ACPS One of Six Districts in Maryland selected to be Part of Initiative to Advance Student Achievement
Superintendent of Allegany County Public Schools, Dr. David Cox, was joined by school board president, Mike Llewellyn, and Allegany County Teachers Association president, Deborah Pappas, at a recent United States Department of Education conference on labor-management held in Denver, Colorado. Allegany County was among 150 school districts across the country and one of only six in Maryland selected to participate in this initiative to advance student achievement. The conference was funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation.
As the first ever of its kind event, the “Advancing Student Achievement through Labor-Management Collaboration” was an effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the Council of the Great City Schools, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the National Education Association, and the National School Boards Association that strived to “transform the relationships among local superintendents, school boards, and teachers into a broad and robust partnership designed to boost student achievement.”
According to Mr. Llewellyn, “The State of Maryland is requiring local jurisdictions to evaluate teachers based on student performance. This was an excellent opportunity to see how other school districts across the country are implementing similar evaluation systems.” He went on to say, “It also opened the door to begin a healthy dialogue between the board, the administration, and the teachers’ union.”
During the two-day conference, attendees had the opportunity to participate in various break-out sessions to hear presentations from other school leaders and to learn from their expertise in the area of labor-management relations. The purpose of the conference was to help districts to work together to design and enact policies that optimize student achievement and share in the responsibility to establish a strong and stable school environment.
Mrs. Pappas stated, “The conference reinforced the idea that trust must enter into the equation of employee-administration relationships to make our school system the best it can be to support our students. It is our responsibility to do whatever it takes to provide great public schools for every child.”
Conference participants were asked to forge new compacts in which boards, administrators, and teachers can build on and use as a vehicle to uphold high academic standards, advance highly qualified teachers, drive instruction, and ultimately make student achievement the heart of their relationship. Components of the compact include: shared responsibility for student success; culture of high academic expectations and respect for education professionals; rigorous curriculum that exceeds benchmarks; belief in education as a valued profession; effective leaders in every school and classroom; valuable professional development; collaborative culture of innovation; resources appropriate to school needs and empowered leadership with respect to those resources; safe and secure professional environments; student responsibility; engaged parents; and accessible and timely information on school and student performance.
Dr. Cox concluded, “Effective collaboration among teachers, educational leaders, and boards to own the achievement of each and every child was the clear focus of the conference. I am pleased that we had the opportunity to learn from and share ideas with school districts across the country.”
Pictured: Dr. David Cox, Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education; Mike Llewellyn, Deborah Pappas.