BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – With Fort Madison school teachers embarking on all kinds of personal development programming including guiding coalitions and teacher leadership groups, the associates that support teaching activities are being challenged this year as well.
As part of the district’s Stronger Together campaign, the push for higher quality teaching standards and protocols, the district’s associates were challenged to improve their standing as well.
In 2017 only 10% of the districts paraeducators, or classroom associates either had two years of college, an associate’s degree, a paraeducator endorsement from the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, or had achieved a least a bronze score on the National Career Readiness Certificate.
The NCRC was developed in conjunction with the ACT program to show college and career competence. The NCRC has platinum, silver, gold and bronze completion levels.
According to Rachel Goldstick, a marketing officer with FMCSD, the school currently has 91 total classroom associates and at the beginning of the year only about 10% met those “highly qualified” requirements.
Some of the associates are in clerical or temporary positions that aren’t included in the new benchmarks.
Of the remaining 71, 90% now meet one or more of the highly qualified benchmarks that were put in place by the district.
“At the beginning of the year we had just nine associates highly qualified,” Goldstick said. “We set the new benchmark for the fall of 2019.
Kim Harmon, the district’s curriculum director said the district has 91 associates district-wide and 11 of them are in clerical or temporary positions or are on probationary status and are not being required to be “highly qualified”.
“Of the 80 remaining, 10 of our associates have an associates degree or higher. The remaining 70 were asked to take the NCRC and score a bronze level or higher,” Harmon said.
The district organized and conducted NCRC test dates in the district on early out days in September, October, and November. Associates signed up to take the test on one of those dates and 63 associates successfully attained highly qualified status during these tests.