Welcome back. I hope you had a restful and fun summer recess. Here’s a brief update on a few salient topics and timely announcements:
– Negotiations. Bargaining for a successor contract continued during the summer but we have not managed to reach an agreement yet. I am hopeful that we can conclude negotiations within the next several weeks. Meanwhile, teachers will receive a partial salary increase (increments) and most of the provisions of the expired contract will continue to be in effect until a new contract is ratified by teachers and by the Board of Education. We will keep you informed about any developments.
– Referendum on State Takeover. An effort to place a non-binding referendum on the ballot this November 5 faltered when the courts struck it down due to litigation filed by the Rochester City School District. The Mayor of Rochester, and the City Council, promoted such a referendum to determine whether the Rochester citizenry support a takeover of the Rochester schools by the State of New York and abolishing the elected school board. RTA was not a party to the litigation but we are confident that such a referendum would fail because there’s no reason to believe that Albany officials either know our students better than we do or care about our students more than we do. Admittedly we all must do better, but we must do so without disenfranchising Rochester’s voters from their democratic right to elect their own representatives.
– Welcome to the New Superintendent. Terry Dade, formerly an Area Superintendent in Fairfax County, VA has been selected by our Board of Education to be RCSD’s new Superintendent of Schools. His expressed priorities are to promote a more positive narrative, laser-like focus on teaching and learning, and unsurpassed collaboration. He has also pledged to be frequently present in our schools. We will do all we can to help him succeed because we know that if he succeeds then we all succeed – especially our students.
– Most Layoffs Restored. Despite the nearly 190 teacher layoffs projected by the District last Spring, all but just a handful have been recalled or offered positions. Additionally, the District hired approximately 160 new teachers, with more to be hired in the weeks ahead – especially in Special Education, ELL and Bi-Lingual areas. Newly-hired colleagues attended New Teacher Orientation on August 19 through August 22. We welcome them to our ranks.
– APPR. If you haven’t already been notified by the District about your 2018-2019 APPR scores and rating, you will soon receive an email with that information. Only 7 teachers have received Ineffective and 63 were rated as Developing. All others (2333) were rated as either Effective or Highly Effective. This means that no more than 70 teachers will be required to have a Teacher Improvement Plan. Last year, 243 teachers were. Teachers (be)rated as Developing or Ineffective have the right to appeal and must do so by September 19. An Appeal Form will be soon posted on the RTA website <www.rochesterteachers.com>. Adjustments to our APPR process are also a subject for the current negotiations between the District and the RTA.
– Labor Day Parade. This Monday, September 2nd, we will be marching with fellow workers at the annual Labor Day Parade. The parade begins at 11am but all are encouraged to show up by 10:30am. We will gather by the NYSUT/RTA building on North Union Street (between East Avenue and University). Please come and bring your friends and family.
Have a great new school year and do not hesitate to call us at the RTA (585 546 2681) if you have any questions or if we could be of assistance to you.
Adam Urbanski, RTA President