LAUSD to add more teachers, tweaks teacher evaluations

- The Los Angeles school board Tuesday agreed to provide additional teachers to reduce class size at some schools, and to tweak its teacher evaluation process.

In what district officials called a "reopener" to the contract reached last year, the L.A. Unified School District board unanimously approved the labor agreement with United Teachers Los Angeles.

The new agreement will allow additional teachers for secondary schools to add a new elective class -- such as visual and performing arts or ethnic studies -- or to reduce the number of students in an existing elective class.

The top 55 "high-needs" schools will each gain an additional teacher to reduce class size in fourth-through-sixth grades.

Counselors and psychiatric social workers will get an additional 17 days at schools. And no more than 55 students may participate in physical education classes in middle schools and high schools.

Also, teachers will now have fewer elements to the evaluation process, and will receive quicker feedback. The three ratings for teachers are "effective practice," "developing practice" and "ineffective practice."

"The District worked really hard to make negotiations a collaborative process and to create an agreement that will work for a very long time benefiting the students of Los Angeles," Superintendent Michelle King said.

The new terms become part of the current 2014-17 contract with teachers, which included a 10 percent salary increase, according to the district.

Attempts to reach union representatives were unsuccessful, but UTLA's website said 97 percent of its members voted to approve the new agreement. "We are proud of this agreement and what it says about educators'
priorities, which are to create the learning conditions our students deserve and to fight for equity for our highest-need schools," UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said in a statement on the union's website.

Separately today, the board voted unanimously to officially declare June 2016 as Pride Month, with members citing the resolution's special significance in the wake of last weekend's mass shooting at a gay nightclub in
Orlando, in which at least 49 people were murdered. Board members said the resolution was important to show solidarity, but would also have an educational component.

"This resolution is not just about acknowledging our LGBTQ family in this District, but also about creating a space of inclusivity, knowledge-awareness and hate depletion," said board member Ref Rodriguez. "As a
district that serves students from the entire spectrum of the LGBTQ community, we have a responsibility to address the daily challenges that our students undergo."

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