APPR (Scary Stuff)

On opening day, we discussed the new APPR (annual professional performance review) as it is being implemented by the State.  Many of you have been asking questions about the plan.  How will it be implemented here at Westhill?  To whom will it apply?  What are we doing at the local level to mitigate the mess that the State has created?  We’ve been making progress with our Westhill plan and I wanted to share the latest info with you.

Many of the elements of the new APPR are subject to local collective bargaining.  The District can not unilaterally impose a new plan on our members.  They must, by law, sit down with us and negotiate those elements.  Other aspects are not open to negotiations (time-line, implementation, etc.).  That time-line dictates that grade 4-8 ELA and Math teachers will be evaluated under the new system this year.  All teachers will be evaluated under the new system next year.  Each teacher will receive a composite rating at the end of the year based on: 20% State test scores (if available), 20% local assessments, and 60% multiple measures (essentially observable elements throughout the year).  Because of the State Ed. Department’s (SED) rush to impose a new system, many aspects of the APPR are not complete.  It is very much a work in progress even though some of you will be evaluated under the new system this year.

In the last six months, Jeremie Auge, Jim Wickersham and myself have been attending workshops provided by NYSUT to provide guidance to locals around the state.  NYSUT has been taking a proactive approach to the new APPR regulations including the design of a teacher evaluation rubric which was approved by SED earlier this year.  Over the summer, we held two APPR workgroup meetings which were very productive (thanks to those who attended).  At those meetings, we reviewed the NYSUT rubric and discussed how it might be implemented here at Westhill.  Since then, Jeremie, Jim and I met with with the District and agreed to adopt the NYSUT rubric.  You can read about the rubric and download a copy here:

Our next step is to focus on the evidence gathering that will take place throughout the year.  This process (the 60% of the rating aka multiple measures) will be a collaborative effort between the building principal and the teacher.  In addition to a formal observation, it will likely include pre and post-observation conferences, short classroom walk-throughs, and a self-reflection/goal setting process which may reflect our current IPDP process.  Jeremie, Jim and I are meeting again with Steve and Carol on Wednesday to discuss the use of NYSUT’s TED workbook.  The TED workbook is designed to be used with all teachers across grade levels and content areas.  TED was designed and piloted by 6 school districts around the state through an AFT innovation fund grant.  It is a valuable model and allows school districts to engage in the collective bargaining process to tailor teacher evaluation and development to meet local needs.

What can you do to help?

  • Take a moment to review the NYS Standards on which this system is based @
  • If you want more, look over the NYSUT Teacher Practice Rubric @
  • Consider the assessments you use in class and how they reflect student achievement and growth.  The identification and development of viable local assessments will be an important part of this process.
  • Ask questions.  Don’t hesitate to chew the ear of your building rep. or WDEA officers, and you can certainly stop me at any time.  As an all-school teacher myself, and one that doesn’t have a State test, I’m interested in how this new system is impacting all of us, not just the ELA/Math/Regents level teachers.

Our main goal is to remain an active participant in the development of this new APPR plan.  We’ll be holding building meetings in November to bring you up to date and answer any questions that arise.  If you have a personal question or concern, drop me a note and I’ll get back to you as best I can.  We promise to keep you updated.  I’ll be posting links and info on the WDEA website @  Consider that your first-stop for information from the union.

Thanks for taking the time to stay informed.  As always, you can reach me via email, or on my cell phone (315) 882-6344.

Happy Halloween.

In solidarity,



About cnyteacher

News and notes on education, labor, politics and the arts from CNY teacher Greg McCrea.
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