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Turlock Unified receives grants to enhance educator effectiveness
Spending plans to be approved at December meeting
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Turlock Unified School District and eCademy Charter at Crane received over $1 million altogether in Educator Effectiveness Grants through an education finance bill, money the district is hoping will go towards induction and professional development for both teachers and administrators.


“I’m really happy to see the money not only going to the teachers, but to staff as well,” said Trustee Barney Gordon. “Oftentimes the staff has so much to do with the efficiency of the sites and don’t get as much training, so I’m glad to see that we’ve set aside money for that.”


Funded through Senate Bill 103, Section 8, the California Educator Effectiveness Grant apportioned $490 million to school agencies for a number of purposes, including teacher and administrator support and mentoring, professional development of teachers and administrators, and the promotion of educator quality and effectiveness.


“The Educator Effectiveness Grant is one time money that has been allocated to school districts to support educator effectiveness to help our teachers and administrators do the best job possible in the classroom and throughout the district,” said Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Heidi Lawler.


TUSD received $1,029,000 and eCademy Charter received $10,000, all of which is recommended to go specifically towards induction and professional development.


Lawler said that the grant requires school agencies to develop a plan delineating how funds will be spent, as well as submit a detailed expenditure report to the State Department of Education by July 2018.


Under the proposed plan, the funds will support new teachers and administrators through specific programs as approved by the state of California, and provide training to educators with professional development aligned to content standards, new curriculum and effective instructional strategies. The plan also sets aside funding to provide training, professional development and coaching for teachers who have been identified as needing improvement.


Specifically for induction, eCademy Charter does not currently have any teachers or administrators who need induction, however, TUSD will allocate $180,075 towards certificated staff and $77,175 to administrative staff in order to support new teacher and administrator ability to teach or lead effectively.


“It has been our practice in the district to fund our teachers who are going through induction, which has been really one of the benefits of working in Turlock,” said Lawler, “but we have not had funds for administrators for induction for quite some time now, so it’s really a benefit to our current administrators and possible incoming administrators in the next year who would be able to use these funds to support them during induction.


“Just to give you an amount, depending on the program our administrators are participating in, it can be anywhere from $3,500 to $7,000 dollars for them to go through the induction program, so we’re pleased that we are able to provide them support,” continued Lawler.


For professional development, TUSD will allocate $578,813 to certificated staff and $192,937 to administrative staff, and eCademy Charter will use its entire grant funding of $10,000 for certificated staff. These funds will help promote educator quality and effectiveness for teachers at all levels and needs through a wide range of training and professional development opportunities.


“We haven’t had the opportunity to provide as much additional professional development for administrators as much as may be beneficial to them, so this is a wonderful opportunity to send some of our administrators to conferences, institutes, academies in order to continue to develop their skills and expertise, while of course allocating the bulk of these monies towards our teachers so we are improving the classroom instruction for our students,” said Lawler.


The TUSD Board of Trustees is scheduled to consider approval of the Educator Effectiveness Grant plan for both TUSD and eCademy Charter during their Dec. 6 meeting.