August 27, 2015 APPR Compliance Deadlines Reminder
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
Earlier this summer, the Board of Regents adopted regulations implementing the new Annual Professional Performance Review (“APPR”) requirements. This memorandum summarizes the requirements and deadlines for compliance.
2014-2015 School Year APPR Certification Due by August 28, 2015
Pursuant to Education Law § 3012-c and the Rules of the Board of Regents, Board presidents and superintendents must certify by August 28, 2015 that the 2014-2015 school year APPR plan was adopted and implemented in accordance with the requirements in effect for that year. The required certification form, to be submitted through the State Education Department (SED) portal, can be accessed at http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/teachers-leaders/docs/appr-implementation-certification-form.pdf.
2014-2015 School Year Staff Evaluation Rating Data Due by October 16, 2015; Statement of Confirmation Form Required by October 23, 2015
School districts and BOCES must submit 2014-2015 school year staff evaluation composite ratings and subcomponent scores to the Student Information Repository System (SIRS) by October 16, 2015. A statement of confirmation form must be submitted to SED prior to October 23, 2015 certifying the accuracy of the staff evaluation data. The required confirmation form can be accessed through the SED portal and must be completed by the agency’s certifying official.
2015-2016 School Year APPR Plan Required to be Submitted by October 1, 2015 for SED Approval by November 15, 2015
Education Law § 3012-d and its implementing Board of Regents Rules (Subpart 30-3) mandate the creation of a revised APPR process for teachers and principals effective July 1, 2015. School districts and BOCES must submit compliant APPR plans to SED for review and approval. To receive the 2015-2016 State aid increase, SED approval must be obtained by November 15, 2015. In order to obtain approval by November 15, 2015, SED requires that plans be submitted by October 1, 2015. Since the approval process is interactive, it is strongly recommended that APPR plans be submitted as early as possible to make sure that State aid increases are not placed in jeopardy.
As was the case with the first APPR rollout, Education Law § 3012-d mandates that certain aspects of the plan must be collectively bargained. The use and selection of an optional student growth subcomponent and the percentages to be assigned to each subcomponent must be negotiated. Implementation of the Teacher (and Principal) Observation/Visitation requirements must also be negotiated. This includes the number of classroom observations beyond the required minimum of one principal/administrator observation and one impartial independent evaluator(s) observation; i.e., whether to have a third observation by an effective or highly effective trained peer teacher, the frequency and duration of observations and the details regarding the use of pre or post observation conferences. Unlike Section 3012-c, Section 3012-d does not specify which subject matters are non-mandatory subjects of bargaining. Therefore, it is recommended that counsel be consulted as necessary.
As part of the APPR plan’s submission to SED, the superintendent and the union representatives must certify that the evaluation process uses the standards for scoring ranges recently provided in the Commissioner’s regulations.
Hardship Waiver Application Submission Period October 1, 2015 – October 30, 2015
Although not specifically authorized by statute or the Board of Regents Rules, SED has issued a field memorandum providing a process for obtaining Hardship Waivers for districts unable, through no fault of their own, to obtain an SED approvable APPR plan by November 15, 2015. According to SED, a district that is granted a waiver will remain eligible for a State aid increase. The Hardship Waiver application submission period commences on October 1, 2015 and completed applications must be submitted to SED by October 30, 2015. If a waiver application is denied or deemed untimely, the district will not receive a 2015-2016 State aid increase. The application form can be found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/memos/tle/appr-deadline-and-timeline.pdf.
In order to be eligible for a waiver, a district must first timely complete the requirements necessary to close out its APPR for the 2014-2015 school year; i.e., certify by August 28, 2015 that the 2014-2015 school year APPR plan was adopted and implemented in accordance with the requirements in effect for that year, submit the 2014-2015 school year staff evaluation composite ratings and subcomponent scores to the SIRS by October 16, 2015, and submit to SED prior to October 23, 2015 the statement of confirmation form certifying the accuracy of the staff evaluation data (see above).
An applicant for a waiver must submit evidence of good faith attempts, prior to November 15, 2015, to negotiate a § 3012-d APPR plan and the steps taken and those planned to train administrators, evaluators, teachers and other relevant staff on the new APPR system. In order to preserve this option, care should be taken to document in detail the district’s attempts to schedule and bargain with the teacher and principal unions. This would include records of dates and times on which meetings were held, letters and memos regarding attempts to schedule bargaining sessions, minutes of meetings and other discussions held with teacher and principal unions, and a signed attestation form from all parties that attempts were made to meet with bargaining units to discuss a new APPR plan. Evidence of steps taken to train staff could include, but would not be limited to, a calendar of training dates and activities, sample training activities, and recertification training already conducted as a result of a § 3012-c APPR plan where that training is aligned with the § 3012-d APPR plan (e.g., certification of new evaluators, re-certification of lead evaluators, annual SLO training and calibration sessions). Districts must continue to negotiate in good faith and continue required staff training after an application has been submitted or approved.
A district could receive up to three waivers, each of four months’ duration. Waiver requests will be reviewed on a rolling basis. If an APPR plan is approved by SED prior to March 1, 2016, it will apply to the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year. If a plan is approved after March 1, 2016, it will apply to the 2016-2017 school year.
Districts continue to be required to publish the APPR plan on their websites by September 10, or no later than 10 days after the plan is approved by SED. Thus, if a new § 3012-d APPR plan is not approved by this deadline, the existing § 3012-c plan must be published.
The entire APPR plan must be completed and provided to each teacher and principal no later than September 1 of the school year next following the school year for which the teacher or principal’s performance is measured. The score or rating on the observation/school visit category and in the optional subcomponent of the student performance category, if available, will be computed and provided to the teacher or principal, in writing, by no later than the last day of the school year, but in no case later than September 1.
Districts must formulate and commence the implementation of a teacher or principal improvement plan by October 1 for any teacher or principal who receives an overall rating of Developing or Ineffective for the prior school year.
If you have any questions about the new APPR requirements or would like assistance with the negotiation or drafting of your 2015-2016 APPR plan, please contact us.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
© Lamb & Barnosky, LLP 2015