The Corning-Painted Post school district's new system for evaluating its teachers and principals has been sent to the state Education Department for review.
The Corning-Painted Post school district’s new system for evaluating its teachers and principals has been sent to the state Education Department for review.
The state Legislature approved a new evaluation system this spring as part of the budget process after Gov. Andrew Cuomo tied it to an increase in school aid.
The state education commissioner and Board of Regents set guidelines for the new system, but local districts had to determine some elements of how they would implement it for their schools. C-PP’s central administration negotiated those elements with the unions.
The new system has to be in place by mid-November or districts could lose their state aid increase.
It’s extremely complicated, said Jeff Delorme, C-PP’s assistant superintendent, and involves terms such as “matrix” and “rubric.”
In a nutshell, half of a teacher or principal’s rating is based on classroom observations, and half is based on their students’ performance on state assessment scores, Delorme said. In the end, teachers and principals receive an overall score of highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective.
Teachers rated ineffective for three straight years can be fired. The new evaluation system can also affect tenure, Delorme said.
Some teachers are upset because the new system places more emphasis on state assessments. Also, teachers in subject areas where there are no state assessments - such as art, music, physical education - will be judged on how their students do on tests in other subject areas.
Also troublesome, said C-PP Superintendent Mike Ginalski, is that the new system requires some of the classroom observations to be done by an independent evaluator from outside the building. That will mean colleagues from other schools in the district or someone from Greater Southern Tier BOCES will have to do them, he said.
Doing multiple classroom observations each year for each of the 480 teachers in the district - with each observation taking a half day - was already time consuming. But the new independent evaluator requirement will mean a “constant shuffling” between buildings for many principals, Ginalski said.
“I don't want principals out of their buildings, because I know when parents show up or call, or when there's a problem in the building, people need an administrator,” Ginalski said. “The fact they're out having to do an evaluation of a teacher in another school, that's not going to sit well with parents, and frankly in the end it’s going to lead to poor school climate, but I don't think the state considered that when they put this in place.”
By the time C-PP gets its plan approved by the state and put in place, evaluations might not start until December, which will cause a time crunch this year, Ginalski added.