Members of the Sheridan County Education Association met with Sheridan County School District 2 board members earlier this week for their annual meeting.
A portion of the meeting found spokesman Ed Fessler going over the 2011 District Staff Climate Survey, which was overhauled a couple years ago in an effort to make it into more of a growth model. 232 staff members from around the district, or 85%, responded, and overall, Fessler told the Board, the report was positive.
The climate questions dealt with feelings of respect from principals, school administration and co-workers. Indications that morale is high throughout District 2, partly because efforts from the top down over the past two years to communicate. It was mentioned that district employees have felt much more freedom to vent about concerns without fear of losing their job – something that was not felt ten years ago.
This is significant, given the education accountability bills going through the Wyoming Legislature. Of note, Fessler says educators are eying closely lawmakers' debate this week on Senate File 146.
Representative John Patton is quite involved in the House debate on Senate File 146. In a call to Sheridan Media Tuesday he discussed his amendment – one of eight amendments others have put forth on the bill – that went up for second reading Tuesday afternoon. His amendment deals with what he terms a “cooling off period.”
Patton said the fact that there are eight amendments shows there is quite a bit of positive interest in the House, and that some of those should pass. As of this morning, the House amended the bill so that the tenure isn't granted until after five years.
The House also approved several changes dealing with firing teachers, but rejected the proposal to create a citizen panel to review cases of teachers recommended for firing.
As for District 2 Trustees' response to the SCEA's presentation, Board Chair Scott Hininger said the overall, the district “could stack any of our teachers up nationally and come out ahead.” He added that District 2 is one of the most accountable in the state of Wyoming.