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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Says Teacher and Principal Evaluations Are Waived For This School Year

 Richard Carranza speaks with a teacher during a visit to Prall Intermediate 
School, West Brighton. (Staten Island Advance/Annalise Knudson)
Great news!

Teachers and principals will not be evaluated for the March-June period, and the ratings will stay with whatever was received from September to March, as a final year-end APPR.

Several teachers who I know have been charged with incompetency had the UFT/NYSUT Attorney overlook the fact that their observations did not meet the required number for an end-of-year APR, and did nothing about it. Do not let this happen! If you chose Option #1 for formal and informal observations, and you only had 2 informal observations before the shutdown, do NOT let anyone charge you with "Ineffective". Same for those of you who chose Option #2, with 4-6 informal observations. Don't let them give you "ineffective" if you have been observed only 2 times.

for Immediate Release:

 December 10, 2018 Contact:    Robert Lowry  518-449-1063 or 518-435-5996 (cell)     

Statewide Superintendents Council Commends Board of Regents for Proposing to Extend Moratorium on Use of State Growth Scores in Teacher and Principal Evaluations

ALBANY – The New York State Council of School Superintendents today commended the Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and the State Education Department for proposing to extend for one year the moratorium on the use of state test-based growth scores in teacher and principal evaluations – Annual Professional Performance Reviews, or APPR.
Council Executive Director Charles Dedrick said, “APPR is a unique initiative. It affects every classroom in every school in every district of the state. So it affects every student. Each time there are changes, they threaten to disrupt teaching and learning in all our schools and for all our students.”
Dedrick explained that there have been three rounds of significant changes to APPR since 2009 – in 2010, 2012, and 2015, and the current growth score moratorium was adopted after problems were quickly identified with the 2015 law. 
Dedrick added, “The Regents and State Education Department have launched a well-designed and inclusive process for developing improvements in the evaluation system. We should take the time, this time, to be sure we finally are making changes that actually will support better teaching, school leadership, and, most of all, student achievement.”
The current moratorium, in place since 2015-16, is due to expire after this school year.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ blog
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

Cuomo Waives State Teacher And Principal Evaluations Amid Pandemic

From Chalkbeat New York:

By Reema Amin, June 8 2020

After months of uncertainty, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has waived requirements for teacher and principal evaluations for this school year.

State law mandates school and district leaders assess teachers and principals using the so-called Annual Professional Performance Reviews, or APPR. The evaluations, which include classroom observations and student performance data, can influence tenure decisions and trigger firings.

In an executive order issued Sunday, Cuomo will not require the reviews for the 2019-2020 academic year, since the coronavirus pandemic has kept school buildings closed across the state. The order also allows districts to grant tenure to educators who have met all other requirements for it and have been evaluated in the past, but have not been reviewed this school year. Under the order, districts can also choose to postpone tenure decisions for another year.

Cuomo's executive order comes just weeks before the end of the school year and nearly two months after the state education department asked for such a waiver, given that in-person visits to evaluate educators became impossible amid coronavirus closures.

State officials were also concerned about the cancellation of grades 3-8 reading and math tests, which districts can consider when evaluating teachers. New York City schools can choose from a list of alternative student assessments and performance measures that do not include state test scores in reading and math.

Although the question over evaluations remained open for months, it was hardly top-of-mind for many New York City educators, who were busy making the transition to distance learning.

The city's education department told schools "that they should provide supportive feedback so that teachers can focus on delivering the highest quality remote instruction for our students," Danielle Filson, a spokesperson for the department, said in a statement Friday, before the governor issued his executive order. City officials were planning to provide schools with more guidance as the department itself awaited word from the state.

Anthony Cosentino, principal of P.S. 21 in Staten Island, said that since school buildings closed in mid-March, his school has been busy meeting students' immediate needs. Cosentino and a couple teachers drove around to deliver laptops and hotspots to students and to offer them technical support. In addition, more than a dozen P.S. 21 teachers, working with a community-based organization, volunteered to help bag and deliver groceries to families who need it.

"We're all anxious, we're all stressed, we're all traumatized about what's going on around us, and with the support of the superintendent and the direction of the DOE, we put our focus on our priorities, which is not teacher evaluations at this time," Cosentino said before the governor's decision came down.

Andy Pallotta, president of the state teachers union, said the governor's decision "rightly" allows districts to make tenure decisions. But the governor's months-long delay in issuing a waiver has left school leaders in the dark, said Bob Lowry, deputy director for advocacy and communication at the state's Council of School Superintendents.

"Districts have already had to begin making tenure decisions," Lowry said. "Some have entered into agreements to extend teachers' probationary periods for a year, assuming that they could not grant tenure without a rating this year."

Report: Teacher, principal evaluations waived in New York
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo is waiving requirements for teacher and principal evaluations during the 2019-2020 school year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a recent report.

Chalkbeat reported that Cuomo announced an executive order on Sunday that exempts school districts across New York State to complete annual professional performance reviews of classroom teachers and building principals for this school year -- as the pandemic has led to the closure of school buildings since mid-March. New York City’s public school system quickly pivoted in just one week to a distance learning model on March 23.

The executive order also allows school districts to appoint tenure to educators and principals who met all other performance review ratings and were evaluated in the past, but weren’t rated or reviewed during the 2019-2020 school year. Districts can extend tenure decisions for an additional year under the order, according to Chalkbeat.

The executive order comes just weeks before the last day of school for New York City public schools -- which is June 26. The state education department asked for the waiver in April, when it was clear that teacher and principal evaluations would be impossible, as schools were closed. Some school districts use the grades three to eight reading and math state exams to evaluate teachers, which were also canceled for the 2019-2020 school year.

According to Chalkbeat, New York City schools will be able to choose from a list of alternative assessments and performance measures to evaluate teachers that don’t include state test scores.

The city Department of Education (DOE) told Chalkbeat on Friday, before the executive order was announced, that the agency informed schools they should provide supportive feedback so teachers can continue to provide high-quality remote instruction to students.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to many impactful changes to the DOE, school districts, teachers, and students. With the switch to online learning, school teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals and therapists have been working for months to find new ways to engage students from 3 to 18 years old -- providing much-needed services, ensuring students are learning, and also meeting social-emotional needs.

In addition to state exams being canceled, the high school Regents exams scheduled for June and August were canceled. Officials modified the requirements students need to graduate and earn their high school diploma.

New York City teachers are also grading their students differently due to remote learning for elementary and middle school students for the rest of the year.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will receive either a “Meets Standards” or “Needs Improvement” grade, and middle school students will receive a “Meets Standards,” “Needs Improvement,” or “Course In Progress" grade. Students in elementary and middle schools who can’t demonstrate mastery or don’t submit or complete work will be enrolled in summer programming, according to the new policy.

High school students will continue to be graded using existing grading scales. As part of the new policy, high school students will also have the option after receiving a passing letter grade to convert that grade to a “pass” rating. That means that if a student chooses to keep his or her passing letter grade, it will be included in the overall grade point average (GPA). Converting to a “pass” rating will not affect the GPA.

Distance learning will continue for nearly 200,000 New York City public school students attending school remotely this summer.

Students who attend the city’s public schools in District 75 programs and have disabilities will begin summer learning on July 1 and it will continue through Aug. 13. Third through eighth grades and 9th through 12th grade will begin on July 13 and go through August 18 and August 21 respectively.