||Vaughn Next Century Learning Center
Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, located in Pacoima, is a large urban public school within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Since the early 1970’s, low student achievement has been a pattern. In 1993 Vaughn became the first conversion charter school in the nation and was authorized by LAUSD. The charter was renewed in 1998 and again in 2003.
This elementary public school is now a full-service, community-based, PK-12th charter school serving 1,917 neighborhood students (96.9% eligible for free meals, 2.8% eligible for reduced meals, 982 English learners, 156 students with disabilities, 98% Hispanic, 1.6% African-American, 0.1% Asian, 0.3% Other White). Vaughn was awarded the California Distinguished Schools Award in 1996 and the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award in 1997.
In addition to diversifying teacher pay based on alternative evaluation methods, Vaughn also defines teaching environment, teacher training and professional growth and teacher leadership program components.
Teacher teaming and goal-oriented collaboration
Teachers form teams of three teachers responsible for sixty students. Each team consists of an experienced teacher with ten or more years of teaching experience. He or she is partnered up with a teacher with three to five years of experience and one emergency-credentialed, beginning teacher. Each team establishes team goals. The focused, targeted collaboration include
frequent communication, weekly planning, search for common solutions, mutual support and help so as to reach collective goals.
Multiple career opportunities for teachers within the same school
Paraprofessionals with teaching career goal are provided with varied work schedule (morning, afternoon, afterschool) and better compensation so they can complete their studies in a timely manner. Each year, two or three qualified paraprofessionals are selected to fill vacant teacher positions. Often times, the experienced teachers who train them become their team leaders.
Gift of time
The Vaughn school calendar provides four pupil-free days before school begins and 15-20 minimum days throughout the year using banked time. In addition to daily preparation time of thirty minutes before school begins, all teachers receive an hour of common planning time everyday.
Teacher Training and Professional Growth
Teaching standards that link to students' learning standards
Teachers need ongoing feedback about their work and student progress. During the past three years, Vaughn teachers have developed and adopted a set of teaching standards related to lesson planning, classroom management, and various subject areas that are linked to the students' learning standards. Levels of performance in each area are clearly described using a 4-point scale with descriptive rubrics. Teachers know and understanding the collective expectation they have established collectively.
Assistance and performance review
The Peer Assistance and Review System takes place three times per year. Teachers reflect on their own performance and rate themselves using the established teaching standards and scoring rubrics. Selected peer reviewers observe their colleagues and provide feedback as well as assistance. Instructional coordinators also conduct classroom visits and conference with teachers on an ongoing basis. Beginning teachers are assigned one-to-one mentors. Elected grade-level chairpersons are responsible for ensuring that teachers understand and focus on grade-level standards. The Director of Instruction and the Principal conduct weekly visits, monitor progress of beginning teachers, and focus on schoolwide goals. Frequent flow of information and consistent feedback about one's progress is an important step for improvement.
Precise staff development
Based on individual teacher's performance review, each teacher sets his/her specific professional growth goals with the instructional coordinator. Training opportunities include small group workshops, individualized conferencing, observing another teacher, participation in seminars, conducting research, use of technology, and the assignment of a teacher buddy.
State initiative and focus on results
Teachers must base teaching decisions on solid data rather than on assumptions.
A supportive teaching environment, a focused teacher training system, and an
adequate compensation plan cannot happen without good school leaders. Administrators
at Vaughn have realized long ago that sustained reform efforts rely on distributed
leadership. Three decision-making committees were established that form our
governance body. Each committee consists of 50% staff and 50% parents/community
members. The Curriculum and Instructional Committee is the driving force. It
is responsible for curricular design, student learning standards and assessment,
textbook selection, classroom organization and teaching team formation. The
Business and Operation Committee is responsible for all personnel and fiscal
matters, staff evaluation, technology, safety and facilities. The Partnership
Committee is responsible for home-school-community programs, student discipline,
parent education and involvement, and special events. Every three years, a teacher
must serve in a committee for a two-year term. Teachers have decision-making
authority as well as the responsibility to implement action plans. Teachers
with demonstrated skills as effective teachers based on our review system also
serve as mentors and peer reviewers. Teachers with leadership skills usually
become elected grade level chairpersons, faculty representatives, and committee
chairpersons. In addition to a stipend, these teachers are provided with release
time, administrative training, and opportunities to attend or present in conferences
locally, nationally and internationally.
Tools for teachers to succeed
Vaughn has the flexibility to deploy human and fiscal resources to meet priority
needs. To enable teachers meet their professional goals and student achievement
goals, Vaughn provides them with tools including class size of 20:1 in all grades,
a fully-staffed counseling center, a site-based health clinic, a new library,
a teacher resource center, adequate books, materials and supplies, afterschool
tutoring and homework clubs, a 200-day instructional calendar, and a qualified
team of special education teachers who co-teach with the classroom teachers
in an inclusive setting. We have also resolved the multitrack, overcrowding
problem by building two new school buildings and increased the number of classrooms
from 26 to 78.
||Vaughn Next Century Learning Center
In addition to a base pay and extra compensation for certification and advance degrees, Vaughn pays teachers the following:
Skills and knowledge pay
Level 1 skills include literacy, language arts, mathematics, working with special education students in an inclusive setting, classroom management, and lesson planning. A score of 2.5 or higher in the performance review earns $4,300. An overall score of 3.0 in other subject matters (social studies, science, arts, English language learning, physical education) earns another
$5,700. Finally, any fully credentialed teacher whose average in all of the areas is 3.5 or higher earns an additional $4,500. The maximum in bonuses that a teacher can earn by getting top scores on every part of the knowledge and skills review is $14,700.
Teacher can earn a total of $2,000 a year for achieving certain goals in the areas of student attendance, discipline, parental involvement, and for working in teams.
Schoolwide student achievement bonus
All teachers and administrators get an annual bonus of $2,000 if the school as a whole meets the Academic Performance Index goal (API) set by the state regardless how much the state provides. Noncertificated staff and part time staff members also earn a prorated amount.
Teachers in leadership role including grade level chairs, committee chairs, peer reviewers, mentors, faculty representatives receive additional stipends. A teacher who sponsors afterschool clubs, student government, field learning or teaches intersession,
he/she is compensated with $3,500 - $4,000.
Unused sick days will continue to accrue and $250 is provided for every ten unused days as an attendance award. A separate investment account with more than $1,000,000 is set up to guarantee these bonuses when earned. Teachers share the accrued interests as a form of stock option. The amount is estimated at $1,000 per year per teacher.
Based on last year's payroll records (excluding expertise pay), a first year fully-credentialed teacher earns $47,500. A first year emergency-credentialed teacher earns $ 39,500. A teacher with ten years of teaching experience and scores an average of 3.0 earns $63,850.
Vaughn purchased a long-term disability insurance policy for every teacher which provides 60% of their full pay till age 65. In addition, an account with $500,000 in the Los Angeles Teachers' Credit Union was established to guarantee health benefits after retirement.
All full time contracted, salaried staff, including administrators, counselors, clerical, custodial and cafeteria will be compensation based on performance in the same manner that teachers are being compensated.
Source: Vaughn Next Century Learning Center Teaching Quality and Professional Growth and Vaughn Next Century Learning Center Performance Based Pay Rubric