Collaboration in Forsyth County Featured in Denver
Forsyth County Association of Educators President Tripp Jeffers was in Denver this week for the Advancing Student Achievement Through Labor-Management Collaboration conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.
Jeffers was part of a presenting team, along with Donny Lambeth, Chairman of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education and Donald Martin, Superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. The three have a worked to build a collaborative relationship that has allowed WSFCS to move forward on a number of innovative projects in North Carolina, which is a non-bargaining state.
During the presentation, Jeffers shared an example of how collaboration guided the union and the district through a difficult Reduction in Force (RIF) policy that bases RIF decisions both on a teacher’s work experiences as well as performance on evaluations.
Prior to the conference, Jeffers had some doubts. “I thought that it may be the Department of Ed dog and pony show, that they would gloss over our differences,” Jeffers said. “What it turned out to be was a real engagement with other districts from all over the country on best practices that work in overcoming those conflicts for the betterment of students.”
“I was surprised and pleased to find that there is a hunger for this level of collaboration and cooperation.” Jeffers continued. “Few people really thrive on conflict, despite the toxic climate perpetuated by the media. I believe we all understand that we should be wrestling with issues, not wrestling with each other.”