Fellows awards highlight need to retain quality teachers in district | SierraSun.com

Fellows awards highlight need to retain quality teachers in district

Six recipients of the Linda Brown Fellows award for outstanding teaching were honored Friday at the 20th anniversary bash for the Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation.

This year’s recipients, and the 31 other teachers previously recognized with the award, represent the creme de la creme of educators in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District ” the teachers who push above and beyond to provide the best experience possible to their students.

The Linda Brown Fellows Award ” a program initiated in 1999 by Scott Ryan, former president of Excellence in Education ” is named after longtime Tahoe Truckee Unified teacher Linda Brown.

Winning educators will receive $2,000 to benefit their own education experience either inside or out of the classroom, and a personal award of $1,000.

But some these teachers and their colleagues are struggling to stay afloat in an expensive community, and without reform, the district will risk losing strong teachers to higher paying districts, say teachers and administrators.

“I’ve been hanging by my fingernails for the past five years,” said recipient Monika Bock, a teacher at Glenshire Elementary.

In order to recruit and retain quality teachers ” a major goal set forth by the district’s proposed strategic plan ” teachers say that a higher pay scale, more recognition, and more collaboration will be necessary.

“There will need to be more support from the district ” recognizing and acknowledging that we are professionals,” said recipient Hien Larson who teaches at Alder Creek Middle School. “I would like to see more [administrators] in the classroom. It affirms that they respect the job and lets them know that the curriculum they’re supplying is money well spent.”

Teachers say they would also like to see collaboration between teachers, staff and administrators. There are already school sites that schedule weekly time for teachers to brainstorm and network, and staff said the opportunity is worth it.

“The best part of this district is the support of the administration and teachers. You are able to have time to collaborate and work together,” Larson said. “We have so many good teachers that you always want to do better.”

The school board has also discussed collaboration as a necessity for keeping teachers alert to curriculum changes, problem students, budding ideas and emotional support.

“I think that a lot of what keeps people fresh is the collaboration time ” training and coaching for classes and specific students,” said board member Kristy Olk. “And once we can get them to an attractive salary schedule ” which is doable and certainly a goal ” we will be better able to recruit (new teachers).”

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