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NNCS, teacher’s union sign memorandum of understanding on APPR

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NORFOLK - Mandated changes to the Annual Professional Performance Review for teachers means an updated memorandum of agreement that was signed between the Norwood-Norfolk Central School District and the Norwood-Norfolk Teachers’ Association.

The district was the first in the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services region to adopt an agreement with its teachers in October 2011 to implement the APPR, according to Superintendent Elizabeth A. Kirnie.

Now, she said, that cooperative spirit between the district and teachers’ union has translated into the speedy passage of a memorandum of agreement to address changes made by the state.

“I credit the good relationship between the teachers and administration. We have excellent leadership in the teacher’s bargaining unit,” Mrs. Kirnie said.

She said they worked over the summer of 2011 on the plan and then were able to approve it in October.

“We came to a quick agreement on the APPR,” Mrs. Kirnie said.

But then there was more work to do, she said.

“Since then, the state made some changes. Notably, we chose to put in some protections for the teachers with the understanding that this is the first year and we’re all learning the process together,” she said.

There were also some changes “that were created by NYSUT (New York State United Teachers) in terms of how teachers were scored,” Mrs. Kirnie said. “There was a little more specificity into that.”

The changes in the agreement “were more editorial than substantive changes,” according to the superintendent.

“We quickly agreed (on the changes),” she said.

The current document is what they’re operating under this year, though there may be changes down the road, Mrs. Kirnie said.

“I believe it’s subject to amendment at any time. It would do us well, once we have a year of experience behind us, to take another look at it with the teacher’s bargaining unit and see if this is what will work for us, as long as we’re within the constraints of the document,” she said.

The New York State Board of Regents adopted regulations in May 2011 that called for the implementation of a statewide teacher and principal performance evaluation system that includes multiple measures of educator effectiveness.

The regulations, which took effect during the 2011-12 school year for math and English Language Arts teachers in grades four through eight, are required by legislation enacted last year. It took effect for other teachers in the 2012-13 school year.

The APPR is designed to measure teacher effectiveness based on performance. It includes measures of student achievement and evidence of educator effectiveness.

Using a 100-point scale, teacher performance will be labeled highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective. Their grades will be based in part on classroom observations and administrator walk-through visits, as well student performance and their growth in the subject area.

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