EM approves $500 teacher technology incentive

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND —  Teachers in the Elk Mound school district can now earn up to $500 per year for learning more about computer technology or using the technology in their classrooms.

The Elk Mound Board of Education approved the technology incentive plan for teachers at the July 29 meeting.

Under the plan, teachers will log the hours they use and will be paid $20 per hour for up to $500, explained Eric Hanson, principal at Mound View Elementary.

Activities that qualify for the technology incentive include creating new lessons for the classroom that integrate computer technology; creating new Moodle assignments; creating new Smart Board lessons; providing workshops for other staff members after school or attending workshops given by other staff members after school; and other computer workshops, training or activities.

The incentive plan says, “we want you to incorporate technology into your classroom,” Hanson said.

Act 10 and other state legislation pertaining to teachers is merit-based, noted Tim Sivertson, school board president.

If teachers can log a certain number of hours and can be reimbursed for those hours, how does that fit in with evaluation for merit? he asked.

“Merit pay has some value, but what makes a difference is helping teachers be better teachers,” Hanson said, noting that student outcome components are built into the merit pay system.

If merit pay is based solely on the achievement of students, it will not be very accurate because of individual differences in students and their motivation and skill levels, he said.

The technology incentive plan “does a lot to help teachers be accountable for their own growth,” said Dr. Ron Walsh, superintendent.

Kyle Jenson, school board member, said he liked the idea that the list of acceptable activities included “other” because it allows teachers to submit additional ideas that could be used toward the incentive pay.

“We want it to be an incentive and not cumbersome,” Hanson said.

The Elk Mound Board of Education unanimously approved the teacher technology incentive plan for 2013-2014.

Teacher compensation

The Elk Mound Board of Education also approved the teacher compensation guide for 2013-2014.

The compensation guide was used to last year to promote 14 people eligible for promotion, Dr. Walsh said.

Under the Elk Mound system, instead of automatic steps and pay raises for salaries that were developed during the now-illegal collective bargaining negotiations, teachers must submit a portfolio, and if their application is approved, they will be promoted to the next level.

This year’s guide includes a checklist to help teachers organize their portfolios, Dr. Walsh said.

The compensation scale for all levels goes in three-year cycles. For the first level, for example, A1 is $40,000; A2 is $40,000; and A3 is $40,000. Level B is $42,000; level C is $46,000; level D is $48,000; level E is $52,000; level F is $54,000; level G is $58,000; and level H  is $60,000.

“This is a way for teachers to showcase their improvement,” said Eric Wright, principal at Elk Mound Middle School.

The Elk Mound Board of Education unanimously approved the teacher compensation guide for 2013-2014.

Other business

In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:

• Approved adding golf as a new high school sport for 2013-2014. The students will be able to get a $50 membership at Whitetail Golf Course, said Paul Weber, high school principal. Students must provide their own transportation for practice at the golf course, but the school district will provide transportation for tournaments, he said. Elk Mound will not be able to participate in the WIAA golf tournaments the first year because the district added golf after June 1, Weber said, noting that next year, Elk Mound students will be able to participate in the WIAA tournaments.

• Received a reminder that the school district’s annual meeting will be at 8 p.m. in the high school auditorium on August 26. The regular school board meeting that night will begin at 6:45 p.m. and will finish, if necessary, after the annual meeting.

• Scheduled regular board meetings for September 30 and October 21.

• Approved keeping fees the same as last year for season passes ($40 for adults; $30 for students); athletic fees ($10 per sport up to $25 maximum per year; the spring season is $5 if students participated in fall and winter sports at $10 each); driver education fees ($100 used to offset the cost of the outside provider of $310 per student); lunch (elementary $2.10 per meal; middle school and high school $2.45 per meal; adults $3.50 per meal; milk at 35 cents per half pint); ala carte items ($1.45).

Following a closed session, the Elk Mound Board of Education:

• Approved hiring Jennifer Olson as the special education director for the school district. Elk Mound will share Olson’s services with the Mondovi school district. She will work in Elk Mound 75 percent of the time and in Mondovi 25 percent of the time.