Date Posted

In a major victory for NYSUT, a new law ensures K-12 districts are not required to complete annual professional performance reviews for 2020-21 and will not lose any school aid as a result.

Here is a fact sheet from NYSUT about the change:

2021 APPR BILL

On June 7, the Governor signed Chapter 112 of the laws of 2021. This bill, which passed unanimously in both the senate and assembly, eliminates the requirement for school districts and BOCES to complete an annual professional performance review (APPR) for any classroom teacher or building principal for the 2020-21 school year. The bill also assures that state funding will not be withheld from any school district for not completing the APPR in the 2020-21 school year. A chapter amendment requested by the Governor makes it clear that districts do not have to complete an APPR this year.

Teacher Tenure Eligibility

Classroom teachers or building principals appointed during the 2017-18, 2018-19 and the 2019-20 school years, at the expiration of their probationary term, shall be eligible for tenure if he or she received composite APPR ratings pursuant to section 3012-c or 3012-d, of either effective or highly effective in at least one of the four preceding years and did not receive an ineffective rating in the final year of his or her probationary period, or during the most recent school year where a rating was received. Any probationary classroom teachers or building principals appointed during the 2020-21 school year shall be eligible for tenure at the expiration of his or her probationary period if he or she received composite APPR ratings pursuant to section 3012-c or 3012-d of either effective or highly effective in at least two of the four preceding years and did not receive an ineffective rating in the final year of his or her probationary period, or during the most recent school year where a rating was received. These changes ensure teachers hired during these years will not be penalized because of the lack of APPR ratings in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. A chapter amendment requested by the Governor makes it clear that the tenure appointment is not automatic and the decision rests with the district.

Shortened Probationary Period

Any probationary classroom teacher hired during the 2020-21 school year who was appointed on tenure in another school district within the state, the school district where currently employed or a BOCES and who was not dismissed as a result of charges brought pursuant to subdivision one of section 3020-a or 3020-b, shall be appointed for a probationary period of three years; provided that, in the case of a classroom teacher such individual demonstrates that he or she received a 3012-c or 3012-d APPR rating in the 2017-18 or 2018-19 school year.

2020 EXECUTIVE ORDER

As part of New York State’s COVID-19 emergency actions, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order on June 7, 2020 addressing the 2019-20 school year APPR ratings and tenure decisions dependent upon those ratings. As a result of the state’s earlier emergency actions of school building closures, virtual teaching and the cancelation of state assessments, districts were unable to complete and comply with the approved Annual Professional Performance Review plans. Required in-person teacher observations were not complete in most districts prior to the buildings being closed and the required student performance measure assessments used for most teachers in their approved plans were canceled due to the pandemic.

The Governor’s executive order exempts, to the extent necessary, school districts from completing annual professional performance reviews for classroom teachers and building principals during the 2019-20 school year without the loss of state aid.

The order further addresses tenure decisions for educators in their final year of probation. Under the order, a board of education or the trustees of a common school district, are allowed, for the 2019-20 school year, to grant tenure to those classroom teachers and building principals recommended by the superintendent of schools. These educators must have received the previous requisite annual professional performance review ratings pursuant to §3012-d of the education law, notwithstanding that their annual professional performance review had not been completed and they had not received the necessary effectiveness rating for the 2019-20 school year would have been, in the discretion of the superintendent, qualified for tenure appointment based upon past performance. The ability for the Board of Education or trustees of a common school district to extend tenure determination for an additional year continues to be an option.

The executive order does not address the lack of 2019-20 APPR ratings on teachers in their first three years of tenure or for tenured teachers seeking a shortened probationary appointment.

2019 BUDGET

The 2019-2020 State Budget made important changes to the student performance portion of the Annual Professional Performance Review, APPR (3012-c and 3012-d). The Board of Regents adopted emergency regulations on October 8, 2019. The new APPR language eliminated the requirement to use state tests and gives the local collective bargaining representative the right to negotiate the selection and use of an assessment in a teacher or principal’s evaluation with the district. The following is an overview of the amended APPR language and how those amendments fit into the entire APPR process for teachers.

APPR SYSTEM

The system continues the two category matrix system that includes student performance and teacher observation. This matrix system has produced the lowest number of ineffective ratings since the original law was adopted (Note: The matrix below).

Student Performance Category

All decisions regarding the student performance category will be made locally through the collective bargaining process. The language eliminates the two tier system where teachers in “tested” subjects must have individual SLOs or growth scores and teachers in “non-tested” subjects individual or group SLO’s. It eliminates the calculation and use of the state provided growth model from APPR. The law also eliminates the requirement to use state tests in the APPR. This change allows locals to determine whether or not to use the state 3-8 ELA and Math, 4 & 8 Science, NYSESLAT, Alternative Assessment and Regents exams as either individual or group measures in the APPR at the bargaining table.

Each local can choose to continue their current 3012-d transition APPR plan until a new collective bargaining agreement is agreed to that adheres to the new law, with no loss of state aid. All measures already approved for use in APPR are required to remain options under the new law. For example, if locally negotiated, all teachers, including high school Regents teachers, could be covered by group measures, removing the high stakes nature of individual SLOs. The amendments do not give any new authority to the commissioner, the commissioner cannot remove any of the student performance measures already approved nor can the commissioner mandate a new test.

The student performance category continues to have one required and one optional subcomponent, all locally negotiated. The first subcomponent is an SLO consistent with a goal-setting process determined or developed by the commissioner, which results in a student growth score. This subcomponent could be a group measure covering all teachers. This determination is made through collective bargaining. The optional second subcomponent can be either based on a state-created or administered test or based on a state-designed or approved supplemental assessment. The language from 3012-d that created a disincentive to have a second optional subcomponent, effecting the matrix for districts with these subcomponents, has been eliminated from the language.

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