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Board hears APPR overview

September 12, 2012
By JENNA LOUGHLIN - EDITOR ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

WESTFIELD - In addition to a new group of students and the new Common Core State Standards, teachers will also have to deal with new performance reviews.

Westfield Academy and Central School Superintendent David Davison gave the board an overview of the new Annual Professional Performance Reviews, or APPR, at the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Aug. 27.

APPR, which was adopted by WACS on May 16, 2011, was one of four mandatory steps New York schools needed to implement in order to get Race to the Top funding. The breakdown of how the review is scored gives 20 percent for student growth on state assessments, 20 percent for locally selected measures of student achievement and 60 percent for other measures of a teacher or principal effectiveness. This last category breaks down even further into classroom observations, other local measurements such as portfolios and self or peer assessments or surveys.

Article Photos

Photo by Jenna Loughlin
Westfield Academy and Central School Superintendent Dave Davison, left, gives the Board of Education a brief overview of the new Annual Professional Performance Reviews which take effect this year. Also pictured at the Monday, Aug. 27 meeting, from left to right, are: Board President Jeff Greabell; Board Vice President Steve Cockram; board member Roger Jopek; and board member Ed LeBarron.

Students will be given a baseline assessment at the beginning of the school year and then another one every 10 weeks with a formative test at the end of the school year. This will help schools and teachers see where the students are over the course of the year.

Any teacher or a principal receiving a score of ineffective or developing will have a Teacher or Principal Improvement Plan formulated and implemented. These plans must include the areas of improvement, a timeline, how the improvement will be assessed and activities to support the improvement.

Some of the decisions left up to individual school districts include an appeal procedure, the TIP process, classroom observation tools, determining a local scale for the 60 percent of the review, assessing all seven New York State Teaching Standards and providing feedback to teachers.

Fact Box

Correction: In the article, "Board hears APPR overview," the timeframe for a new principal to be an evaluator was incorrect. An incoming elementary principal, unless they are already certified as a lead evaluator, will need around 11 days of training before final evaluations are done.

So far Davidson and Secondary Principal Ivana Hite are both qualified as lead evaluators for the district and were approved as such in a resolution later in the meeting.

Also in his superintendent report, Davison reported the state's Dignity Act 2013 is going to have cyberbullying added to it as the responsibility of schools to investigate and handle. Additionally, he said he expects the consolidation study results.

In other news, Primary Principal and Director of Special Education Paula Troutman has accepted the job of middle school principal at Silver Creek Central Schools. The board accepted her resignation, effective on or about Sept. 7, at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 13 and on Aug. 27 accepted the appointment of elementary teacher Heath Forester as interim elementary school principal at the per diem rate of $343 per day and Ashley Raynor as chair of special education meetings at a compensated lump sum of $312.

Board member Marie Edwards said she was sorry to see Troutman go.

"We will miss you," board Vice President Steve Cockram said.

"We wish you well in your new position," board President Jeff Greabell said. "All the best to you."

Board member Roger Jopek asked Davison how quickly he thought the new elementary principal could be qualified as an evaluator for APPR once hired. Davison responded it depended on the availability of workshops and trainers, but, unless they are already certified as a lead evaluator, the new principal will need around 11 days of training before final evaluations are done. He added evaluations will not start until October or November.

Former board member Mark Winslow attended the Aug. 27 meeting and spoke up during public comment regarding a resolution on the agenda stating the board supported the creation of a regional high school bill. Edwards said the goal of the resolution was to see how much support there was across the state, and Greabell said, while the option might be on the back burner for Westfield, it was important to other districts. Both Edwards and board member Phyllis Hagen noted it was important to keep all options open for the future. The resolution did not mean it is mandatory for Westfield to be part of a RHS if a bill passes.

Winslow's commented he knows the board wrote the resolution to be generic, but he reminded newer board members the option of a regional high school was available for years. What the new law attempted to do was allow such a school by board vote only and add in state aid.

"Technically, we have had this available to us forever," Winslow said. "To me, to have (state aid) as the biggest reason that we want a regional high school always gets me because we should be able to be more efficient and not less efficient. So why would we be so hung up on state aid rather than what is best for the students?"

He also suggested the board keep the option of tuitioning students, which he believes the board has not addressed enough, on the back burner along with the regional high school option.

Edwards responded to his statement during board member commentary when she said with the regional high school option teachers would have pell rights, or first hiring rights, where as if Westfield tuitioned its students, teachers would have no rights at the new school. Additionally, she said the point for the board versus popular vote was an attempt to take emotion out of the decision, adding the most recent bill had the popular vote as a requirement.

"There are some really deep differences besides the fact that there's state aid tied to that that are better than ... just tuitioning," Edwards said.

In her board commentary on Aug. 13, Edwards talked about how much she has learned about the legislative process while working on the regional high school bill.

"It has been very, very eye-opening," she said. "We think we can just do something, we come up with an idea and ... literally three years, four years later and we still have more of a process to go through. ... We can't start the year we think we need it. We need to start three years before we think we need it."

At the Aug. 27 meeting, Greabell noted the bill introduced in the State Legislature may be completely different from those introduced up to this point.

"It's an on-going process," he said.

As part of Westfield process to move towards consolidation, another joint meeting of the WACS and Brocton Central School Boards of Education will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20 at BCS at 6 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.



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