I am pleased to inform you that we have successfully concluded negotiations for a new Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) agreement. The one year pact will apply for the current school year and may be re-negotiated thereafter. The new agreement lessens the harmful impact of APPR on teachers and students by eliminating individual Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) for most teachers, eliminating APPR related pre-tests and post-tests, freeing up more time for teaching and learning, and setting a single district-wide target for improving student performance. The classroom evaluation of teaching portion will remain unchanged. The actual language of the new agreement, and a brief powerpoint explaining its highlights, was just emailed to your RTA Faculty Representatives and is posted on the RTA website <www.rochesterteachers.com>. Meanwhile, we are continuing our efforts to repeal the junk science known as APPR and to replace it, instead, with a truly professional system of teacher evaluation.
By now, everyone should have received their APPR ratings for the 2017-18 school year. Nearly 70 teachers successfully appealed their Developing or Ineffective (be)ratings. For those who just received their new or adjusted APPR scores, the deadline for filing an appeal is November 2. The Appeal Form is available on the RTA website and must be dropped off at the Human Capital Initiatives’ Career In Teaching (CIT) office at RCSD’s Central Office. Call the RTA (546-2681) if you need advice or support.
Here are a few other items of interest:
– Celebrating Great Teaching. This week’s Rochester Teachers Care video features Rachel Dobbs, a music teacher at School #4. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6h5vLhpqwU> She is a terrific representative of so many other creative and dedicated Rochester teachers who devote themselves every day to the education of our students. If you want to nominate someone(s) for recognition in future videos, please contact Aimee Rinere <email@example.com> or Matt Lavonas at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
– NYSUT Sues Regents and SED. The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) filed a suit last week on behalf of RTA and the Syracuse Teachers Association alleging that the New York Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department exceeded their authority by passing requirements that struggling schools must be staffed only by teachers who have received Effective or Highly effective APPR ratings. The lawsuit argues that such a requirement is lawfully a matter of local collective bargaining. Additionally, not challenging this regulation would be a missed opportunity to challenge the legitimacy and accuracy of APPR ratings. Most importantly, however, we must protect the right of teachers to negotiate their own terms and conditions of work.
– Help With NYS Certification. NYSUT is hosting its very first Certification Day on Saturday, November 3, from 8:30am until 3pm, at the NYSUT/RTA building (30 N. Union Street). This informational session is open to all union members who have questions about certification, application, certificate maintenance, additional credentials, or any aspect of the certification process. You can also get individual attention with your own certification concerns. To register, go to <www.cvent.com/d/4bq8td>. You may register for either the general morning session, the individual help slot, or both.
– Student Debt Clinics. The Greece Teachers Association and the Spencerport Teachers Association are hosting student debt clinics and have graciously invited NYSUT members in the Rochester area to also attend. The one-hour sessions are at no charge to members and will be presented by NYSUT Labor Relations Specialists.In this seminar, you’ll learn how to lower your student debt payments and the options that lead to eventual debt cancellation. Other topics are income-driven repayment plans, how to estimate payments, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and resources for completing the application process. Registration is capped at 50 participants per session. To register for the Greece TA clinic on Monday, October 29, 4-5pm, at 120 Erie Canal Drive, Rochester, NY 14626, go to <http://www.cvent.com/d/rbqqy8>. The Spencerport TA Clinic is on Wednesday, November 7, 3-4pm or 4:30-5:30pm, at Spencerport High School, Rooms 152153, 2707 Spencerport Road, Spencerport, NY 14559 and you can register at <http://www.cvent.com/d/pbqqys>.
Have a great rest of the week. As always, please call or email us if you have questions or if we can be of any assistance to you.
Adam Urbanski, RTA President