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Mt. Pleasant School Boss Scrutinizes New Way to Evaluate Teachers

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – Mount Pleasant Central School District Superintendent Susan Guiney held an informal coffee and questions session Tuesday evening at Westlake High School in order for parents to learn more about the state’s new Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) requirements.

Before answering questions from parents, Guiney addressed displeasure with the APPR system and its many unknown areas, including how teachers' performance will be partly measured by their students' achievement on state tests.

“There are a lot of problems with what is going on with this,” Guiney said.  “Many teachers are asking the question of, ‘Well, what if I have a child with special needs?’ or, ‘What if I have a child that just doesn’t do well the day of the test?’”

The APPR evaluates teacher performance and principal performance on a single composite effectiveness score.  This score is broken down on a 100-point system and that score will be placed into four different categories.  The categories are highly effective (91-100), effective (75-90), developing (51 to 74), and ineffective (0-50).

According to Guiney, if a teacher receives two years of an ineffective score, he or she is put on an expedited discipline program that can lead to dismissal.  The scoring is determined by growth on state assessment (20 percent), locally selected measures of student achievement (20 percent), and the remaining percent has yet to be determined.

Administrators and teachers within the district were also present Tuesday evening.  Hawthorne Elementary Principal Jerry Schulman said he felt the system has potential to judge performances in creative ways.

“Our door is open to be creative in evaluating,” Schulman said.  “We can implement ways to evaluate in which we enrich the whole school.”

Some parents at the session felt that the students’ opinion should be taken more into consideration in the evaluation process.  Guiney said that although it is not formally considered in the APPR, there are ways for parents and students to voice concerns about teachers.

“We have a highly effective feedback form that parents should use whether they feel positively or negatively about a teacher,” Guiney said.  “We strongly consider them when considering teachers for tenure.”

The APPR is in effect for this school year. For more information on the review system, parents are asked to visit the district’s website

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