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New York's new teacher and principal evaluation system

The state’s new evaluation system for educators is receiving quite a bit of media coverage lately, especially with Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address. Here’s some general background information about the new legislation and its implementation in Schuylerville.


Q: What is the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) Plan?





A: The new Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) legislation in New York requires school districts and BOCES to develop and implement evaluation plans for both teachers and principals. This new evaluation system, which takes into account student performance and growth on standardized tests, was adopted as part of the state’s application to receive federal Race to the Top funds. 



Q: Why is APPR necessary? Weren’t educators evaluated in the past?





A: In the broadest sense, APPR was developed to improve the state’s educational system and support the professional growth of educators in the state, thus leading to better student achievement. A successful evaluation tool should provide timely feedback, opportunities to acknowledge educators’ strengths and weaknesses and opportunities to improve.

School districts have historically developed their own systems to evaluate staff members, resulting in a wide variety of evaluation plans. The APPR legislation provides a more uniform framework to evaluate teachers and principals, while also allowing districts to customize some areas of review.



Q: What are some of the uniform elements that must be included in APPR plans in New York?





A: The APPR system in New York rates teachers and principals as “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing” or “ineffective” based on a 100-point scale. Educators in the bottom two categories will be required to participate in improvement plans. If they are rated as “ineffective” for two years in a row, they can face dismissal. In calculating the totals, 20 points are based on student progress on state exams, 20 points are based on a pupil performance on a locally developed measure (which must be approved by the state) and the final 60 points are based on classroom observations and other measures, which can include student work and feedback from students and parents. Each district will negotiate with union members to specify the “other measures;” this feature allows educators to choose some of the evaluation elements they feel are priorities in their districts.


Q: What other tools are used to determine if students need extra instruction?





A: The staff also uses report cards, classroom work samples, state and local tests, observation checklists, behavioral logs and attendance data.



Q: Are there any other common requirements?





A: Yes. Under the new APPR system, teachers must be observed at least two times per year, including one announced and one unannounced observation. Each teacher evaluation must include a pre-conference, classroom observation and a post-conference. Principals must be evaluated at least one a year and that evaluation must include a site visit by a supervisor.



Q: What is the timeline for implementing the new evaluation system in New York’s schools?





A: During the 2011-12 school year, schools are required to use the new evaluation system for fourth- through eighth-grade classroom teachers who teach English and math. Principals and librarians of schools covering those grades must also be evaluated under the new evaluation system. The APPR system must then be phased in for other educators during the 2012-13 school year.

Governor Cuomo and the Board of Regents, however, are strongly urging schools to implement the system quicker. In his State of the State address, Governor Cuomo proposed holding back schools’ state aid funding increases if they don’t implement APPR systems earlier than the legal deadline.


Q: Where is Schuylerville in the process of implementing the new APPR system?





A: Schuylerville is ahead of most districts. Thanks to a highly collaborative and cooperative planning process that took place last school year and over the summer months, the district is piloting an APPR system for principals and all teachers (at all grade levels and in all subject areas) this school year. The APPR plan will be integrated into union contracts that are currently under negotiation.


Q: How can I get more information about New York’s Annual Professional Performance Review legislation?





A: More information is available at the following websites:



square bulletEngageNY: Guidance on New York’s Annual Professional Performance Review Law and Regulations







square bulletNew York State Education Department: General overview







square bulletNew York State Education Department: Video