January 2011 Issue
December 19, 2010

Phasing in new Teacher/Principal Evaluation Law

Author: Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT United

Starting in 2011-12, educators will be rated in one of four classifications: highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective.

Signed into law by the governor last June, the measure requires a negotiated system of continual professional growth, plus a new comprehensive evaluation system.

The timing of implementation of changes to your district's Annual Professional Performance Review plans is dependent on your local contract's expiration.

After consultation with the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Principal Effectiveness, the state education commissioner has until July 1, 2011, to develop regulations governing the new process. Then it will be up to local unions to negotiate specific details to meet local needs.

The law requires a locally negotiated evaluation system based on multiple measures, including student test scores, and expands professional development.

Here are some key dates:

  • Beginning in September, the new evaluation process will be phased in for districts with new collective bargaining agreements. Student performance data will be used in evaluations for (common branch) teachers with grades 4-8 math and English language arts assignments.
  • 2011-12: Statewide training of evaluators.
  • 2012-13: In districts with new CBAs, student performance data will be used in evaluation of all classroom teachers. Districts must implement Teacher and Principal Improvement plans for those rated "developing" or "ineffective."

The evaluation system is anchored in the state's seven teaching standards that define "what effective teachers need to know and be able to do." The standards, which are expected to be approved by the Board of Regents this month, were created by a State Education Department work group.

The seven New York State Teaching Standards are:

1. Knowledge of students and student learning
2. Knowledge of content and instructional planning
3. Instructional practice
4. Learning environment
5. Assessment for student learning
6. Professional responsibilities and collaboration
7. Professional growth