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Up-to-Date Online Grades, Slight Pay Increase Part of New Teachers' Contract

Online grades and homework assignments are just two of the items agreed to as part of a new 3-year negotiated contract between the Sharon Teachers’ Association and the Sharon Public Schools.

The deal comes after about a year and a half of negotiations which saw the previous school year end without an agreement but with one possible by the end of the calendar year.

“We all felt that returning to the table in the fall would result in positive conversation which it did so by mid-late November, we had a new memorandum of agreement,” Sharon Superintendent Timothy Farmer said at a recent school committee meeting.

STA had voted for the agreement in late December shortly before the holiday break.

As part of the agreement, all teachers and unit B members of STA will receive a two percent increase in pay for three years starting with fiscal year 2014.

Starting in the fourth quarter of this school year, teachers in the high school and middle school will begin to POST homework assignments and grades online.

“It won’t be a situation where a parent will have to go to five different websites if their child has five different teachers. We have a system where the teacher places a date on the homework and all that assimilates and the parent can go to one site,” Farmer said.

For the grades, parents will no longer have to wait for progress reports and report cards to see their children’s grades. Farmer said there will be a protocol that will be shared with parents for the time allowed for teachers to update grades after assignments and tests.

According to Farmer, many teachers already put homework and grades online but it is now mandatory for all teachers. Both programs will be operating in full force for the 2014-15 school year after their initial piloting and implementation later this year.

A position for a facilitator for the English language learner population has been added. Due to the workload involved with the position, the stipend is $3,630 a year compared to $1,800. A nurse facilitator position has also been created with one of the five nurses in the school system expected to take the nurse leader position.

A task force will be implemented to look at possibly extending the work day for elementary school teachers to seven hours from the current 6:40 as dictated by their contracts. 

Farmer also said the schools may look at if devices like iPads and smart phones have a place in the classroom, how they can be implemented, and if every student can have access to the devices.

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