The Dolgeville Central School District’s administration and its teachers union have agreed on a new system for evaluating all the district’s teachers, and the school board signed off on the agreement Tuesday evening.
The new system, which in part is based on student test scores, will not be a done deal until the state education department approves it, Superintendent of Schools Christine Reynolds said.
Reynolds added school districts around the state are facing the same state mandate for teacher and principal evaluation systems. The state dictated the basic requirements of the evaluation system and left it up to the districts and their unions to negotiate the fine points, she said.
Reynolds presented a breakdown of what the state requires for teacher evaluation Tuesday evening. She said 60 percent of the evaluation will be based on a teacher’s professional practice, including classroom observations; 20 percent will be based on student growth on state tests for grades and subjects for which there are state tests and on other tests when no state tests exist; and 20 percent will be based on measures of student achievement developed by the district and its union.
“Of the 100 points on the evaluation scale, the school district will base more than half on announced and unannounced classroom observations by the teacher’s building principal, who had to attend special training in order to be able to conduct the observations,” she said.
Reynolds added the state education department mandates a portion of the remaining 40 points be derived from students’ test scores on state assessments such as Regents exams.
Those scores, she said, will be compared to test scores of students throughout New York.
The remaining evaluation points will come from meeting a particular testing target goal, she said.
Under the system teachers will be rated as highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective, said Reynolds. Teachers who are rated ineffective for two years running can face dismissal.
School board member Mary Lou Huddleston asked whether the annual professional performance review system takes into consideration that a great teacher might have the lowest scoring students.
“Often times the most challenging students are given to the most effective teachers,” she said.
Reynolds said teachers rated as ineffective will be subject to an improvement plan, which must be submitted to the state education department, and can appeal the rating.
In other business Tuesday evening, the board of education agreed to a combined sports contract with Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School for wrestling. Reynolds said the agreement will allow students from Oppenheim-Ephratah to wrestle as members of the Dolgeville team.
“Oppenheim-Ephratah does not offer wrestling to its students, and this is an arrangement that has proven to be successful over a number of years,” she said. “It’s great to see students from the two schools participating on a single team together and it’s also great that we can offer students the opportunity to participate in a sport or an activity they otherwise would not have been able to.”