Article XII: Professional Teacher Support Program



The Natomas Unified School District and the Natomas Teachers Association (NTA) have developed the following procedures for implementation of the Peer Assistance and Review Program. The purpose of this program is to provide support to permanent teachers in accord with the law.

A. Purpose

  1. The purpose of this Article is to maximize the opportunities presented and resources provided by the California Peer Assistance and Review Program (“Program,” AB 1X) in a manner which best meets the needs and maximizes the professional growth of all teachers in the District.

2. The parties intend to utilize funds offered through this Program to assist permanent teachers as required by the law, to complement the current BTSA program thus maintaining a support and assistance system for newer teachers, and to assist other experienced teachers to the extent resources allow.

3. The Program’s assistance component shall be provided through Coaches as described below. This assistance shall not constitute the evaluation of unit members as set forth in Article IX of the NUSD/NTA Bargaining Agreement and Education Code section 44660 et seq.

B. Definitions applicable to this program

  1. “First-Year Teacher.” Any individual assigned to provide instruction to pupils in a classroom setting for his/her first year, regardless of credential or intern status.

2. “Experienced Teacher.” Any teacher with more than two years of teaching experience.

3. “Referred Teacher.” A Referred Teacher is a permanent teacher who has received an overall rating of:

“Unsatisfactory” on the Certificated Employee Formal Evaluation Summary. A Referred Teacher is also a permanent teacher who has received an overall rating of “Needs Improvement” for two years in a row.

4. “Evaluator.” An administrator or instructional supervisor appointed by the District to evaluate a certificated teacher.

5. “Coach Teacher.” An exemplary teacher meeting the requirements defined on page 65 who is selected by the Professional Teacher Support Committee to provide Program assistance, support, and review of a participating teacher.

6. “PTS Committee.” The Professional Teacher Support Committee shall consist of five (5) members, three (3) of whom shall be permanent certificated classroom teachers who are chosen by NTA. The District shall choose the two (2) administrators to serve on the Panel.

C. Provisions

  1. This program shall be a partnership program.

2. Confidentiality – All proceedings and materials related to the administration of this article shall be strictly confidential. Therefore, Professional Teacher Support Committee Members and Coaches may disclose such information only as necessary to administer this article. Violations of confidentiality may be addressed through legal recourse rather than the contractual grievance process.

3. The Professional Teacher Support Program process shall be reviewed annually by the Cabinet and NTA Executive Board and then brought to the negotiations team, if necessary, by May 30th.

4. No Encroachment/Loss of Funding/Excess Revenue

a. Expenditures for this Program shall not exceed revenues received from funds made available through passage of AB 1X (1999, Villaraigosa) or successor legislation, excluding.

b. Funds shall be budgeted to enable coaches to provide for release days and/or conferences as a developmental tool for the teachers assigned to the program.

5. At the conclusion of the fiscal year, if revenue exceeds expenditures, the Committee shall meet to determine the allocation of surplus.

6. Indemnity – The District shall defend the indemnity PTSC members and Coaches against claims arising out of their good faith performance under this trust agreement. PTSC members, who act pursuant to the Program, shall have the same protection from liability, and access to appropriate defense as other public school employees pursuant to Division 3.6 (commencing with section 810) of Title 1 Government Code.

7. Immunity From Liability – The District shall hold harmless the members of the PTS and the coaches from any liability arising out of their participation in this program as provided in Education Code section 44503, subdivision (c).

8. Non-management/Supervisory Status – Functions performed by teacher PTSC members and Coaches pursuant to the program shall not constitute either management or supervisory functions as defined by subdivisions (g) and (m) of section 3540.1 of the Government Code.

9. Committee Professional Support – A member shall neither participate in discussion nor vote on any matter in which he/she has a professional or personal conflict of interest. If necessary, determination of whether a conflict exists, which justifies abstention from discussion or voting, shall be subject to a majority, affirmative vote.

10. Right of Representation – A Referred Teacher shall have the right to be represented by NTA in any meetings of the PTS to which they are called and shall be given reasonable opportunity to present his/her point of view concerning any report being made.

11. Grievability – A teacher shall not have access to the grievance process to challenge the contents of reports, recommendations or decisions of the PTS. The ;teacher may file official responses, as provided herein, which shall become part of the official record of the intervention provided under this program. Although violations of confidentiality are not grievable, they may be addressed through other legal recourse.

12. It is understood that this program shall terminate if for any reason there exists an inability for full funding through AB 1X (1999, Villaraigosa), or successor legislation.

13. Board/District Reservation of Rights

a. Governing Board Review of Recommendations: Nothing herein shall preclude the Board from examining information which it is entitled by law to review in connection with the evaluation of and/or decision to retain in employment certificated employees.

b. Retention of Education Code Rights: Nothing herein shall modify or in any manner affect the rights of the Governing Board/District under provisions of the Education Code relating to the employment, classification, retention or non- retention of certificated employees.

c. Nothing herein shall modify or affect the District’s right to issue notices (of unsatisfactory performance and/or unprofessional conduct) pursuant to Education Code section 44938.

D. Professional Teacher Support Committee

  1. Composition and Selection

The Professional Teacher Support Committee will consist of five (5) members — three (3) teachers and two (2) administrators. The teachers will be selected by the Natomas Teachers Association (NTA) and, if possible, consist of an elementary, a middle and a high school teacher with three (3) alternates. One (1) administrator will be a certified administrator selected by the Superintendent. The other shall be the Associate Superintendent of Educational Services. There will be an administrator alternate. The parties to this Agreement share a mutual interest in appointing members to the Committee who have demonstrated successful professional experience in the District.

2. Committee Teacher-Member Qualifications

a. Be members of the certificated teachers bargaining unit.

b. Have permanent status in the District.

c. Have at least five (5) years of teaching experience, of which at least three (3) must be in the District.

d. Have a rating of Satisfactory on their most recent evaluation in six (6) of six (6) areas.

3. Length of Terms

The Professional Teacher Support Committee member terms are for three (3) years, on a staggered three-year cycle. No limit shall be placed on the number of terms.  When a committee member’s term has expired, he/she may re-apply.

4. Meetings and Compensation

The PTSC shall establish its meeting schedule with a minimum of ten (10) meetings annually. It is mandatory that members attend monthly meetings. To hold meetings, a majority of the members must be present. Every effort shall be made to meet at times other than during the school day to allow teachers to remain in the classroom. Committee teacher members of the PTSC shall receive an annual stipend of $4000. Alternates will receive a proportional amount as determined by the PTS, based on the relative amount of time he/she spends in training and completing other committee duties.

5. Decision Making

The PTSC shall make decisions by consensus of the entire body. If no consensus can be reached, the decision shall be made by a majority vote of the five (5) members.

6. The PTSC shall be responsible for:

a. Meeting to review the work of the coaches with their caseloads.

b. Selecting its own chair annually, alternating the chair between NTA and Administration.

c. Developing the budget for the Professional Teacher Support Program and submitting it to the Board of Trustees for approval.

d. Determining the number and selection of coaches, as well as other appropriate support personnel. Classroom observations of the coaching candidates may be included in the selection process.

e. Evaluating coaches, their interventions and documentation.

f. Accepting or rejecting voluntary requests from individual teachers to participate in the Voluntary Permanent Teacher Assistance Program.

g. Making recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding participants in the program, including the names of individuals who, after sustained assistance, are not able to demonstrate satisfactory improvements.

h. Annually reviewing and providing recommendations to NTA and the Board of Trustees for improving the Program. Program evaluation may include, but not be limited to, interviews or surveys of program participants.

i. Providing annual training for the Committee Members.

7. If a member of the committee fails to meet the expectations set forth, or resigns, or cannot fulfill their responsibilities, the Superintendent or Teacher Association President will take appropriate action.

8. Establishment of Annual Program and Budget: The PTS shall use the following procedure for establishing the annual program plan and budget. Beginning on or after May 15 but no later than June 1 of each fiscal year, the PTS will establish a Program and budget for the succeeding year which will include:

a. The estimated state revenues for the program;

b. The projected total number of Participating Teachers;

c. The projected number of Coaches needed to service the projected need;

d. The projected expenditures necessary to implement assistance plans developed by the Participating Teachers, Evaluators and Coaches;

e. The projected costs for training, administrative overhead, etc.

9.  By June 1, the Program and proposed budget will be approved by the PTS. Should the PTS fail to reach consensus on these matters, a majority vote will prevail.

E. Referred Teachers

  1. Referred Teachers: A Referred Teacher, as defined in Section B, must participate in the program.

2. The Plan of Assistance is developed after the Referred Teacher receives an “unsatisfactory” evaluation, as set forth in Section G. The Coach’s assistance shall focus on the specific areas recommended for improvement by the Referred Teacher’s Evaluator.

a. The recommendations in the Plan of Assistance shall be considered as part of the Referred Teacher’s performance goals for the period of participation in this program.

3. The report described in Section G, #7 shall be included as part of the Referred Teacher’s annual evaluation, which is placed in the official personnel file. The evaluator, as the individual officially responsible for the evaluation, retains the right and responsibility to comment on the report in his/her evaluation.

F. Coaches

This Professional Teachers Support (PTS) Committee shall select coaches.

  1. Qualifications: The minimum qualifications for a Coach are as follows:

a. Be a full-time teacher and hold a valid California credential and be of permanent status.

b. Have a minimum three (3) years of classroom experience out of the previous five (5) years of experience.

c. Possess exemplary teaching ability, including effective communication skills, subject matter knowledge, and mastery of a range of teaching strategies necessary to meet the needs of students in different contexts.

d. Possess a working awareness of the California Standards of the Teaching Profession.

e. Have a commitment to building a collaborative relationship with assigned teachers, i.e. ability to nurture and offer emotional support to assigned teachers.

2. Number, Training, and Terms of Coaches:

a. Coaches shall support one (1) or more of the Professional Support Program Components.

i. Mandatory Tenured Teacher Intervention Program.

ii. Beginning Teacher Support and Assistance (BTSA).

iii. Support Program for first year teachers and those teachers new to the District.

iv. Voluntary Permanent Teacher Assistance Program.

b. In the first year, mentor teachers will be given the opportunity to serve as Coaches. They shall be assigned to support the Professional Teacher Support Components as mutually agreed.

c. Agree to be trained in the CFASST process the summer following their selection.

d. Coaches may serve consecutive terms. Once selected and trained, a coach will serve a three (3) year term.

e. The PTS Committee will determine Coaches’ caseload. The committee shall collaborate with Educational Services personnel in the assignment of Beginning Teacher Participants (BTSA) and participants new to the District.

f. The terms of the Coaches are subject to annual evaluation by the Committee. The documentation of such evaluations shall not be made part of the coaches’ personnel file except the written request of the coach.

3. Compensation:

Coaches shall receive a stipend and release time based on their caseload of at least $1,200 per participating teacher. The Coach’s caseload will depend on the needs of the Program.

Stipends for Coaches/Mentors

$1800 per BTSA Mentee

$ 600 per Non BTSA Mentee

$1800 per refereed (to PAR) teacher

*(If a non BTSA mentee requires significant assistance, the coach may apply for additional stipend up to $1800.)

3. Duties Working with Referred Teacher:

a. Coaches will work with teachers with the objective of improving the quality of education of students. The primary focus will be to enhance student learning. Classroom management techniques are to be improved to enhance the learning environment.

b. The Coaches must follow an observation schedule that includes meeting with the teacher before and after an observation. In addition, Coaches should examine actual student work. Written feedback from Coaches to teachers should be provided on the observations and on the collected samples of student work. There shall be multiple observations.

c. Performance goals for an individual teacher shall be clearly stated in writing, in alignment with State Content Standards.

d. Coaches should help teachers attend training in subject area(s), teaching techniques, and classroom environment. They should also recommend workshops for the participating teacher to attend.

G. Mandatory Tenured Teacher Intervention Program

The purpose of the Program is to provide intervention to permanent teachers whose performance has been evaluated as “Unsatisfactory” (Referred Teacher – RT).

Mandatory intervention is also provided for tenured teachers who have received an evaluation of “Needs Improvement” for two successive years.

  1. The prime focus of the Program is to provide Referred Teachers with assistance and to renew their quality of teaching.

2. Tenured teachers, who have been referred, shall be mandated to participate in the program. For the purpose of the PTS program, an “Unsatisfactory” evaluation is not meeting District expectations in three (3) of six (6) criteria on the Summary Evaluation Report. A “Needs Improvement” evaluation is not meeting District expectations in two (2) of six (6) criteria on the Summary Evaluation.

3. At the time of the Summary Evaluation Conference, the administrator shall provide the RT with a copy of the Procedures for Professional Teacher Support and a list of available Coaches. The teacher will review the list and select his/her top three (3) choices for a coach. The administrator who authored the evaluation shall meet with the RT to prepare the referral form and send it to the PTS Committee. The administrator shall provide the Committee with a copy of the evaluation, together with appropriate supporting documentation. The administrator and the RT shall keep copies of the referral packet.  The committee shall review the referral packet, including the evaluation report and supporting documentation. It may also interview the referring administrator and/or the RT before assigning a coach.

4. Assistance, remedial efforts and activities shall be intense and multifaceted and shall be preceded by a conference. The conference shall involve the RT, the principal/designee, and the coach. The purpose of the conference is to develop an Individual Growth Plan.

5. Collaborative communication and consultation between the RT, Coach, and principal shall be ongoing.

6. The Coach shall provide written and verbal performance reports during a conference with the RT. The written reports shall be provided to the PTS Committee.

7. Coaches’ Report to the PTS: On or before April 1, the Coach shall complete a written report documenting the results of the Referred Teacher’s participation in the Program.

a. The report shall contain a description of the recommended assistance activities and a log of the Referred Teacher’s level of participation in the assistance activities.

b. The report shall contain one of the following two conclusions:

i. That the elements of the Plan of Assistance involving the peer intervention have been satisfactorily completed; or,

ii. That despite sustained assistance, the Referred Teacher has not been able to satisfactorily complete the elements of the Plan of Assistance involving the peer assistance. Further assistance through the Program will not be recommended.

8. The assistance shall be provided by the Coach under this article and shall be monitored by the PTS Committee.

9. The Coach shall provide an oral report and all written documentation regarding the progress of the RT to the PTS Committee. During the Coaches’ formal RT presentation to the PTS Committee, the RT and principal/designee will be given an opportunity to comment.

10. Prior to the submission of reports to the PTS Committee, the RT will be entitled to review all reports generated by the Coach and to have his/her comments included. To effectuate this right, the Coach shall provide the Referred Teacher with copies of such reports at least five (5) working days prior to any PTS meeting in which the report will be given. This process shall also apply to the Evaluator of the Referred Teacher.

11. The deliberations of the PTS Committee shall be closed and confidential. Their decisions shall be based on the information provided by the Coach, the principal, and the participating teacher.

12. The decision of the PTS Committee shall be reported to the RT, the Coach, the principal, and the Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources, who will forward the decision to the School Board as defined by subdivision (a) section 44502 of the Government Code.

13. Nothing in this article precludes the principal or District from doing informal observations nor from notifying the teacher verbally and/or in writing regarding incidents or events related to the teacher’s fulfillment of his/her professional obligations.

H. First Year Teacher Support Program and Teachers New to the Natomas Unified School District

This component of PTS shall provide assistance to first year teachers who are not participating in the Beginning Teachers Support (BTSA) program and to experienced teachers who are new to the District.

The purpose of the program is to provide guidance and assistance to first year teachers, internship program teachers, and experienced teachers who are new to Natomas Unified School District. The participants will receive assistance to improve his or her instructional skills, classroom management, and knowledge of curriculum and/or related aspects of their teaching performance.

  1. The prime focus of the program is to provide assistance to first year and new teachers in the areas of understanding the District and school culture, explaining school procedures, understanding District expectations, ordering materials and supplies and related duties and responsibilities.

2. Any teacher, who is new to the District and is not participating in BTSA, is eligible to participate in the PTS program.

3. All teachers participating in the PTS Program will be assigned a Coach. There will be a conference between the teacher and the Coach to develop an assistance plan.

4. All consultations/observations between the participating teacher and the Coach are confidential, with the exception of reporting to the PTS Committee and, in the case of the internship teacher, reporting to his/her advisor.

5. Coaches shall work with the internship teachers’ advisors regularly to provide additional assistance.

6. Bi-monthly meetings between the participating teacher and the Coach are recommended. Other meetings/observations will be scheduled as needed.

7. Experienced teachers who are new to the NUSD shall be in the program for one year. Internship teachers shall remain in the program as long as they are enrolled in the internship program.

I. Beginning Teacher Support Program (BTSA)

The purpose of the PTS program is to deliver beginning, teacher-centered services that will enhance the academic achievement and over-all growth of students. All credentialed beginning teachers will participate in the BTSA Program.

  1. The prime focus of the PTS program is to provide beginning teachers enhanced professional growth and development and increase their competency through a comprehensive induction process.

2. Eligibility requirements to participate in the program are as follows:

a. Meet the state eligibility requirements.

b. Be a credentialed teacher in the NUSD.

c. Must fulfill program participation requirements for a minimum of two (2) semesters, preferably two years.

3. Teachers shall gain a professional voice by working closely with experienced colleagues to chart their own progress through the continuum of skills, knowledge, and abilities associated with each of the six (6) Standards of the Teaching Profession (CSTP) and the California Formative Assessment and Support System for Teachers (CFASST).

4. All activities, communication and documentation between the beginning teacher and the Coach will be strictly confidential, and only a record of participation will be forwarded to the PTS Committee. BTSA activities are not to be used for evaluation purposes.

5. Teachers involved with the BTSA Program will be eligible to earn units through California State University, Sacramento, based on the additional time that they are required to put in to participate in the BTSA Program.

J. Voluntary Tenured Teacher Assistance Program

This component shall provide support to permanent, tenured teachers desiring assistance in improving their teaching practice. Volunteers will receive assistance to improve their instructional skills, classroom management and knowledge of subject.

Teachers can also receive assistance with new programs and how to align their instruction to State Content Standards.

  1. Program examples may include, but are not limited to:

a. Language Arts

b. Freshman Mathematics Courses

c. Specifically Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE)

d. Mathematics in grades 4-12

2. The purpose of the program is to encourage voluntary teacher participation and to give teachers more professional responsibility to support and play a key role in the assistance of their colleagues.

3. The prime focus of the program is to provide an opportunity for permanent teachers to improve their effectiveness through peer assistance.

4. The teachers desiring to participate in the PTS Program shall submit a request to the PTS Committee for approval.

5. A teacher’s participation in the program shall be a maximum of one (1) year.

6. All communications between the Voluntary Teacher and the Coach will be confidential, and shall not be shared with others, including the PTS Committee, without the written consent of the participating teacher.