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Regents Act to Provide School Districts with More Flexibility in Meeting Teacher and Principal Evaluation Requirements Ahead of September Deadline

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Regents Act to Provide School Districts with More Flexibility in Meeting Teacher and Principal Evaluation Requirements Ahead of September Deadline

June 15, 2016 - 13:28
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Regents Act to Provide School Districts with More Flexibility in Meeting Teacher and Principal Evaluation Requirements Ahead of September Deadline

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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The New York State Board of Regents today adopted rules that provide school districts with more flexibility in meeting teacher and principal evaluation requirements by the September 1, 2016 statutory deadline for State Aid increases.  School districts that demonstrate it is a hardship to meet the independent evaluator requirement for teachers and principals can apply for a waiver from the State Education Department.  Under the new rules, independent evaluators are still required for teachers and principals with an annual professional performance review (APPR) rating of Ineffective.

“School districts have been working very hard to comply with the various versions of the APPR law enacted by the Legislature and the Governor over the past few years,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa.  “Today we are providing school districts with more flexibility to negotiate and implement their evaluation plans. Ensuring state aid for all our schools is too important not to act.”

“Traveling across the state, I’ve heard over and over again that the independent evaluator requirement of the APPR law is cause for great concern in our schools,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.  “The Regents acted last year to provide a hardship waiver from that requirement for rural and single-building schools, but today the Board is going even further by providing an expansion of the waiver to all school districts.  The Board and I will continue to exercise our regulatory authority to give schools and districts the flexibility they need to implement their evaluations.”

To obtain a waiver, school districts and BOCES must demonstrate that complying with the independent evaluator requirement would create an undue burden in one or more of the following areas:

compliance with the independent evaluator requirement would result in financial hardship to the district or BOCES; the district or BOCES lacks professionally trained staff to comply with the independent evaluator requirement; the district or BOCES has a large number of teachers and principals; and/or compliance with the independent evaluator requirement could impact safety and management of a building because the principal would be absent from the school building while performing evaluations at other locations. Teachers and principals who receive an APPR rating of ineffective in one school year  would continue to be subject to the requirement for evaluation by an independent evaluator for the following school year’s APPR process.  In addition, all teachers and principals, regardless of APPR rating, must still receive a second observation even if the hardship waiver is granted.  The second observation for teachers and principals rated highly effective, effective or developing may be conducted by the building principal, supervisor or an individual selected and trained by the school district or BOCES. Both observations for these teachers and principals could be performed by the same individual.

As part of its hardship waiver request, a school district will be required to submit a plan for conducting observations/school visits by the building principal, supervisor or other trained administrators and for conducting the second observation by the building principal, supervisor or by an individual selected and trained by the school district or BOCES. At time of applying for the hardship waiver, school districts and BOCES must also submit a plan for conducting independent observations and school visits for teachers and principals rated ineffective. 

To view the revised regulation, visit: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/common/regents/files/616p12a7.pdf  

Today’s Board action builds upon regulations adopted by the Board of Regents at its September 2015 meeting to provide a hardship waiver for rural and single building school districts; the rural waiver continues in its current form.