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Navigating the state’s new teacher/principal evaluation program

From the Cazenovia Central School District

Many of you may have heard of the acronym, APPR. However, it would not surprise me if you are not familiar with what it means.

That’s because the state’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) will not affect students or parents directly. The new state staff evaluation program, which all schools had to adopt this fall, promises to give parents a degree of assurance that the men and women running their schools and teaching their children meet high standards and are doing a good job.

By using our own annual evaluation system here at Cazenovia over the years, we have long known that our educators are delivering the best instruction possible for our students. APPR will confirm what we already know about the vast majority of our staff.

APPR was developed to ensure that all school districts evaluate their staff in the same way. Its goal is to improve the state’s educational system and support the professional growth of educators, thus leading to better and consistent student achievement.

In a larger sense, the statewide evaluation system was created so that New York state would qualify for millions of dollars under the federal Race to the Top (RTTP) initiative sponsored by President Barack Obama.

Because of the federal requirements, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has told school districts that these plans must be developed, agreed upon by the appropriate labor unions and submitted to the state Education Department by Jan. 17, 2013. If they are not, the school district may lose state aid funding.

Cazenovia has submitted its teacher and principal evaluations plans to the state for review and is awaiting a response.

A uniform framework for evaluations

Teachers and principals will continue to receive annual evaluations. While APPR provides a more uniform framework for those evaluations, the program also allows districts to customize some areas of review.

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