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Valhalla Teacher Evaluation Chosen As Model Plan

VALHALLA, N.Y. – A new teacher evaluation system in the Valhalla Union Free School District was not only approved by the New York State Education Department, it was picked as one of 10 in the state for other districts to imitate.

“To see that the state approved our plan is a really great thing not only for our teachers but also for our students,” said district Superintendent Brenda Myers.

The new evaluation plan is a part of the state-mandated Advanced Professional Performance Review system. The state Education Department chose 10 models and posted the plans on its website for other districts to determine their own plans for reviewing teachers. Valhalla was the only district chosen in Westchester County.

The district-specific portion of the teacher evaluation system includes 60 percent teacher observation, which Myers said will be both formal and informal. The teachers will be evaluated on the Charlotte Danielson model , which looks at many factors such as managing the classroom and environment and using resources properly.

Twenty percent of the evaluation will be based on a third-party test, which will be the TerraNova exam . That exam will be used for kindergartners through 12th-graders for math, social studies, science and language arts. Myers said the other subjects will go through a local performance review determined by each department.

The remaining 20 percent of the evaluation will be determined by the state-provided test.

Myers said the plan allows for growth, as it sets goals for teachers based on the number of students who reach a determined percentage of proficiency. Myers added that a comprehensive training session will begin soon with the district's teachers to inform them on the new policy just before the school year starts.

“It’s great because we can get the ball rolling on this right away and not have to wait until after the school year starts,” Myers said.

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