Getting ready for T-TESS

T-TESS, the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System, is coming soon and it promises to be a sea change in the way teachers and instructional leaders work together. About 200 school districts have gotten a leg up by participating in the two-year piloting process with plenty of training and guidance from the Education Service Centers. The remaining 800 plus districts that have not been part of the pilot have a lot of learning and planning to do between now and the start of next school year.

PDAS vs. T-TESS

T-TESS is replacing PDAS (Professional Development and Appraisal System) as the new state recommended model for teacher appraisal. PDAS was adopted by the state in 1997 and no longer reflects the latest research on effective teaching practice. PDAS has been described as a “dog and pony show” or a “gotcha” system where appraisers make cursory observations using checklists on which teachers are trained to perform. Performance results have been largely indistinguishable among teachers and little attention is paid to student learning in the process.

T-TESS aims to change the culture of appraisal to a coaching and development model for teachers. The new system will be more focused and streamlined. While the PDAS rubric includes 51 criteria within eight performance domains, the T-TESS rubric includes 16 criteria within four domains. PDAS ratings were a four-level scale tied to how frequently certain teacher behaviors were observed. T-TESS employs a five-level scale that describes both teacher-centered and student-centered behaviors, and will consider student growth at a later date. Feedback from the pilots indicates that teachers feel the new rubric is more clear and concise and they are getting more useful feedback through post-observation conferences.

Example of Rubrics / Standards for a Proficient Rating in Communication.

Old PDAS Rubric for Proficiency in Communication New T-TESS Rubric for Proficiency in Communication
 
Most of the time:
 
The teacher:
1. The teacher uses appropriate and accurate written communication with students. 1. Uses probing questions to clarify, elaborate learning.
2. The teacher uses appropriate and accurate verbal and non-verbal communication with students. 2. Recognizes possible student misunderstandings and responds with an array of teaching techniques to clarify concepts.
3. The teacher encourages and supports students who are reluctant or having difficulty. 3. Asks remember, understand and apply level questions that focus on the objective of the lesson and provoke discussion.
4. The teacher uses appropriate and accurate written communication with parents, staff, community members, and other professionals. 4. Provides explanations that are clear.
5. The teacher uses appropriate and accurate verbal and non-verbal communication with parents, staff, community members, and other professionals. 5. Uses verbal and written communication that is clear and correct.
6. The teacher’s interactions are supportive, courteous, and respectful with students, parents, staff, community members, and other professionals. 6. Establishes classroom practices that provide opportunities for most students to communicate effectively with the teacher their peers.
 
The Key is in the Rubric
The new evaluation rubric is based on decades of research on effective teaching practice and describes effective teacher practice in these four performance domains:
  • Planning
    • Standards and alignment
    • Data and assessment
    • Knowledge of students
    • Activities
  • Instruction
    • Achieving expectations
    • Content knowledge and expertise
    • Communication
    • Differentiation
    • Monitor and adjust
  • Learning Environment
    • Classroom environment, routines, and procedures
    • Managing student behavior
    • Classroom culture
  • Professional Practices and Responsibilities
    • Professional demeanor and ethics
    • Goal setting
    • Professional development 
    • School community involvement
After the first year of learning and practice with the new rubric, student growth measures will be added to the process beginning in 2017–18. Districts will have a choice of which growth measures to use for which teachers.

Early indicators are that many districts prefer measurable student learning objectives developed by teachers, commonly known as Student Learning Objectives (SLOs). Value-added measures have proven complex, controversial, and costly to implement.

It’s About Time

The biggest challenge commonly cited by pilot districts is the amount of time that will be required from appraisers to effectively implement the T-TESS process. Estimates have ranged from four to eight hours per teacher required for an appraiser to complete a full appraisal process, which includes a pre-observation conference, formal observation, post-observation conference, and end-of-year conference. Contrast this with one to three hours for the PDAS process, with more opportunity for bypassing or short-cutting observations and conferences, and it is clear that districts will have to invest more time into T-TESS.

Local Control Galore

Getting ready for T-TESS also means making lots of local policy and procedural decisions, the first of which is whether to use T-TESS at all, or an alternative system developed locally. Districts have the option of using alternative systems at the district or campus level provided the local system will meet state standards. Early polls have indicated that about eighty percent of districts are planning to adopt T-TESS as their local teacher appraisal system next year.

Plenty of other local decisions will also have to be made such as:
  • Who will be the appraisers for each campus
  • Setting the annual appraisal calendar
  • What to use for student growth measures for each teacher (effective 2017–18) and how much growth to expect
  • Whether to calculate a single summative appraisal rating and how
  • How many observations will be required and for which teachers
  • Whether teachers must be given advance notice of observations
  • Whether and under what conditions veteran teachers can receive less frequent appraisals
  • Who will conduct second appraisals if requested by a teacher

To Sum or Not to Sum It Up

The issue of whether or not to summarize a teacher’s evaluation into a single overall performance rating has been a subject of discussion during the pilot process. The proposed rules now call for leaving this decision up to local districts.
Tim Regal is the TEA director in charge of T-TESS development. Regal explained that feedback received from principals indicated that sometimes dimension ratings had been manipulated under PDAS to ensure that teachers ended up with a good score overall and many principals feel that it would be demoralizing to label teacher performance. Based on that feedback, TEA staff decided that it was better to protect the integrity of dimension feedback by leaving a summative scoring system out of it. Regal explained “The feedback for a teacher does not change just because there is no summative score. This is a system about development—not about labels and ranking and sorting.”

Lessons Learned from the Pilots

The pilot districts have been providing feedback all along the way to TEA and to the non-pilot districts by sharing their lessons learned. These are some of the most important.

Appraisers will improve with practice. Using the new rubric requires learning new skills and that will take time and practice on the part of the appraisers. The process should take less time after appraisers have a year or two under their belt.

Communicate with teachers early and often. Being evaluated is uncomfortable and threatening for most people. Teachers will be more positive and comfortable with T-TESS the more they understand it. Rhonda McWilliams, executive director of human resources in Pflugerville ISD, advises management to get a head start by introducing teachers to the new rubric at every faculty meeting this spring and then continuing the discussions next school year and beyond. Pflugerville developed an orientation video for their teachers, PfISD Transition to TTESS, and put it on YouTube and the district website.

Keep talking about the rubric. Savvy pilot districts have broken down the rubric into bite size pieces for administrators and teachers to learn and discuss the meaning and expectations of the different performance levels. This helps to calibrate expectations and relieve teacher anxiety.

Messaging to teachers is important. Regal believes it is important for districts to convey the message to teachers that it is okay to be wherever they are on the appraisal rating scale. Research shows that it takes about five years in the classroom for most beginning teachers to become proficient in their practice. Thus, being rated as a developing teacher for novices should not be considered a bad thing.

Recalibrate performance expectations. Under PDAS, nearly every teacher was rated as Exceeds Expectations or higher. Under T-TESS, the median rating of Proficient is the expected level for a fully developed teacher. Pilot results are showing less inflated appraisal scores than under PDAS and teachers need to understand that the old Exceeds Expectations will now be the new Proficient.

Investing More in Teacher Development
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The pilot districts say that T-TESS is a much better system. Teachers say that the conferencing helps them to understand the feedback they receive and how to get better. Appraisers say that the system takes a lot more time but it is worth it. When it comes to coaching and developing our teachers to become more effective with their students, what could possibly be a better investment of our time and money?


ACA Reporting: Frequently Asked Questions

As the reporting deadlines under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) near, many school districts are finalizing Forms 1094-B, 1094-C, 1095-B, and 1095-C as appropriate. Because employers are complying with the instructions from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the first time this year, many questions have arisen. The following questions are some of the most frequently asked questions TASB Legal Services has heard from districts during the past few weeks.     

1) When are the reporting and transmittal forms due?

 On December 28, 2015, the IRS announced that employers have additional time to comply with the 2015 ACA information reporting requirements.  Specifically, the IRS extended the deadline to distribute Form 1095-C (and Form 1095-B, if applicable) to employees from February 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016.  The deadline to file Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C with the IRS was extended from February 29, 2016 to May 31, 2016 if filed on paper and from March 31, 2016 to June 30, 2016 if filed electronically.  The IRS indicated that it does not anticipate any additional extensions relating to ACA information reporting. See IRS Notice 2016-4 (Dec. 28, 2015). 

2) In Part II of Form 1095-C, line 16, which 4980H Safe Harbor provision should we use?

 Under the ACA, an employer must offer affordable insurance to its employees or face an affordability penalty. The determination of whether insurance is affordable is based on the employee's household income, an amount that includes not only the employee's take-home pay but also income earned through other sources, such as income earned by family members. Because employers cannot accurately determine an employee’s total household income, the IRS has provided three safe harbors that employers may rely upon to calculate affordability:  the rate of pay safe harbor, the federal poverty line (FPL) safe harbor, and the W-2 safe harbor. See Internal Revenue Service, Instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C (Feb. 23, 2016).
 
For most districts, the 2H rate of pay safe harbor is the best method for determining if the lowest cost, employee-only insurance premium is affordable for a particular employee. Instead of running the affordability calculation for each individual employee, the district may simply determine the lowest rate of pay that will meet the affordability threshold for the month.

Though not as simple to calculate as the FPL safe harbor, the employee’s monthly household income calculated under this method will typically be higher than that used by the FPL safe harbor, resulting in less burden on the district to pay more toward employee premiums so that they may be affordable. Unlike the W-2 method, the rate of pay safe harbor can be applied prospectively, and it does not require the district to take into account pre-tax deductions selected by individual employees or deductions that result in decreasing the employee’s monthly household income used to determine affordability.

The fact that an hourly employee’s monthly household income under the rate of pay safe harbor is always calculated using the applicable rate of pay times an assumed 130 work hours provides consistency in planning employer premium contributions and allows for an employee who works variable hours to work less during a particular month without changing the affordability of the insurance premiums.
 
The rate of pay safe harbor method is not without its drawbacks. For example, it method may not be used for exempt employees whose monthly salary is reduced for any reason.  In addition, as the calculation assumes that an hourly employee works 130 hours per month, in the case of employees with variable hours, you may not use any hours worked over 130 during a month to determine affordability. As a result, in some cases an employee’s take-home pay may be underestimated so that the insurance premiums may be deemed unaffordable when they are really not. 

3) Is there a circumstance when the district would leave line 16 of the 1095-C form, Part II blank?

 Yes. There is no requirement to enter a code in line 16 if none of the codes apply. If the district does not fill in this portion of the form, it is essentially conceding that it may owe a penalty for failing to offer affordable coverage for that month. See Internal Revenue Service, Instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C (Feb. 23, 2016). 

4) Who is responsible for the enrollment information captured in Part III of Form 1095-C, the employer or the insurer?

 It depends. If an employer’s health plan is fully-insured, the health plan is responsible for enrollment reporting for all enrollees in the plan. If the plan is self-insured, the employer is responsible for the enrollment reporting for that plan and large employers, those with more than 50 full-time employees, must submit a 1095-C with Part III completed for all employees and their dependents who enrolled in the plan. 
 
TRS has indicated that under federal law, the TRS PPO plans under TRS-ActiveCare (TRS-ActiveCare 1-HD, TRS-ActiveCare Select, and TRS-ActiveCare 2) are self-insured plans, while the HMO plans are fully-insured. Therefore, if the district is a TRS ActiveCare district, the district must report enrollment information for all employees and their dependents who enroll in a PPO plan, whether those employees are working full-time or part-time. See Teacher Retirement System of Texas PPACA Reporting Under IRC Section 6055 and 6056 (April 29, 2015).
 
However, if the district properly delegated the enrollment reporting for the self-insured plans to TRS by November 1, 2015, TRS is the designated governmental entity for purposes of ACA enrollment reporting. 26 C.F.R. 1.6055-1(c)(2)(ii).  If the district delegated this responsibility, the district will leave Form 1095-C Part III blank, and TRS will report the enrollment information for all enrollees on the district’s behalf. 
 
TRS will report the enrollment information for all enrollees in the HMO plans. The district will leave Form 1095-C Part III blank. Note that self-insured districts with less than 50 full time employees must file a Form 1095-B on all persons who enrolled in the coverage. 

5) What should the district list in the certification of eligibility, line 22 of the 1094-C transmittal form?

 Part II of 1094-C is used to collect identifying information for the district. Line 22 is where the district indicates the applicable certifications of eligibility. Of the four certifications of eligibility, districts will most likely be claiming 4980H transition relief, if any. 
 
Two types of Section 4980H transition relief, both based on the size of the employer, may be claimed through this indicator at Line 22. The first type is available to districts that have 50-99 full time equivalent employees in 2014 and that meet certain statutory requirements.

Such districts are exempt from the requirement to offer coverage and the affordability requirement until the first day of the 2016 plan year. The institution must file a certification with the IRS in early 2016 to take advantage of this extension.
 
The second type of transition relief may be claimed at Line 22 by districts with 100 or more full time equivalent employees in 2014. A district that qualifies for this relief may avoid the penalty for failure to offer coverage for the 2015 plan year if it offers insurance to at least 70% of its full-time employees as of the first day of the 2015 plan year. 
 
Districts with additional questions should contact TASB Legal Services at 800.580.5345.


Discrimination charges continue to rise in Texas

With the highest number of discrimination charges in almost every major category, Texas is the state with perhaps the greatest need for Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) training.

A recent report from the Seyfarth Shaw law firm in Chicago shows that Texas led the nation in discrimination charges based on race or color, gender, disability, and age. Texas also finished second in religious discrimination charges and third in national origin discrimination charges. Between 2009–2014, Texas has led the nation in charges filed, averaging 9.4 percent of the nation's total each year.

State population size certainly plays a part in the high quantity of filings, but it does not exonerate Texas for its sizeable number of complaints. California does not lead in discrimination charges in any category, despite having roughly 12 million more people than Texas.

On a national scale, retaliation charges increased by five percent in 2015. The upward trend is likely because of the Supreme Court siding with the employee in each retaliation case over the last 10 years.

With the increasing number of claims, the EEOC is pushing to end this type of discrimination by proposing updated enforcement guidance on what constitutes as unlawful retaliation. The new guidance makes it easier for employees to understand what is allowed and what is illegal, and consequently encourages them to participate in employer internal investigations without fear of repercussions.

There are four elements of retaliation in the EEOC guidance:

  • Protected activity
    • A complaint or other EEO activity protected by the law occurring prior to the employer’s alleged retaliatory adverse action.
  • Adverse action
    • Any action that would deter said protected activity, such as denial of promotion, refusal to hire, denial of job benefits, demotion, suspension and discharge.
  • Causal connection
    • There has to be a connection; a materially adverse action does not violate the EEO laws unless the employer took the action because the charging party engaged in protected activity. Basically, a retaliation claim is only valid if the employee was fired for an activity protected by the law.
  • Liability
    • Employer liability requires that the retaliation was committed by someone with explicit or implicit delegated authority.

To address all legally protected groups, expanding the equal opportunity statement on applications and postings is a move TASB HR Services suggests making. A sample posting would look similar to this:

Applicants for all positions are considered without regard to race, color, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, religion, age, disability, genetic information, veteran or military status, or any other legally protected status. Additionally, the district does not discriminate against an applicant who acts to oppose such discrimination or participates in the investigation of a complaint related to a discriminating employment practice.

 Information vital to ensuring compliance in the workplace and subsequently reducing the number of discrimination charges in the state is available in the HR Library. Topics to refer to include:
In addition, Accommodating Disabilities in the Workplace, a recorded webinar is available now on the TASB HR Services website. 

 

Revisit your reference-checking procedures before peak hiring season

School HR departments will soon be headed full-speed into another hiring cycle in preparation for the 2016‒17 school year. This is a good time for HR departments to review their reference-checking process to ensure they get pertinent feedback on the suitability of the candidates they want to hire.
 
As with all HR processes, there are important dos and don’ts to keep in mind. The dos are as follows: 

  • Contact applicants to let them know their references will be contacted to avoid breaking the news.
  • Conduct reference checks on all candidates. Ask for at least three references per candidate.
  • Speak to people who worked with the candidate daily within the last five to seven years, particularly supervisors.
  • Ask job-related questions, tailored to the position the individual will fill in your district.
  • Pay attention to what references don’t say. Very general, hesitant, or neutral responses might indicate that the employee was a mediocre performer.
  • Ask behavior-based, open-ended questions, such as, “How would you describe John’s performance?”
  • When hiring teachers, ask for teacher evaluation records.
The don’ts are as follows: 
  • Avoid yes or no questions.
  • Don’t forget that the references given by your applicant often have a positive bias. Build rapport with them to get a balanced picture of an applicant.
  • Don’t hold it against a candidate if an employer does not allow employees to give meaningful references. Just ask for an additional reference.
  • Don’t use electronic media to screen candidates without establishing rules:
    • Limit searches to information in the public domain.
    • Don’t ask for user names or passwords to access private social media sites.
    • The person who will decide whether to hire an applicant should not conduct online searches. That way, he or she won’t accidentally learn of information that can’t legally be used in a hiring decision.
  • Don’t forget to ask the reference if anything else should be discussed as you wrap up the conversation. This is your last chance to get information of value.
Common questions to ask of references include the following:
  • What are your overall impressions of the candidate?
  • What were his or her job responsibilities?
  • Was he or she successful in his or her role? Why or why not?
  • What was it like to supervise the person?
  • Was the person a valuable member of the team? Why or why not?
  • What unique skills did he or she bring to your organization?
  • What were his or her strengths?
  • What were his or her weaknesses or areas that needed improvement?
  • Was the person ever disciplined? If so, what were the circumstances?
  • Do you think the person is suitable for the job he or she applied for?
  • Why did the person leave?
  • Would you rehire him or her?
For additional information on checking references, consult the HR Library’s Employment Reference Check page (member log-in required). 

Strong social media practices beneficial to district employers

Filtering through a prospective employee’s social media accounts can convey a great deal about a person and prevent a regrettable hire, but school district administrators must proceed with caution.

To avoid charges of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, or age, any district official involved in the hiring process should abstain from social media searches. Instead, an HR representative or other third party should handle the online reviewing of candidates and simply inform the supervisor whether or not the applicant is eligible for hire.

A report from the Pew Research Center indicates that nearly 90 percent of American adults ages 18–29 use social media platforms, and with nationwide teacher shortages, many districts are turning to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to recruit college students and recent graduates.

The recruitment of young adults via social media is a relatively new concept, but certainly has its advantages. Contacting those new to the job market through a medium they spend hours a day on, districts have an opportunity to reach these future teachers early, rather than waiting for an application to come in. This process, like the filtering of applicants, also should be carried out by employees not taking part in the interviewing and hiring process to avoid potential discrimination and retaliation issues.

Additionally, the recruitment of teachers through social media increases the chances of further diversifying staff. In the social media world, diversity abounds with 65 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of African-Americans using these outlets.

Even if school districts are not actively seeking out future teachers through social media messaging, simply posting a job vacancy through those outlets can still benefit their search. A recent Pew Research report stated that 35 percent of social media users have utilized those platforms to look for work and 21 percent have applied for a job they found through social media.

TASB has some recommendations for districts looking to hire through this route:

  • Be consistent and conduct searches for all applicants in a designated category.
  • Verify that information gathered relates to the specific individual who is the target of the search.
  • Establish which sites and search engines will be used to conduct the search.
  • Ensure only job-related information is considered and information that may lead to illegal discrimination is not considered.
  • Identify what types of information will be deemed relevant for a particular position.
  • Establish what information will be reported to decision makers and how the information will be used.
  • Designate an individual, other than those directly involved with the hiring decision, to conduct the search (HR staff, secretary).
Following these guidelines will ensure a legal and thorough experience in searching for quality teachers. More helpful resources like these can be found online in the Recruiting and Hiring section of the HR Library. 

HR Extras

Educators Rising focused on recruiting home-grown teachers


The growing need for teachers across the country is prompting creative directives to help fill vacant positions in the classroom.

One organization is looking to recruit from within by working with school districts to provide resources and services to high school students interested in teaching for a career.

Educators Rising, a national network relaunched last August, is a free service that connects district officials and teachers with the essentials needed for developing student interest in education as a profession. The network is made up of approximately 11,000 members, with student participants, teachers, and administrators in roughly 850 schools.

The organization offers national competitions, conferences, scholarships, and an honors society to its members. This year, they have introduced a micro-credentialing system to assist students in tracking the skills they have acquired. The general goal of Educators Rising is to engage students with a rigorous, authentic, hands-on opportunity to explore teaching.

High schools affiliated with the organization create and operate their own teacher preparation programs and elective courses. On a national scale, Educators Rising helps its members by providing lesson plans and teaching materials created by experts in the field.

Generating interest in teaching from the youth is another way organizations are attacking the shortage, and time will reveal how effective this movement is in producing a higher quantity of talented young teachers. 

Interim hearing scheduled on study of TRS health care plans

The joint interim committee to study the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) health benefit plans will meet April 13.

The committee of legislators was created to review and propose reforms to the TRS-Care and TRS-ActiveCare programs. It will examine the cost and affordability of plan coverage and the feasibility of allowing districts to opt out, among other issues. 

Pubic testimony related to TRS-ActiveCare will be heard at 1 p.m. in Room E2.012 of the Capitol Extension. Check here for the live (or archived) broadcast of the meeting.  

The joint interim committee members include:
  • Senator Joan Huffman (co-chair)
  • Representative Dan Flynn (co-chair)
  • Senator Jane Nelson
  • Senator Craig Estes
  • Representative Trent Ashby
  • Representative Justin Rodriguez
A report of the committee’s findings and recommendations will be submitted to the lieutenant governor, speaker, and governor by January 15, 2017.

Texas cities ranked among the best places to find a job

A recent report from WalletHub, a personal finance website, found that Texas is the place to be for those seeking employment.

Analysts from the organization compared 150 of the most populated cities across 17 key metrics, including job opportunities, monthly median starting salary, and employment growth to find the best and worst places to work in the country. Three out of the top five cities were in Texas with Plano at No. 1, Austin at No. 3, and Irving at No. 4.

Most cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were ranked in the top-50, and West Texas had a good showing with Amarillo coming in at No. 13 and Lubbock at No. 42. Coastal cities like Houston and Corpus Christi also did well in the rankings, earning the No. 25 and No. 43 spots in the poll, respectively. 

HR manager named one of best jobs for 2016

A study conducted by Glassdoor ranked human resources manager as the sixth best job in the country this year.

The rankings were based off of earning potential, number of job openings, and career opportunity ratings. The human resources manager position boasts 3,468 job openings, a median salary of $85,000 per year, and a career opportunity rating of 3.7. These statistics cultivated a 4.6 rating on a 5.0 scale for the job.

Preceding HR manager on the list were data scientist, tax manager, solutions architect, engagement manager, and mobile developer coming in at No. 5.


Q&A: Timing of conference under T-TESS

Q. Under the new T-TESS appraisal system, does the end-of-year conference have to be completed before we can recommend nonrenewal of a teacher's contract to the Board of Trustees?
 
A. Not necessarily. District administrators typically begin their internal discussions about contract renewal in February. There are no statutes or regulations that would require the end-of-year T-TESS conference to be completed before a recommendation for contract nonrenewal is made. The relevant statutes simply require the Board to consider the most recent evaluations if the evaluations are relevant to the reason for term contract nonrenewal, and to use consecutive appraisals from more than one year, if available, in making any contract employment decisions. TEC 21.203(a) and 21.352(e)

For probationary contracts, no stated reason is required for termination at the end of a school year. For term contracts, most district local policies (see DFBB) identify up to 37 different reasons for nonrenewal of a teacher’s contract and require that administrative recommendations for nonrenewal be supported by any relevant documentation. Thus, the evidence needed depends on the reason for recommending nonrenewal.

There are four domains on the T-TESS rubric and the first three are based on observations and data collected throughout the school year. If the reason for nonrenewal was poor teaching practice, the first three domains should provide evidence of such. Appraisers would be wise to focus their time and attention on suspect performers sooner in the school year than later. Domain Four is evaluated during the end-of-year conference and focuses on a teacher’s professional practices and responsibilities and, beginning in 2017–18, student growth outcomes. The formal observations preceding this conference, walkthroughs, and other evidence of teaching practice should be able to support a nonrenewal recommendation due to poor classroom teaching skills.
 

Inside HR Services

HR Survey in DataCentral covers teacher professional development practices

Our latest HR Survey provides an in-depth look at teacher professional development from an HR perspective. Take part to find out what other districts are doing in regard to compensation for professional development, scheduling, instructional waivers and early release days, and more. Visit DataCentral and go to the HR Data page to take the survey.

Use a peer review to improve your HR organization and operations

One of the consulting services we provide to our members is an HR department review conducted by a team of experienced human resource professionals. This external review can provide district leaders with benchmarking information, objective insights, and practical suggestions to make HR operations more strategic and efficient. Each review is uniquely planned and customized to meet the needs of the district. An HR review can be broad or narrow in scope and can focus on compliance or strategic issues or both. A list of services provided during our peer review process is available on our website or by calling us at 800.580.7782.

Welcome our new communications specialist

Please join us in welcoming Zach DiSchiano to the HR Services team as our new communication specialist. Zach is responsible for managing our web content, social media accounts, and serves as the editor of the HR Exchange. Prior to joining TASB Zach worked as a journalist, page designer, and copy editor. He also is the publisher and editor of a website covering youth basketball in Texas. Zach graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in electronic media and communications and is originally from Austin.