Math, literacy cuts pondered
Kyrene school board members continue to struggle with the district’s dwindling finances, most recently considering options that could narrow one dimension of math and literacy education.
At a study session Feb. 28, the board received three potential options that would cut the number of math and literacy coaches, at the same time making the program more efficient for teachers and students.
Carrie Furedy, director of educational services, presented the models, which would reduce the math and literacy coaching staff to 12 from the existing 19.
Members on a committee that oversees that initiative also offered their opinions on the three models, which district officials say would potentially save approximately $350,000 annually.
Though the committee members said they would not want to implement such a change, Lorah Neville, director of curriculum and learning services, and board members commended them on developing other strategies that could be used to provide coaches for teachers and students.
Each model would save the district approximately the same amount of money, each focusing on distributing math and literacy assistance throughout the schools to best meet the need.
One model would deploy teams of coaches, with each serving a school once a month. Two other models called for dividing the coaches by region or housing them at one location and assigning them to schools as needed.
Board member Ellen Shamah expressed concern over cutting back on services to students who need help the most.
“We owe it to the children who come least prepared,” Shamah said.
Superintendent Dr. David Schauer said the models attempt to save the district money, while making the coaching program more efficient with the hope of improving student achievement for all students.
Targeting the same budgetary concerns and in order to meet new expectations established by recent changes in legislation, board members passed a motion to adopt what is most commonly called the Marzano teacher evaluation model, after hearing a presentation from Mark Knight, the district’s director of human resources.
Gina Taylor, director of instructional services, said state statutes require four levels of evaluation components for teachers, and Kyrene currently has three.
The Marzano model adds “highly effective” to the rating system for teachers.
Additionally, 33 percent of the evaluation must come from student achievement data.
“Those are the two big changes we’re looking at,” Taylor said.