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Edgemont Schools Deal With New Teacher Evaluations

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Adapting to new teaching evaluations will be one of Edgemont Union Free School District's biggest challenges for the 2012-2013 academic year, said Superintendent Nancy Taddiken at the Board of Education's meeting Tuesday night, the first since the start of the school year.

Parents, students and staff members also attended the board meeting to hear the status of the district's first week of school. 

It's been a smooth start so far, Taddiken said, but a new teaching evaluation system implemented by the state will  be an ongoing challenge throughout the year.  

"The whole idea of the APPR [Annual Professional Performance Review] is growth, she said. "This is a big job and we're still trying to determine the best way to preserve Edgemont's teaching model."

The newly implemented APPR requires New York schools to file plans with the state about the year's teaching evaluations. New APPR guidelines are now stricter and more complex – and unnecessary for some schools, Taddiken said, because the Edgemont district already had a fine-tuned evaluation system in place.

"It's something the state has legislated that was not designed for a district like Edgemont, where we already had an evaluation system that was working well," she said. 

State-mandated training also requires the district to provide five sets of two-day training sessions for staff members, meaning the district must take some teachers out of the classrooms "at a time when we would prefer not to," Taddiken said. With Edgemont's staff, a total of 488 classroom observations must be made throughout the year; the observer duties being shared among only nine administrators.

The evaluation system will look "with special scrutiny" at the district's 12 staff members who are eligible for tenure this year, she said.

"One of the most important things we can do in our whole professional practice is to make sure we have good teaching," Taddiken said. "We are committed to making sure that the new APPR does not rob the best aspects of Edgemont."

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Oct. 9, but Taddiken said the board might schedule another meeting for September.

The schedule and additional information can be found at the Edgemont School District's website.

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