New Albany News

School board, teachers union review new evaluation policy

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The New Albany-Plain Local school board May 6 reviewed its new teacher evaluation system with members of the Plain Local Education Association, the local teachers union.

The district will pilot the system this fall. It implements recent changes in state law.

The new system will require each building's principal to evaluate every teacher annually, starting in fall 2014.

School board President Laura Kohler asked what happens in upcoming negotiations if the two sides can't agree on teacher evaluation or dismissals related to evaluations.

The district signed a three-year contract with PLEA that took effect June 30, 2011, and expires June 30, 2014.

Joe Armpriester, PLEA vice president, said the evaluation policy allows the district to "go forward and sign a collective-bargaining agreement."

"It allows what's been negotiated to be put back in this policy," Armpriester said.

School board Vice President Mike Klein said the draft teacher evaluation policy doesn't give the board much flexibility.

The draft document states: "The board agrees to bargain in good faith with the association during regular contract negotiations all elements of the new teacher evaluation system that are not expressly prohibited subjects of bargaining, and these negotiations must be ratified by both parties prior to the implementation of the new evaluation system. Upon ratification of the evaluation agreement, the board shall amend its evaluation policy to incorporate the terms of the parties' agreement."

PLEA President Michael Covey said the policy could change in the future, depending on contract negotiations, and it can be amended as needed.

School board member Mark Ryan said the two sides need to begin thinking about items that can wait three years and others that cannot wait that long to be discussed.

The approval of Ohio House Bill 555 in December 2012 requires 50 percent of a teacher evaluation to be based on student's progress.

The other half is derived from teacher performance measured to specific standards. Building principals are required to meet with teachers and set goals, observe the teacher in class at least two times each school year and meet with the teacher to determine accomplishments.

The new system uses Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession and includes "a professional growth plan, observations, walkthroughs and conferences to determine a teacher's performance rating," according to the Ohio Department of Education.

The board is expected to vote on the policy at the next meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 20, in Mershad Hall at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

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