's key advisory body for compensation and benefits reform in the Division. It was established in February 2011, and I am writing to invite you to join our Committee - it is open to all employees. I am also sending an example of our recent work - the Committee's guidance on the use of the 21 additional hours when the school year starts on August 29.
What is TCR? Why join? It's a study group for the next 2-3 years. We need your experience to develop the best possible package of career incentives including monetary and non-monetary benefits for ACPS employees. We want you to be part of the solution to solve some critical issues in our transformation to world-class status. Those who participate will be credited with certification points. Members will also gain recognition and knowledge in this emerging field of school reform. Over the next two years, we have identified four areas to examine what works, what needs to improve and how to make the improvement(s). The areas and guiding questions are:
  • Career-ladder and Salary. What should be the criteria for a career-ladder and salary level? What of support staff?   
  • Student time. How might we extend the student day?
  • Professional Learning. How do we improve teacher collaboration and learning?
  • Benefits. What is the best program combining health, dental, vision, pension, life insurance, disability insurance, savings programs, leave donation and flexible spending accounts? How do we go what is best for all employee groups?
Who are the current members?  As of our March 30 meeting, we have 24 volunteers signed up to serve on these work groups (if your name is missing please let me know). Anyone may join a group yet we would like a volunteer from every school, and for a few support staff to join the salary or benefits group. The current  members (*chairs) are:
Career-Ladder & Salary   Student Time               Benefits                                       Professional Time
Jones – TCW                       Richardson - Adams      Domokos-Bays - Food Service     Feltman - Patrick Henry
Wallin – Central Office         *Bohringer - Tucker      *Downs - Patrick Henry                 *Fletcher - Mt. Vernon
Hohman – Hammond 1         Neidermeyer - Adams   *Foley - Tucker                             Martin - Central Office
Wurl – Mason                      Clinger - TCW PTSA                                                          *Ryan - George Mason
*Arscott – Minnie Hwd                                                                                                    Gutierrez - TCW
Selander – Minnie Hwd
Casamo – MacArthur
*Madigan – TCW
Hutchings - Central Office
Brown – Tucker
Warden – PTSA
Dameo - Central Office
    How much time and work does this take?  About an hour a month. As Project Director (and EdD candidate), I will make it as easy on the members as possible by doing research, scheduling speakers, drafting reports and updating the website. What we need all members to do is to attend the work group meeting and participate in the discussions - we need your experience, wisdom and ideas to develop the best possible recommendation(s) for the Superintendent. This is the opportunity to provide your input to the decision making process to help transform the Division. Committee members will also have the opportunity to personally outbrief the Superintendent. Work groups may decide to do other work such as a survey, visit another school Division or attend a local conference. For more information, please see our website at

   What did the Committee recommend on how to use the 21 additional hours for professional learning? Please see the attachment. The Committee developed the guidelines for the upcoming regulation on the use of school-based, professional learning councils and teams. The regulation will be published no later than May 1st.

In the interim, start now. We recommend that your school use these guidelines and begin its planning now (some schools are doing this already). Each school should have its plan on the use of  the 21 hours completed before the end of the school year.

   Thank you for taking time to read this email. I appreciate your time to read this message. I encourage you to join the Committee. Please let me know if you have any questions. The next meeting date will be announced later but is likely April 27 or May 4. Also, check out the new HR website at . We hope you like the new look.

Best regards,
   Stephen M. Wilkins
   Project Director for Division Compensation Review
   Ph: 703-824-6949
   Visit us at
   Help transform the Division...Join today.


  1. um...April Fools?

  2. Where to start? Wilkins is assuming we will start the school year on August 29, but the VDOE has not yet agreed to the waiver. He then says that the compensation review board is tasked with deciding a fair compensation package for all employees, but when have the employees complained about the current system except for the fact that the superintendent has put back our step increases by six months and tried to add uncompensated time to the new school year? What else? Oh yes, the extra 21 hours has already been dedicated to yet more professional development, despite plenty of teacher input requesting other, student centered use of that time. As usual, we are being asked for our ideas and expertise, which will then be completely ignored. But the super can point to teacher involvement on the committee and pretend that the latest round of professional development sessions came from teachers' requests. All I see on the committee are the lapdogs and mouth pieces of Mort. Teacher's voices? If only....

  3. I'm with 6:59 - is this for real?

  4. Why what seems like an assumption or end goal of extending student time ... Thought the value of this was being "evaluated" .... The fact that the Board can't even pretend to be objective is so telling of the true motivations//ends... How about how might we better use the student day than extend it?

  5. Are the 21 hours added even if the waiver isn't approved? In the email I received I found the guideline #4 listed under "use of time" to be most interesting. here it is: "Professional learning time will be planned in order to increase formality, effectiveness and efficiency of initiatives already in place or TO REPLACE THEM ALTOGETHER. Professional learning time will not increase staff workload with new initiatives."
    The caps are mine, and highlight what aspect interested me the most.

  6. I'm joining - I hope many of you do, too. With enough voices, maybe we can make a difference. It's too hard for just a few to really influence/change the decisions, even if they're trying to.

    We've been asked - let's answer - in person.

  7. TCR Committee MemberApril 2, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    You know what Underground...I joined. Way back at the beginning because I didn't like what Sherman was trying to do. If you don't like something, and want to change it instead of just belly-aching about it on a blog...then you gotta join and make your voice heard. I hope you all join! And by the way, I'm certainly not anyone's "lapdog".

  8. I'm sorry, but if you are on board with all the decisions being made for you from the get go, the you are either a lapdog or a mouthpiece for the administration. I stand by that comment. No one of good conscience would join the committee that assumes we all want a longer school day for the students or more irrelevant staff development when we could be doing so much better for our students and our schools.

  9. Maybe we "could be doing so much better for our students and our schools," but if we don't make our voices heard, that certainly won't happen. Don't judge people who have been trying, albeit unsuccessfully so far, to be heard. It's not as easy as it might seem. There's strength in numbers.

  10. One hour per month? I joined and have been asked to attend an hour long meeting EVERY WEEK since it started.
    Our first task was to deal with the extra thirty minutes per week - only to find that a deal was hammered out with EAA at the exact same time the TCR committee was meeting (same time, same day, different location).
    Our second task was to develop the plan for using the 21 hours.
    Now we're are breaking into these various committees. We'll see if they stand by the one hour a month now. I've tried to be proactive, but I DO have a life outside of ACPS.