Both the Oceanside and Island Park school districts were among a fraction of the total school districts in the state that submitted their teacher evaluation plans on time. And while Island Park’s plan was sent back for minor changes, Oceanside’s was accepted by the state.
Of the 700 school districts in New York State, only 300 or so actually submitted teacher evaluation plans. About half of the plans submitted were accepted by the state.
“I’m very pleased,” said Oceanside Superintendent Dr. Herb Brown. “We worked hard with the teacher’s union and the principal’s union, because this is not just for teachers. It’s an evaluation of principals, too.”
The teacher evaluations, also know as the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) were mandated by New York as part of its new curriculum program, the Core Curriculum Standards (CCS). The new education mandates were implemented to make New York be in compliance with President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative, which awarded states with millions of dollars in grants for implementing education reforms.
Both Oceanside and Island Park submitted their APPR plans by July 1, which the state said was the deadline. The plans have to be given final approval by the state by Jan. 17, 2013. But the state never outlined penalties for districts that didn’t submit their plans on time, just penalties if the plans were not approved by Jan. 17.
According to Dr. Brown, Oceanside was contacted by the state after its plan was submitted and told to make a few minor changes. “It was more for changing the language,” Brown said. “The heart of it was fine. So it was easy for us. Other people might have other issues where it’s more substantial and they have to go back to their union and renegotiate something.”
Under Oceanside’s APPR, teachers are graded on a 100-point scale. New York State gives the district a score out of 25 points for each teacher based on their students’ performance on standardized tests. The district bases 60 points on classroom observation and the final 15 points is based on a collaborative effort by teachers.
Island Park, which also has a 100-point scale, has a similar plan to Oceanside. Fifty points are based on teacher observations and 10 come from a teacher’s self-reflection. The district derives 20 points from local assessments based on the
NWEA test it administers. The rest of the points come from state standardized tests.
Though Island Park was one of the few districts to submit the plan on time, it’s initial proposition was rejected by the state.
“We got a call back [two weeks ago] that there were a couple of things that needed to be modified,” said Dr. Rosmarie Bovino, Island Park superintendent. “Some of our scales needed to be adjusted. So that’s what we’re working on.”
Bovino needed to meet with the teacher’s union to have it approve the changes to the plan, which were minimal. Bovine expected the plan to be approved by everyone in Island Park and resubmitted to New York State late last week.
With Island Park on the road to having it’s plan approved, both districts are in good shape for when the plans need to be implemented.
“It could take [the state] six weeks to approve it,” Brown said. “And if they make you change it, that could take more time. So if you’re going to get it in Christmas time, you might be cutting it too close to get it approved in time. Whether or not [the state] really take away state aid [as a penalty for not having an approved plan], we’ll wait and see.”