The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees approved a $2,750,800 spending plan for the district’s Common Core Standards implementation throughout the next school year, in anticipation of the 2014-15 transition.
Funds for the implementation come from a one-time state grant, specifically for the transition, which must be spent within two years.
In the plan the district will spend anywhere from $210,000 to $600,000 specifically for professional development for teachers and classroom staff. Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Dana Trevethan says the large window for this category of spending is to allow flexibility in the budget. The district will utilize a Common Core Council, meeting on a quarterly basis, to determine training schedules and specific areas of development teachers will need to align instruction and curriculum with the Common Core Standards.
Another reason for the needed flexibility is because TUSD has so many teachers and only so much time to train them.
“With 750-plus certificated staff to take Common Core training during our transition year, inevitably we will only be able to accomplish this with use of time outside the regular school day or week in order to not pull teachers away from their students and classes,” Trevethan said. “With that said, we will be providing several Common Core training options and opportunities for staff to choose from beginning in November and throughout the second half of the year, of which some will include additional compensation for time spent in training outside staff's contractual work days."
This month 108 teachers from school site leadership teams have received the first wave of training.
The district also budgeted $1 million to purchase instructional materials and $1 million for technology such as computers, hardware and software for technology-based instruction.
In other TUSD news from Tuesday night, the board heard a presentation on Positive Behavior Support and anti-bullying strategies. The focus was on how district teachers and administrators will increase the positive atmosphere on school sites through teaching compassion and empathy, and practicing conflict resolution.
Trustee Harinder Grewal asked if there were any particular ethnic groups that were the target of school bullying. TUSD Director of Student Services, Gil Ogden, indicated that TUSD does not necessarily have a problem with ethnic groups being singled out, however there is more of an “imbalance of power” between the bullies and bullied.
On the consent calendar the district approved numerous personnel contracts for school plays and physical education activities for home school students.