Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mutual Matching ( or involuntary transfers)

Go HERE to print the article below
by Tony Smith


All of Oakland’s children need to have a quality teacher in every classroom. Teachers are a precious resource. They bring their individual skills, talents and abilities to the inspiring work of educating our young people. Teachers are not interchangeable cogs in a machine, defined only by their credentials.

To ensure that we build and support Community Schools where children thrive because teachers are supported and positioned to be successful, we MUST pay attention to how we match and assign teacher skills and abilities. Successful schools are vibrant communities, carefully and lovingly crafted by the collaborative efforts of children, parents, teachers and administrators. Successful schools build themselves from the inside out and need to have the opportunity to thoughtfully participate in identifying new faculty members who are well suited to the priorities, philosophies, climate and culture of the school.

Objectives of a Mutual Matching Process:

· Ensure a quality teacher who is well suited to the culture, climate and priorities of the school site in every classroom, for every student in Oakland.
· Honor and respect teachers as education professionals.
· Change the perception and reception of consolidated, displaced and voluntary transfer teachers.
· Increase retention of teachers who seek new assignments for a variety of different reasons.
· Offer real assignment flexibility through the voluntary transfer process.
· Eliminate hidden vacancies and reduce the pressure/necessity for precautionary lay off noticing.
· Strengthen effective school communities by supporting their involvement in proactively building collaborative faculties.
· Increase teacher job satisfaction.
· Successfully place all displaced and voluntary transfer teachers to the mutual satisfaction of teachers and receiving school sites without the need to displace temporary teachers.

Structure and Process Details

What follows is a draft structure and process for implementing Mutual Matching in OUSD. Its purpose is to support a more detailed conversation on how to reach our objectives. It is not a formal proposal, but the outline of one way to reach our objectives. This draft has evolved and will continue to evolve as we work with OEA and others to ensure our objectives are attained.

Facilitated Mutual Matching – A process for assignment of voluntary transfers, and teachers in the Talent Pool who seek new assignments as a result of consolidation, school closure or return from leave of absence.

Step 1 (Mar – May)
· All teachers in the Talent Pool identify up to five (5) preferences among known vacancies and are placed based on the assignment factors with seniority as a tiebreaker.
Step 2 (May – Jun)
· If any vacancies exist in a credential area after teachers in the Talent Pool are placed in Step 1, voluntary transfers and new hires are possible for known vacancies
Round 1 (Mar 12th – Apr 6th proposed)
· All teachers may participate in a facilitated mutual matching process as part of a Talent Pool.
· Teachers and school communities are provided multiple opportunities to meet and learn about each other.
· Teachers and schools each complete preference forms indicating a minimum of five (5) and a maximum of ten (10) schools/teachers where they believe there would be a good fit.
· Human Resources facilitates Round 1 matches with the goals to maximize the overall number of matches made and ensure the best match for teachers and school communities.
· Where a school community matches with more than one teacher for a vacancy, seniority will be a tiebreaker, except in a situation where to do so undermines OUSD and OEA shared objectives in agreeing to facilitated mutual matching.
· School communities may make external hires only in hard-to-staff areas during Round 1 (e.g. Math, Science, Spanish as foreign language, PE, Special Education).
Round 2 (Apr 9th – May)
· Schools with vacancies and teachers remaining in need of a new assignment will participate in Round 2.
· Teachers will receive personalized support from Human Resources and the commitment to identify an assignment or other appropriate outcome.
· Human Resources will review the placement rate and other information from Round 1 to determine if any additional subject areas may be opened to external hires.
· Actual salaries and benefits used
· Teachers in the Talent Pool singled-out in process
· No consistent information provided to teachers or school communities
· Average salaries and benefits used.
· All teachers may participate in Round 1.
· Matching information options:
- Two-page professional profile for each teacher and each school community – support provided for preparation
- Up to five (5) days of paid time for teachers to visit school communities
- Opportunity for school communities to visit teachers for classroom observations
- Schools appoint Community Ambassadors available speak with interested teachers
- School Showcase – brings together school representatives and Round 1 teachers in group setting
· Suspected ‘hidden’ vacancies limit teachers’ options, risk unnecessary layoff notices and prolong the entire staffing process
· No incentive to notify of separation prior to June 30
· Coordinated effort increases available vacancies:
- Cash incentive offered to teachers who submit completed separation paperwork to HR by March 1st (may offer lower amount for later submission prior to another specified date).
- Access to Mutual Matching itself creates disincentive for hidden vacancies.
- District leadership and OEA align communication efforts on impact of hidden vacancies on risk of layoffs and prolonged staffing process.
- In collaboration with OEA, District leadership, OEA site representatives, HR, Fiscal Services, REXOs/NEXOs and the Superintendent ensure accountability for exposing vacancies
· No formal collaborative review of process or outcomes
· Establish joint review committee to meet at the end of school year (June) and early October to review process and make recommendations for future
· HR to gather and share information on number of placements, number of matches, turnover (District and Site), feedback on process, etc.
· Joint review committee to provide written summary of process for dissemination to teachers, administrators and community stakeholders
· Joint review committee to make recommendations for incorporation in future bargaining and implementation.