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BOE OKs changes to contract for staff development software, training that will save $4,405

August 12, 2013

The Washington County Board of Education unanimously approved changes to a contract for staff development software and training that will save the school system $4,405, according to a board presentation document.

The board approved the original 20-month deal with Teachscape, of San Francisco, last October for $395,861. Changes include a $2,805 reduction to waive the setup fee.

The contract also was reduced by $1,600 because the number of users was reduced from 1,700 to 1,500 for this fiscal year, while the number of webinar training sessions was increased from two to four, the document said.

That brings the contract’s new cost to $391,456.

Social workers, occupational therapists and physical therapists were among the users removed from the contract, because Teachscape will focus on classroom teachers, school system officials said.

The contract is being paid for using funding from a federal Race to the Top grant and Title II funds, the document said.

County Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said Teachscape will help principals know how to coach teachers for better performances. Principals across the school system are looking at similar expectations for teachers, even though they have  different students.

Wilcox said the price tag for Teachscape was fairly expensive, but was a fair price. He said the software was an unfunded mandate, a result of educational reform.

Associate Superintendent Mike Markoe said it initially took principals in a pilot program six to seven hours to complete a teacher evaluation, but now they have it down to about 2 1/2 hours.

Administrators will face a learning curve this school year with the new evaluations, he said.

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