American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten visited two White Plains schools this week to learn about the district's collaborative efforts to improve teacher evaluations and expand professional development, even in challenging financial times.
Weingarten was joined on Monday by NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi, who also is an AFT vice president, and White Plains Teachers Association President Kerry Broderick. In addition to visiting classrooms at White Plains High School and Highlands Middle School, they heard from teachers involved in a team approach to improving student test scores, including value-added measures.
"Student learning has a role in teacher evaluations, and it's great that White Plains is going about it in a thoughtful, collaborative way," Weingarten said. "In too many places, it's being done haphazardly and with little input from teachers, and the result is a system that isn't accurate or fair."
Iannuzzi noted NYSUT is working closely with the State Education Department to make sure upcoming teacher evaluation regulations live up to the law approved by the Legislature and governor last year. The Regents are expected to discuss the draft regulations at their meeting next week.
Weingarten and Iannuzzi also joined a roundtable discussion with White Plains High School students and teachers, where students talked about what they need and want to ensure they are academically successful. The two also met with local educators and community leaders at a luncheon at the school district's staff development center, where they discussed mentoring, professional learning communities and a parent involvement program.
The day's events in White Plains were part of the AFT's "Making a Difference Every Day" campaign to spotlight educators and other public employees whose work has a positive impact on the students and communities they serve. Weingarten has also visited schools in New York City, Marlboro, Boston, Newark and Peoria, to spotlight reform and collaborative efforts by educators, administrators and community groups.