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TASPA 2019 Winter Conference Topics at a Glance


2019 Winter Conference Topic Descriptions


No Magicians in HR: Teachers Don’t Disappear…They’re Documented - Dr. Tyrone Sylvester, Goose Creek CISD
Have you ever received a phone call from a campus principal in March wanting a teacher non-renewed or terminated in April with no signed documentation? In Goose Creek CISD, we believe that early assessment of teacher performance and implementation of a performance improvement plan are critical to the employment decision-making process. In this session, attendees will receive insight into Goose Creek CISD’s strategic approach to addressing teacher performance by ensuring that teachers are given reasonable opportunities to remediate any observed deficiencies and adequate documentation exists to support any adverse employment actions that are warranted.


Compensation for Campus Leadership - Luz Cadena, TASB
Campus leaders are essential to ensuring student achievement in measurable ways.  How do you know if they are competitively paid?  What factors should be considered in determining pay for principals and assistant principals? How was their pay impacted after the effects of HB 3?  This session will concentrate on how principals are paid and some creative ways to reward these crucial campus leaders. 


You Don’t Have to Go Home, but You Can’t Stay Here—Options for Ending the Employment Relationship - Leandra Ortiz, Walsh Gallegos
Ending the employment relationship can be complicated.  While there are a number of options available to a school district, depending on the employee's employment status, some options may be more attractive than others.  This presentation will review the types of employment relationships and options for ending or changing the employment relationship.


Starting from Scratch: Transitioning to a New TPA - Welch Carpenter & Tamira Griffin,  McKinney ISD, Richard Peace & Blake Denby, FBS
Despite our best attempts to make things work, the district has decided it needs a new third party administrator for employee benefits. There are lots of reasons this can happen. Wanting to be good stewards of the district‚Äôs resources, we often try to take care of things on our own or we may let ‚Äúissues‚Äù linger with a TPA that has been in place for far too long. Hear one district‚Äôs story of how it got to that decision point and how it partnered with a TPA to completely transform not only the open enrollment process but also employees‚Äô perceptions of their benefit offerings. 


Stay Interviews - What? How? Why? - Maria Gamell & Dr. Deborah Dockens, EMS ISD

Losing a valuable employee can have a big impact on our district team. It presents the challenge of finding and training the appropriate replacement. A stay interview is a structured discussion between leadership and employees. It is intended to identify specific actions that can strengthen an employee's engagement and retention and prevent "regrettable loss", within the district. Stay interviews enable leadership to be out in front with their employees and provides understanding of what drives them. The tool creates a platform for open, candid dialogue around employee retention. As a district we continue to offer the traditional exit interviews and engagement surveys. Stay interviews have been added to bring a focus to staff morale and engagement within the district.


It's Getting Harder to recruit in Texas - what can we do now? - Dave Saba, Stephanie James,Texas Teachers

Full employment, millennials, TEA rule changes, decreasing enrollment in ed schools, increasing student enrollment - all are making it harder to make sure every child has a great teacher.  What is driving current trends and how we can make sure we have the talent we need in our schools. We surveyed over 3,000 Texas Teachers alumni and 1,000 unenrolled candidates to learn more about their thoughts on teaching.  Let's figure out how to attract more people into teaching.


Employee Engagement is MORE than a buzzword, Just turn the light ON! - Sandra Moore & Misty Wilson, Richardson ISD
We all know employee engagement and staff retention are connected. When employees are not engaged at work, they have little incentive to stay. Even pay increases often cannot keep an employee who is not engaged, especially if they don’t see the long-term benefits of staying in the organization. Satisfying work environments, a sense of community, and clear development pathways are key! With intentional efforts, improving employee engagement is possible. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will immediately fix the culture; however, we think we have found a starting point to begin the transformation.


A Sustainable Master Teacher Program for Content Areas - Joe Palmer, Temple ISD
There are many great ideas regarding the identification and facilitation of the master teacher model. However, in the majority of situations the programs are not sustainable. Temple ISD has developed several a model that will identify the top teachers on each campus, schedule them to have opportunity to lead PLCs, model class instruction as well as pay them an amount that is comparable to a district positions. The primary goal of the program is to keep the best teachers in the classroom while giving them opportunity to lead other teachers especially those new to the profession. As the plan was piloted, it was also discovered that the campus was able to improve significantly on their State tests results as well as cut the teacher turnover numbers significantly. This model is usable in any size district and the cost is both practical and sustainable through current budgets.  It also does not deplete a campus of their veteran, distinguished teachers.


Practical Certification Tips for HR Leaders - Jennifer Barton & Cheryl Hoover, TASB
In the face of hiring challenges, many districts are turning to non-traditional pathways to certify teachers.  This interactive, scenario-based session will provide guidance on how to navigate certification rules and apply them to a variety of certification issues and situations. Participants will leave with knowledge of certification basics, strategies for certifying uncertified teachers, and tips for special situations related to teacher certification.


Understanding the WHY: cultivating a culture in the Human Resources Department that impacts student learning - Casey O'Pry, Clear Creek ISD
Ever wonder why your Human Resources department has high turnover? Do you have Human Resources team members that do the very minimum at work? Is it possible that your department members do not truly understand the critical role they play in student achievement?  Discover how the Clear Creek I.S.D. has provided professional learning to Human Resources staff to help them understand the 'Why" in their work. See how this effort has resulted in a department culture that ultimately enhances student performance. 


Addressing Unique and Difficult HR Situations: You Can't Make This Stuff Up! - April Mabry & Keith McLemore TASB HR
HR Services gets a variety of calls, including many involving unique situations that require creative solutions. With the help of experienced TASB HR Services consultants, participants will review actual questions and scenarios to identify how to effectively and compliantly handle issues related to leave, FLSA, grievances, hiring, criminal background checks, and sexual harassment.


Let's Get Ethical: Preventing, Identifying, and Addressing Educator Misconduct - Tyler Ezell, Eichelbaum Wardell Hansen Powell & Munoz
Participants of this session will experience and participate in an engaging discussion about educator misconduct.  During this presentation, we work through scenarios of educator misconduct while considering relevant portions of model district policy. 


Coaching for Excellence - Bobbi Russell Garcia, Ysleta ISD

A strategic approach designed to assist employees in positively modifying their behavior and/or performance in order to meet the expectations and standards of the school district through the use of encouragement, counseling, direction and documentation.


iteachTEXAS - Moving forward January 2020, - Kay Clark iteachTexas

How will the new rules on testing affect our candidates and moving through the certification process.


Frontline Tips & Tricks to help your District take full advantage of your Recruiting, Hiring, & Onboarding efforts!, - Mitchell Welch, Frontline

The Workshop will demonstrate best practices around Frontline Recruiting & Hiring and Frontline Central to help take your work to the next level as you prepare for the upcoming hiring season.


Updates on Educator Certification and other TEA/SBEC highlights - Marilyn Cook, TEA
This general session will provide educator certification updates and share other important TEA/SBEC highlights as we enter the new year.


The Do Not Hire Registry and New Requirements for Reporting Misconduct, - David Rodriguez & Lizet Hinojosa, TEA
The 86th Texas Legislature added new requirements for Superintendents, Directors, and Principals to report educator misconduct to TEA/SBEC. The legislation also required TEA to create an online "Do Not Hire Registry". This presentation will discuss implementation of the new laws in detail and answer questions on other topics pertaining to investigations of educator misconduct.


Changes in Payroll and HR from the 86th Legislature and Federal Law - Amy Campbell & Erin Kolecki, TASB HR
The director and a consultant from TASB HR Services consultants will share information about a wide variety of changes to state and federal law, including the new minimum salary schedule, processing surcharges for retire-rehires, new TRS rules on 403b providers, FLSA salary threshold changes, teacher incentive allotment, and more. Consultants will dive deeper into the impacts of these changes, including how to prepare for unintended consequences.


HR2U - Taking the show on the road!-  Dr. Elaine Howard, Debbie Burrow & Tina Martin, Boerne ISD

What happens when the HeaRt of HR meets it's employees where they work? Boerene ISD shares it's approach to concierge HR services through it's HR2U customer service initiative. 


Service Animals as a Workplace Accommodation - Jennifer Powell, Eichelbaum
The use of service animals has become more prevalent in our society. But special considerations are at play when an employee seeks to bring a service animal into the workplace.  Attendees of this session will learn about how to engage in the interactive process with employees related to service animals, including the permissible inquiries that can be made.


Managing Employees’ Use of Social Media—Do You Have a Game Plan? -Melanie Charleston, Walsh Gallegos
Social media can be a powerful communication tool.  It can also disrupt the educational environment if not used appropriately.  This presentation will exam the legal issues related to employees' rights of free speech, student privacy, appropriate professional boundaries, and other legal issues that arise when public employees engage in social media.

Meeting the Challenges of Hiring Teachers in Rural Texas - Madalyn Maresh & Robert Oconnor, Edna ISD

Edna ISD uses a multi faceted approach to hiring and luring teachers to rural Texas. This includes an aggressive social media/ branding campaign with early hiring practices and authority with enhance stipends and creative benefits to try and compete with larger districts for the same candidates.


Moving Beyond Safety & Compliance to Managing Professional Growth & Performance - Andrew Deitschel SafeSchools & Todd Fowler, TeachPoint
HR Administrators across Texas and around the country use SafeSchools Training to effectively manage safety and compliance training. But Vector Solutions, the company behind SafeSchools, can help you move beyond safety and compliance to better support professional growth and performance management across your district. Through our integrated online systems, we are helping administrators address many challenging issues related to providing quality staff and student training (both in safety and special education), managing and tracking of professional development, and improving the process of consistent and efficient staff evaluations. Join us for a round table discussion to share your professional growth and performance management needs, and learn how our full suite of K-12 safety and professional growth solutions can help you manage everything in one place! Plus, lots of fun give aways!

Best Practices for Effective Substitute and Absence Management - Melva Cardenas, PowerSchool & Tricia Griffith, Hays CISD
Unfortunately, substitute teachers are not always viewed as effective educators. Whether you utilize substitute/guest teachers to fill in for the day or for long-term absences, it is critical to hire substitute teachers that will positively impact student achievement.  Learn best practices for attracting, hiring and supporting substitute/guest teachers, including how one district structures their hiring process to reduce time "chasing" the applicant to complete the process.


Conducting Investigations of Alleged Misconduct to Protect Students, Employees, the District, and You - Abraham Barker, Eichelbaum Wardell Hansen Powell & Munoz
In this presentation we will consider best practices for conducting investigations of alleged misconduct,  including: identifying potential witnesses, implementing effective interview techniques, presenting targeted lines of questioning, and working with law enforcement.  


Ethical Dilemmas: Caution Ahead or Dead End - Tommie Johnson & Meredith Christiansen,ProEthica

The answer can often be your choice!  Human Resources professionals and campus administrators often find themselves working through personnel issues that may have been minimized or avoided through a rich dialogue that determines a common standard of care.  During this session, participants will be actively engaged and interact with a blended model of professional development that values appropriate relationships with students, colleagues, and parents while maintaining alignment with the Educator Code of Ethics.


Employer Responsibilities in Workers' Compensation, Laura Romaine - TASB Risk Management Fund
Learn what the state requires of employers when it comes to reporting injuries or illnesses on the job. We'll cover common mistakes and misunderstandings as we focus on required forms and deadlines and reporting specifically for political subdivisions.

Are You Okay?  Understanding the District’s Rights and Responsibilities regarding Employee Fitness for Duty and Reasonable Accommodations - Shellie Hoffman Crow, Walsh Gallegos
Erratic behavior, unusual absences and tardiness, inability to perform physical duties‚Äîthese can be signs that an employee may need a reasonable accommodation. In some situations, the employee may need to be evaluated by a healthcare professional to determine his/her fitness for duty.  This presentation will help the personnel administrator understand the District's rights and responsibilities regarding fitness for duty and reasonable accommodations.

Grow Our Own Teachers - Kim Alvarez, Alvin ISD
As the teacher shortage grows each year, districts need to continue to be innovative to find a new pipeline of teachers. In Alvin ISD, we have started focusing on our students in high school that want to pursue a teaching career. We are working with the high school CTE classes such as Instruction Practices/Practicum in Education (IPPE) to recruit them. To recruit them, we have now have a signing awards event at the end of the year, offer them a letter of intent to interview and letter of resolution for one student at a campus to get a contract with us. This session will give you ideas and samples on how to set up your own recruiting program to excite these students to come back to their community to teach.


We Know the Leave Laws, but How Do We Actually Implement Them in The Real World? - Jessica Neyman, Georgetown ISD
Have you ever returned to your district after attending a training on leave laws and felt overwhelmed about how you'd every truly implement the infamous "Berumda triangle" of the most challenging leave laws & absences (i.e. FMLA, ADA, & workers' compensation)?  And how you could ever be 100% in compliance?  Then this session is for you, especially before you become so stressed that you need to request your own leave!  Also, no need to "reinvent the wheel" or invest in costly softward:  Attendees will walk away with a leave administration Project Plan, templates for all legally-required forms that you can easily customize with your district's logo, Process Flowcharts to "triangulate" leave administration with all necessary stakeholders (e.g. employee/campus/department, HR, and Business Office), and easy "tripwire" ideas that use your district's current calendaring tools, so you never miss a critical deadline.


Compliance Complexities -  Dr. Kristin Kahle, NavigateHCR
This presentation gives an overview of challenges with IRS Reporting, required notices related to ACA, HHS, DOL, and ERISA along with best practices and navigating through a Department of Labor Audit. At the end of the course, attendees will have a more clear understanding of the compliance challenges for the upcoming year and the importance of strict administration.


Implementing Performance Appraisal Systems for Employees other than Teachers
Karen Dooley, TASB & Arnoldo Gutierrez, San Antonio ISD
Performance management can boost employee engagement and productivity. Employees engaged in their work stay longer and produce better results. This presentation will explore the benefits of effective appraisal systems and will take you on a district’s journey of appraisal redesign. Through this process, the district was able to make their appraisals applicable to specific positions while keeping them consistent and uniform between job groups with the intent to improve their performance management.


TRS-ActiveCare: Delivering value to your employees and your bottom line - Meaghan Bludau & Kyle McKay, TRS
TRS-ActiveCare provides health coverage to nearly half a million public education employees and their families, and 90% of school districts in Texas participate. TRS will discuss how TRS-ActiveCare provides value for districts and employees, trends in the broader market, and opportunities to get the most out of the health benefits and services available through TRS-ActiveCare.

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