What follows are highlights of the Green Dot contract in Los Angeles that may be of interest to Edwize readers. The contract itself can be read here.
Commitment to Teacher Leadership: Article 34 states that the school and union “agree to establish a teacher led school environment, where teacher talents will be utilized to their fullest potential, offering perspectives in administrative, curricular and extra-curricular decision-making.”
Commitment to Meaningful Union Involvement: Article 34 also states that the teachers union shall have “representation on all leadership bodies.”
Dedication to Professional Growth: Article 33 states that professional development is “both a personal and institutional responsibility” that both parties “commit to jointly plan in-service programs” and “work together to foster partnerships with institutions of higher education to provide resources” to teachers.
A “Just Cause” Standard of Discipline: Article 18 states that “no unit member shall be disciplined, non-renewed, dismissed, reduced in rank or compensation without just cause.” The contract makes no distinction between or reference to probationary and or tenured teachers.
Independently-Mediated Due Process: Article 14 details the school’s process for conflict resolution. It indicates that “a grievant may be represented at all stages of the grievance by a [union] representative.” It indicates that “no reprisals of any kind” may be taken by the school’s administration or Board. While “informal” resolution is preferred there are four (4) explicit stages of mediation starting with the principal, moving to the Board of Trustees President, then the full Board of Trustees, and finally with an impartial outside hearing body that is “empowered to render a decision on the complaint.”
Pro-Teacher Governance Philosophy: Green Dot is committed to building a school culture in which teacher voice, professionalism and collaboration is prevalent. Article 4 states that “decisions will be derived in a collaborative model” and that “The Board [of Trustees] understands that in the formative years of a school certain leeway and flexibilities are necessary to build it. The Board recognizes that for Green Dot’s Schools to succeed the Board and the [teachers’ union] must maintain fluid communication and a willingness to work out issues and concerns with students’ interests as the basis of each decision.”
Professionally-Motivated Evaluations: Article 22 states that the goal of evaluations “is to improve the quality of instruction” and is “a formative process in which professional goals are linked to classroom practice. The goal of the process is to support and nurture effective teaching strategies with on-going feedback and reflection.” Personal goals are established in September. Observations are based on these goals and include “one formal observation each semester,” “informal observations,” “peer observations,” and a “reflective journal.” Article 26 envisions a “Peer Assistance and Review Program” is also envisioned for the school.
Innovative Work Day with Weekly Professional Development: Article 6 defines the work day to include “the student day, staff meetings and time needed for preparation.” Like the UFT Secondary Charter School, “once a week, students will have a shortened day while teachers meet and plan together for an allotted amount of time.” Work day includes a prep period and a duty-free lunch.
Work Year: Article 6 defines the year as “up to 193 days” with 183 for instruction and 8 pupil-free days and 2 buy-back days. Article 28 entitles teachers to 10 fully-paid sick days.
Low Staffing Ratio and Remedies for Large Class Size: Article 16 mandates a “staffing ratio of no more than 24 pupils to one full time classroom teacher,” and defines a process to remedy a situation in which class size exceeds 33 students.
Consistency in Class Assignments and Seniority Considerations: Per Article 21, teachers with satisfactory evaluations who wish to continue current assignments in the subsequent year “shall be so assigned.” Change of assignments are determined by “mutual agreement” of the members of the relevant academic department. The Board of Trustees only makes final assignment determinations if the department cannot reach mutual agreement, based on legal requirements for the position, satisfactory evaluations, expertise and relevant experience, and “length of service” “in the absence of substantial distinguishing differences.”
Fair and Equitable Compensation and Benefits: Article 30 articulates that compensation is based on a salary schedule with differentials and (committee-developed) stipends for extra duties. Green Dot pays “all premium costs for the provision of medical, dental, and vision coverage” for “bargaining unit members and their dependents.” Per Article 19, teachers participate in the State Teachers Retirement System.
Per Article 28, teachers “with perfect attendance will be awarded a 20% bonus of their 10-unused sick days” and sick days can be “accrued” and “unit members shall be entitled to sick days accrued from previous employment in a school district, charter school, or public school.” Moreover, teachers may “donate” leave time to each other.
No Layoff Provision: Article 31 states that “there shall be no layoffs during the current school year unless mutually agreed upon” and are based on “length of service” in the absence of substantial distinguishing differences.