While reading a Pomerado News article interviewing PUSD Board’s newly elected President, Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff, I learned about the Elementary Wheel, a new program being introduced at our elementary schools. I read more about it on the Poway Federation of Teachers (PFT) website and I have a summary for you here. Since current CA Education law requires class size reductions for TK-3 grade levels to be 24:1 by 2021, PUSD formed a study group to reviewed cost, facilities constraints, staff surveys and education research. The conclusion was that for PUSD, TK-5 class size reductions would have a positive impact on student performance. Furthermore, it was determined that these reductions are best supported by job-embedded collaboration and ongoing professional learning. The Memorandum of Understanding between PUSD and PFT touches on these points:
Concept – Three-year phase-in starting in 2016-2017 for district-wide common learning experience and opportunities to participate in Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA), Physical Education (PE) and/or other identified programs
Commitment – PFT committed one million dollars of allocated PUSD funds towards the total number of teachers needed to implement the Elementary wheel. That is approximately 20 full-time teachers for the program.
Time – These 20 full-time teachers provide two hours of learning time for all grade-level teams on the same day, approximately twice per month.
Structure – The number of Elementary Wheel teachers will be assigned based on the number of classes at the elementary school site and will take into consideration school instruction schedules.
Hiring – An application and selection process for current PUSD teachers will be developed by PFT and PUSD
More details are sure to emerge, as we get closer to implementation. This additional educational support, along with the increased per student funding discussed in my 12/04/15 LEAD column, is welcomed news for all of us with kids in the elementary school levels.