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General Brown administrators, teachers to receive “coaching”

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DEXTER — General Brown Central School District has begun implementing an aggressive evaluation plan that far exceeds expectations of the new state model.

General Brown’s plan includes a biweekly visit from an administrator to a team of teachers and subsequent quick-review meetings. The purpose, according to Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr., is to maximize teacher instruction in order to improve student achievement.

“With last year’s scores, the kids showed progress,” Mr. Vigliotti said. “It was incremental, and I, quite honestly, expected more progress. That’s what we work toward.”

The system divides teachers into six teams of 15 to 17 teachers overseen by an administrator, a certified lead evaluator of teachers. Administrators would visit classrooms every other week during a 15-minute unannounced classroom walk through, and that day, or within 24 hours, the teacher and administrator would sit down together for a few minutes to discuss findings.

“The idea is to increase proficiencies, expand strategies and create a continued dialogue about that person’s teaching practice,” Mr. Vigliotti said. “There won’t be anything written, as far as formal. That same principal would also formally observe those same teachers under the law.”

Mr. Vigliotti said there are six to seven weeks in between state benchmarks in grades three through eight. If General Brown administrators and teachers are able to connect more during that in-between time, their chances for improving instruction and, therefore, student performance are greater, he said.

General Brown’s program is separate from the required observations under the state law, but the same administrator will conduct observations for both the district’s program and the state law. Having that consistency, Mr. Vigliotti said, will provide administrators with a more well-rounded assessment of each teacher, especially after their classroom observations will be scheduled at different times of the day.

This process, he said, creates for teachers a go-to person for instructions. Increasing communication and collaboration will positively affect instruction, he said.

“With the new model, the teacher will receive more feedback in a year than 20 years with the old model,” Mr. Vigliotti said.

Meanwhile, he said, the district is in the home stretch for rolling out its evaluation plan.

The district-approved plan was supposed to be in place with the state Education Department by July 1, but Mr. Vigliotti said the process needs more time not only for General Brown, but also other area school districts. Dexter Elementary Principal Lisa K. Smith said a committee has put in 56 hours from 14 meetings into developing a solid plan.

Negotiations between the General Brown Teachers Association and the General Brown Administrators Association have occurred, and once final review and ratification occur, that plan will be presented to the school board. From there, he said, the state needs to approve, but that could take up to eight weeks.

If the plan is not in place by Jan. 1, General Brown could lose state aid, Mr. Vigliotti said.

During the Board of Education’s monthly meeting Monday at the junior-senior high school, Mr. Vigliotti said General Brown’s own evaluation plan began, as he made an unannounced stop to one of the district’s administrators.

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