Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

December 27, 2012

3-3 schedule through its first semester

All Andover High School teachers have been teaching three classes this first semester and will teach another three next semester, following a contract agreement reached back in July after a long and at times bitter negotiation.

For the first half of 2012, perhaps no story so consistently captured the attention of Andover residents -- long known for their interest in town education -- as the difficult contract negotiations between the teachers union and the town.

However, since the beginning of the school year, said Paula Colby-Clements, School Committee chairwoman, “People have been going about their business and trying to put that long and arduous process behind them.”

The change to teaching three courses each semester, instead of just two courses and having a duty one of those semesters was a sticking point in negotiations. That change “has been very hard” for high school teachers, said Kerry Costello, teachers union president. “Not only is it a 20-percent increase in teaching time, it’s 28 to 29 more students in the additional class.”

With a deal in place, there is no need for the two sides to meet for contract bargaining — at least until the 2014-15 school year, the final year of the current contract, according to Colby-Clements.

However, bargaining is expected between the AEA and school officials in 2013 over a new teacher evaluation model required by the state. That will need to be implemented by September, according to Costello.

The sides also are gearing up for bargaining to create a new high school schedule format as a schedule committee looks at options to be implemented for the 2014-15 school year, Costello said.

The high school has a new leader in Christopher Lord, hired effective July 1 after two years of interim leadership from retired principal Tom Sharkey. The high school’s reaccreditation visit occurred earlier this month.

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