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Education

Elmhurst District 205 board, teacher's council reach settlement on acceleration period scheduling

ELMHURST – The Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board of Education unanimously approved at its Aug. 28 meeting a settlement agreement with the Elmhurst Teacher's Council regarding a grievance the teacher's council had filed in October 2017.

According to the settlement agreement, the teacher's council filed a grievance on Oct. 6, 2017, on behalf of middle school team leaders, in which it alleged the collective bargaining agreement between the two entities had been violated with the school district's requirement of teachers or team leaders at the middle school level to schedule students during the school day into the acceleration period.

"No teacher shall be assigned duties that are principally clerical in nature, such as collection of monies and evaluation of the physical condition of textbooks or other materials," the collective bargaining agreement states.

The settlement agreement states the board denied any violation of the agreement occurred. The two parties came to an agreement through the mediation step of the district's grievance procedure, in which the teacher's council would withdraw the grievance and acknowledge the issues underlying the grievance have been fully resolved through the settlement, middle school team leaders would schedule students into the acceleration period using a district-provided software program and middle school team leaders would not exchange assigned instructional time for the purpose of completing scheduling-related work.

If issues related to team leaders' scheduling of acceleration periods arise, the issues would first be addressed at the building level, and if they were not resolved, the district's Department of Learning and Teaching would address them, according to the settlement agreement.

The two parties also agreed a middle school team leader stipend level change would be reflected in the new three-year contract of July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2021, between the teacher's council and school board, district spokewoman Bev Redmond said in a phone interview Aug. 30.

"I want to thank the administration for coming to the terms of an agreement, so thanks – I know it took a lot of time," board member Shannon Ebner said at the meeting.

The 30-minute acceleration period, which was rolled out at district middle schools during the 2017-18 school year in three-week sessions as a part of the school day, provided an option of intervention or enrichment opportunities within math and reading.

Executive Director of Research and Program Analysis Mariann Lemke said at the July 17 school board meeting the district plans to extend the three-week sessions to four weeks for the 2018-19 school year because that way, there will be more time for social and emotional learning and the logistics involved in scheduling will be easier, especially since there are some periods when there are holidays or institute days.

The signature of Max Schoenberg, president of the Elmhurst Teacher's Council, appears on the settlement agreement, as dated Aug. 7.

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