Volume 31, Issue #1

August 26, 2015






About Us   Awards   Scholarships   Calendar   Workshops   Leadership and Staff  




 candidate and supporter of Nashville's public schools Megan Barry is set to visit the MNEA Representative Assembly on August 27, 2015.  MNEA President Erick Huth has issued an open invitation for all members to come and meet our next mayor.  The gathering starts at 4:30 p.m.







Where has all my planning time gone?




During inservice, MNEA discovered that at one high school several teachers had lost planning time every other day.  When MNEA checked into the issue, we were initially told that the plan was consistent with the 2015-2016 Certificated Employee Handbook, which was not available for anyone to actually read.  Within days of our inquiry into the matter the 2014-2015 Handbook was unceremoniously removed from the MNPS web page. 


We theorized that the planning time language had not been changed until after our delving into the matter.  Our first request for a copy of the 2015-2016 Handbook was ignored, so MNEA made a public records/Freedom of Information request for the Handbook and emails about the planning time.  What we found was that our suspicion was not only confirmed but that the change had been made entirely with the Human Capital Division without even seeking input from the Director of Schools or the Chief Instructional Officer. 


MNEA is continuing to work for the restoration of the former planning time language, but here are some excerpts from the email trail: 

From: Cour, Katie
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2015 4:19 PM
To: Ott, Craig S
Cc: Thompson, Susan
Subject: Handbooks

Hi Craig – I know you are under water with Kronos, but am wondering what the status is for getting the 2015
16 handbooks out. They should be sent to all staff asap to avoid legal ramifications/being held to the 201415 ones. There are changes that I know need to happen, and I can take a look at them, but in years past I believe you have been charged with managing the process. Last year we got them out midyear.

For context – we already have MNEA pushing back on some things that are happening this school year based on last year’s handbooks.



From: Ott, Craig S

Sent: Monday, August 03, 2015 4:53 PM
To: Cour, Katie
Cc: Thompson, Susan
Subject: RE: Handbooks

I have updated both over the last couple of weeks and they are already up on the web site. I have only made minor changes to the work schedules (breaks, meals) and a change that was approved by legal on the An Equal Opportunity Employer section.
What are they specifically pushing back on and do we care?


From: Cour, Katie
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2015 4:54 PM
To: Ott, Craig S
Cc: Thompson, Susan
Subject: RE: Handbooks
Yes – we need to take out language about planning time that is above and beyond state requirements. I have actually taken the down from the website (they said 14
15 too) and put that the new ones would be coming soon. Do you want me to review and send back to you and Susan?  From: Thompson, Susan
Sent: Tuesday, August 04, 2015 3:14 PM
To: Cour, Katie; Ott, Craig S
Subject: RE: Handbooks

I would recommend using the language in the law.

TCA 491302(e)(2) The board shall develop and adopt rules and regulations providing teachers in kindergarten through grade twelve (K12) with individual dutyfree planning periods during the established instructional day...At least two and one half (2 ˝) hours of individual planning time shall be provided each week during which teachers have no other assigned duties or responsibilities, other than planning for instruction. The two and one half (2 ˝) hours may be divided on a daily or other basis. Dutyfree planning time shall not occur during any period that teachers are entitled to dutyfree lunch.

The board referenced in law is the Tennessee State Board of Education.

What is in the handbook lists a variety of purposes for the dutyfree time not specifically stated in the law. Erick referenced the “150 minutes be selfdetermined by the teacher”. The time is for planning.

Susan Thompson
Chief Human Capital Officer
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
2601 Bransford Avenue, Nashville, TN 37204
Twitter: @MNPSTalent #callingallrolemodels








Share your talents through leadership in MNEA

Help Nashville's teachers! the start of a new school year, there is always change, and this year is no exception!  Retirements, transfers, and resignations of several MNEA Executive Board members and MNEA-PACE Council members have created a larger than usual number of MNEA vacancies.  The official announcement of vacancies will be made at the August 27, 2015 Representative Assembly.  The fall election calendar schedule may be viewed at


Executive Board vacancies include:

  • District 3 Director (Maplewood Cluster),
  • District 7 Director (Hillsboro Cluster),
  • District 10 Director (Stratford Cluster),
  • District 11 Director (Whites Creek Cluster), and
  • District 12 Director (Cane Ridge Cluster). 


Vacancies on the MNEA Political Action Committee for Education Council, which correspond to Metro School Board districts are: Districts 1 (two positions), 5, 6, 7, and 8.  At it's August 13 meeting, the MNEA Executive Board approved the following interim appointments to the Board:  Molly Handler (Glenn), District 3 Director; Paula Pendergrass (Robertson Academy), District 7 Director; Dedrick Messenger (Dan Mills), District 10 Director; William Vannoy (Thurgood Marshall), District 11 Director; and Kimberly Williamson (Whites Creek), District 12 Director. 






Don't punch the clock!

MNEA changes Kronos!


Roughly two years ago, MNPS Chief Operating Officer Fred Carr visited the MNEA Representative Assembly to discuss the implementation of new payroll procedures including the adoption of Kronos.  Like many past MNPS technology projects, the implementation of Kronos was delayed far beyond the schedule Carr announced to us.  Nonetheless, at that Assembly meeting Mr. Carr assured delegates in attendance that most teachers would not have to "punch a clock."  Carr indicated that Kronos could be integrated into Active Directory in such a way that, by merely logging into SMS or a computer in the morning, one's presence would be noted in Kronos.  He also noted that, school-based teachers could just log using Active Directory to establish their presence; but, according to Carr, itinerant teachers would need to clock in and out at each school because of the nature of their work.  Carr also noted teachers, itinerant and others, could even use the Kronos Smartphone app to access Kronos as they needed.

He went into great detail about the absurd redundant payroll processes that were in use at the time involving the printing Excel spreadsheets and manually copying data into EBS (the Metro employee management system).  He stressed that Kronos was designed to achieve efficiency and reduce human error. 


Fast forward to last spring!  Craig Ott, MNPS Executive Director of Human Capital Operations, contacted then MNEA President Stephen Henry and MNEA President-Elect Erick Huth and set up a meeting to discuss Kronos implementation.  In that meeting, Ott indicated that starting this fall teachers would need to "hit the clock."  Erick Huth indicated that his approach was entirely inconsistent with the message the MNEA Representative Assembly had received from Fred Carr the previous school year.  Huth assured Ott that "hitting the clock" would not work.  Ott, however, promised to follow up and get back with MNEA.  A month or so later, prior to the start of a School Board meeting, Fred Carr approach Huth about Kronos, and Huth reiterated teachers' concerns about "hitting the clock."


On August 11, Huth spoke before the school board and voiced teachers' comments related to "hitting the clock" and urged them to come up with a workable solution more in line with what Fred Carr had discussed with the MNEA Representative Assembly.  A few days after the meeting, Craig Ott again contacted MNEA President Erick Huth about Kronos implementation.  In the meeting, Mr. Ott agreed to the following:


  • Only Central Office Personnel will begin using Kronos in mid September.
  • School-based employees will not interact with Kronos until February at the earliest.
  • The vast majority of certificated employees can merely log into Kronos using the desktop shortcut on their MNPS computer one time per day at any time during working hours to record their presence.
  • Itinerant certificated employees will need to clock in or log in using the Kronos shortcut to each school upon arrival and clock out or log out upon leaving each school.
  • The Kronos website will show leave accruals in real time.
  • Only hourly employees will clock in and out at the beginning and end of their shifts.
  • There is no 7-minute or 14-minute rule for certificated employees.  The clock-in window is for hourly employees to avoid unauthorized overtime pay.





Watch MNEA President Erick Huth addressing the Metro School Board on diversity concerns and Kronos.      




Want to hear some great live music (Greg Holden, The Delta Saints, and Moon Taxi) for FREE? Want to make that even more fun by tailgating and socializing with some awesome teachers? Join us on Thursday, September 3rd at the Tennessee Education Association parking lot where you can enjoy FREE PARKING that is walking distance from the concert, finger foods, BYOB, and cornhole! See you there!

You don't have to be a member of TEA or MNEA to come to this event! Just come hang out with some Nashville teachers!




 Law changed evaluation of teachers starting in 2015-2016


Public Chapter 158 amends Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-1-302(d)(2) relative to teacher evaluations. 


For teachers with assess to TVAAS data, the evaluation criteria will be subject to the following adjustments:

  • 2015-2016 School year--Student growth generated by assessments administered in the 2015-2016 school year will only account for 10% of the teacher’s overall evaluation.
  • 2016-2017 School year--Student growth generated by assessments administered in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years will only account for 20% of the teacher’s overall evaluation.
  • 2017-2018 School year and beyond--Student growth component adjusts back to 35%.


  • 2015-2016 through 7-2018 School years--the most recent year of student growth data will account for the entire percentage of growth data If such use results in a higher evaluation score.


For teachers without assess to TVAAS data, the evaluation criteria will be subject to the following adjustments:

  • 2015-2016 School year--Student growth data as represented by TVAAS, or some other comparable measure, if no such TVAAS data is available, will account for 10% of the teacher’s overall evaluation.
  • 2016-2017 School year and beyond--Student growth data as represented by TVAAS, or some other comparable measure, if no such TVAAS data is available, will account for 15% of the teacher’s overall evaluation.

For more information, go to the TEAM Tennessee Teaching Evaluation Enhancement Act web page.








MNEA wants to come to your school and hold a ten-minutes meeting


We'd like 10 minutes of your time!  This sign up is to have TEA/MNEA come to your classroom after school for a 10 minute meeting with interested faculty members.  In 10 minutes we will give highlights of new legislation, an update on TVAAS lawsuits, evaluation seminars and other PD and member benefits!


Sign up for a time here.






Attend the MNEA member retirement seminar


The MNEA Member Retirement Seminar is a members-only seminar designed to help
members make sure all is in order before retirement. Participants at various levels of their careers are welcome to attend. MNEA President Erick Huth will make a presentation on provisions of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System and Milt Jenkinson from the MNPS Employee Benefits Office will discuss post retirement medical benefits. Registration is required as a light meal will be provided.






Monday, November 16, 2015 at 4:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.













Attend an evaluation workshop at MNEA


Shannon Black, MNEA Director of Talent Management, will be conducting two evaluation workshops at MNEA.  Members and others are welcome to attend.  Sign up below:






Wednesday, September 9, 2015 from 3:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.











Wednesday, September 16, 2015 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.













Come to our association rep training on September 24, 2015 at 4:30 p.m.!

 and TEA are holding an association representative training session on September 24 and 4:30 p.m.  Any Association Rep, alternate, or interested member is welcome to attend.  Please sign up below:

















September 7

Labor Day Holiday





September 10
MNEA Executive Board Meeting
4:30 p.m. at MNEA Headquarters





September 10

Vote for Megan Barry in the Mayor's Race!





September 24
MNEA/TEA Association Rep Training​

4:30 p.m. at MNEA Headquarters












October 1
MNEA Executive Board Meeting
4:30 p.m. at MNEA Headquarters​





October 1

TEA Committee/ Commission Day
TEA Headquarters





October 15
MNEA Representative Assembly
4:30 p.m. at MNEA Headquarters​





October 20

Voting Begins in MNEA Fall Elections​






's hear from Erick! 

Erick Huth, Ed. D.

MNEA President


Recently, a few other Nashville area activists and I attended the New Orleans Education Conference, which was sponsored by the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and several other organizations.  The majority of the conference involved presentations by activists and citizens willing to challenge the media's portrayal of the conversion of New Orleans public schools to an all-charter district as a great and glorious success. 


Opponents of the current New Orleans school structure point out that the state of Louisiana played a shell game with New Orleans children.  The governor and legislature first raised cut scores to force more of New Orleans public schools into the Recovery School District and then lowered those same cut scores to make the new charter schools look successful.  Many schools in predominantly black neighborhoods were never reopened after Katrina forcing African American students to take long bus rides. 


The supposed all-choice panacea is a failure because many charters have created barriers to enrollment that are designed to keep some students from enrolling.  As a consequence, some juveniles don't even attend school.  They just roam the streets.  On the other hand, the "walk-the-line" culture makes many parents and students believe that the charters are actually preparing students for a future in the penile system rather than providing them the skills to be successful in life. 


Many activists in Nashville believe charter supporters have their eyes on Nashville to become the next New Orleans.  Some have heard charter zealots even proclaim that, if they could just take over East Nashville, the rest of the city will follow!  What does charterization mean to you?  It means less job security.  It means lower pay for teachers.  It means lower benefits for teachers and higher salaries for charter school operators and greater profits for charter investors.  


This Mayoral election is critical to the survival of our public schools.  Vote Megan Barry!  Keep Fox in the box!








Our mission is to promote excellence in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, seek community support for public education, secure economic and professional security for educators, maintain a strong united teaching organization, advance human and civil rights in education, and empower teachers!








The Slate is published during the school year by the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, an affiliate of the Tennessee Education Association and the National Education Association.

531 Fairground Court
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 726-1499)
FAX: (615) 726-2501

Erick Huth, President/Editor-in-Chief
Theresa Wagner, Vice President
Rosemary Wade, Treasurer
Nancy Holland, Secretary
Deborah Smith, Parliamentarian

UniServ Coordinators: Mary Campbell, Susan Dalton
MNEA Staff: Kristen Williams