Teacher evaluations pose challenges at NCSD

By Shawn Magrath

Sun Staff Writer


NORWICH – While the New York State Common Core has recently put education reform in the spotlight, teachers at the Norwich City School District said during a school board meeting held Tuesday that they’re simultaneously battling a separate issue – the Annual Professional Performance Review.

The APPR, implemented in 2000 to evaluate probationary and tenured teachers, was amended in 2010 as part of the federal Race to the Top initiative which provides competitive grants to schools that meet certain criteria. Though newly enacted changes to the APPR may look good on paper, according to NCSD Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan, it’s a different story in the classroom.

“It really puts teachers under a tremendous amount of stress,” he said in a recent interview. “Those evaluations seem to be doing more harm than good ... For the state to throw so many new requirements at school districts all at once has been a recipe for disaster.”

Members of the Norwich School Board were presented with an outline of the APPR from a teacher’s standpoint during their monthly meeting at the Norwich Middle School on Tuesday. The synopsis included a description of work required by all teachers (barring teaching assistants and teacher aids) who receive an evaluation, as well as a breakdown of how teachers are evaluated and the challenges they typically face in the process.

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