Special Education Caseload Overages

For years, Special Education teachers in our District have stepped up to help with the teacher shortage. While we know that having more teachers would be an ideal situation, we want you to be aware that, for now, you can be compensated for the additional work associated with caseload overages.

Recently, we have received many questions from Special Education teachers about this issue. We wanted to give you some background as well as information on how to receive compensation for your time.

Click here to see the informational flyer.
Click here for APS Time Sheets
Click here for Additional Compensation Forms

District Proposes Insurance Premium Increase in 2019

APS announced that insurance premiums will increase in January. The proposed premium increases vary depending on the category of coverage in which the employee has enrolled. For example, an individual employee would see a $6.13 increase per pay period, while a Family Plan (Employee + 2 or more dependents) would have a $16.55 increase for each pay period. The increases will start with the January 4, 2019 paycheck.

It's important to note that APS is “self-funded” for its medical, prescription drug, dental and vision plans. That is, the District pays all claims for each plan, not the benefit carriers. APS receives a legislative appropriation for its benefit plans, which is not always sufficient. This situation reflects a nationwide problem of health coverage costs increasing at a double-digit rate.

On the heels of our first raise in four years, it’s disheartening to see some of that hard-earned increase get gobbled up by rising insurance costs. And while everyone received a gross pay increase of at least $76.92 per check, it would sure be nicer to keep every needed cent.

ATF has developed a chart showing the current (2018) premium amounts compared with the proposed 2019 premiums for each category of coverage. The insurance premium dollar figures are shown “per pay period” as well as on an “annual” basis.

Click here to download the 2018/2019 Medical Premium Comparison Chart

Prep Time, Class Size & Teaching Load

Prep Time

The demands on our time have grown steadily and this trend makes it even more important to stand up for your right to sufficient prep time. Some things to remember about your prep time (Article 5.C.):

Elementary: Teachers are entitled to a weekly minimum of 220 prep minutes per 5-day week calculated in at least 20-minute increments. If you have early release Wednesdays, you are entitled to a minimum of two consecutive hours of uninterrupted prep time on all modified Wednesdays.

Middle School: Teachers are entitled to a minimum of 225 prep minutes. Teachers are not required to attend Collaboration if the 225 minutes have not been met.

High School Block Schedule: Teachers are entitled to 450 minutes of prep time per two-week work period.

At all levels, time spent in Collaboration is not considered prep time. All preparation time is free from specific duty assignments—this is your time.

If you’re consistently losing prep time, document your loss of time. Use this documentation to support a conversation with your administrator. You must either be compensated for this lost time or come to an agreement with your administrator to adjust for the lost time.

Finally, minimums are not the same as maximums. If your school’s schedule allows for more than the minimum amount of prep time as defined above, that does not mean the “extra” time can be taken from you.

Click here to download the Elementary Prep Time Worksheet.


Class Size and Teaching Load

At the beginning of every school year, student enrollment numbers fluctuate before the first 20-day count. Often, the causes of this are beyond the control of anyone at your school; however, sometimes there are things you can do when you are over your maximum.

If you exceed your maximum class size or teaching load before the first 20-day count, talk with your administrators and work with them to solve the problem. Sometimes, issues with overcrowding or uneven classes can be solved early at the school level, instead of waiting for the 20-day count and disrupting teaching and learning later in the school year.

Welcome Back Checklist! Tips for Arranging Your Classroom

These tips are brought to us by Share My Lesson, a FREE AFT Resource for union members.

Effective classroom arrangement: You have control over how your classroom is arranged. Research shows that effective classroom arrangement maximizes student learning by contributing to good classroom management and supporting effective instruction. This information is based on the research of Carolyn Evertson, Edmund Emmer and Linda Anderson.

Keys to Good Classroom Arrangement:

  1. Avoid unnecessary congestion in group work areas; classroom entrance and exit; pencil sharpener and trash can; lavatory, sink and water fountain; bookshelves, storage and supply stations; special displays; teacher’s desk; and computer stations.
  2. Always have a clear view of students Verify that all students can see instructional displays.
  3. Place learning areas so students can move from one to another with little or no disruption.
  4. Place storage space and necessary materials so they are easily accessible.

Tips for Arranging Furniture:

  1. Make sure all students can see you, the chalk and/or whiteboard(s) and other instructional displays.
  2. Consider potential distractions: windows, doors, etc. Leave walking space around students’ desks.
  3. Position yourself so you can see all students at all times.
  4. Avoid placing learning centers and work areas in “blind corners”.
  5. Seat students who need extra help near you.
  6. Arrange students’ desks in rows facing instructional areas until you’ve learned their names, work habits and personal traits.

Storage Space:

  1. Place instructional materials where they are easily accessible to instructional areas.
  2. If you must use tables or desks with inadequate storage, consider storing student materials in “tote trays” where they will be easily accessible but out of the way.
  3. Provide adequate, conveniently located space for students’ belongings.
  4. Provide easily accessible bookcase shelves for everyday books and materials not kept in students’ desks.
  5. Keep long term, seldom used or special occasion items in a location outside of the classroom.

Other Things to Consider:

  1. Choose a particular spot, easily seen by all students for posting daily assignments (weekly, if possible).
  2. Use walls and bulletin boards to display rules, procedures, assigned duties, a calendar, schedule, student work and extra credit activities.
  3. Use ceiling space to hang mobiles, decorations and student work; use windows to displays or decorations.
  4. Check all electrical equipment to be sure it works, and learn how to use the equipment before using it in class.
  5. Have a sturdy extension cord available if an electrical outlet is not within easy reach.