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Buffalo Public Schools 25 Mar 2013

Buffalo Public Schools 25 Mar 2013

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Published by: cara12345 on Apr 24, 2013
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07/05/2013

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THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
/ THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Executive DirectorNew York State Education DepartmentOffice of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness, Policy and Programs89 Washington Avenue, 1071 EBAAlbany, NY 12234Office: (518) 486-2573Fax: (518) 474-4130
 
March 25, 2013Dr. Pamela BrownSuperintendentBuffalo Public Schools712 City HallBuffalo, New York 14202Dear Superintendent Brown:It has recently come to the attention of the Department that the Buffalo TeacherFederation’s website, located athttp://www.btfny.org, contains information relating tothe previously discussed January 15, 2013 memorandum of understanding (“MOU). The documented information appears to inaccurately indicate that the MOU signed byyou and the teachers’ union president regarding your district’s APPR plan is still ineffect. For example, in the February 2013 President’s Report, reference is made to
MOU #1
which allegedly states in part, that “No teacher will be negatively affected bythe results of their evaluation rating for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years.”Such language is contrary to Education Law §3012-c(1) and Section 30-2.1 of the Rulesof the Board of Regents, which require that annual professional performance reviews(APPRs) be a significant factor for employment decisions including but not limited to,promotion, retention, tenure determination, termination, and supplementalcompensation” and contradicts the specific assurances provided by the BPS and theircollective bargaining agents in its approved APPR plan, that “the evaluation system willbe used as a significant factor for employment decisions and teacher and principaldevelopment.”
 
In addition, for the 2012-2013 school year, BPS is eligible for approximately $11million in federal §1003(g) School Improvement Grant (“SIG) funds to implement the Transformation and Restart Models in certain schools. In order to faithfully implementthe federal Transformation Model in accordance with the federal requirements, schooldistricts must, among other things, “[i]dentify and reward school leaders, teachers, andother staff, who, in implementing this model, have increased student achievement andhigh school graduation rates and
identify and remove those who, after ampleopportunities have been provided for them to improve their professional practice,have not done so”
(emphasis added). As you are aware, failure to comply with theSIG requirements through implementation of an evaluation system that does not useteacher and principal evaluations in making such employment decisions could result inthe suspension of such funding.
 
 
 Please be advised that, as my January 29, 2013 letter indicated, (attachedherein), your district’s APPR plan, which was approved by the Department for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years on January 17, 2013, constitutes your entire APPR plan.As part of the signed certification in this plan, you and the presidents of the BPSteachers’ and administrators’ union, and the board of education acknowledged that thiswas the sole plan for the APPR of all classroom teachers and principals in your district. Therefore, the Department considers void any other previously signed agreementsbetween and among those parties and does not recognize any such agreements as partof BPSapproved January 17, 2013 APPR plan. BPS must implement the terms of itsapproved APPR plan.I again remind you of the Disclaimer that appears in Section 1 of the APPR planform that was completed and signed by BPS representatives on January 17, 2013: If the Department reasonably believes through investigation or otherwise that statementsmade in this APPR plan are not true or accurate, it reserves the right to reject this planat any time
and/or to request additional information to determine the truth and/or accuracy of such statements
(emphasis added). Moreover, in his January 17, 2013letter notifying BPS that its APPR plan was approved, Commissioner King stated: "As areminder, we are relying on the information you provided on your APPR form, includingthe certifications and assurances that are part of your approved APPR. If any materialchanges are made to your approved APPR plan, your district/BOCES must submit suchmaterial changes to us for approval.”Based on the information provided in the distinguished educator’s report(http://www.buffaloschools.org/files/90207/buffalode-1stqtrlyactionstatusreport.pdf ),which suggests that neither training for lead evaluators nor planning for implementationare complete, and the information that is currently on the Buffalo Teachers Federationwebsite, we are concerned about whether BPS is implementing its approved APPR planconsistent with the requirements of Education Law §3012-c and the regulations.In order to ensure that BPS is fully complying with the terms and conditions of thefederally funded SIG program and is in full compliance with the requirements of Education Law §3012-c and the regulations, the Department requires that you work withthe Buffalo Teachers Federation to ensure that all documents on their website thatrelate to the January 15, 2013 MOU and/or any documents that are contrary to theterms of BPS’ approved APPR plan and/or Education Law §3012-c and Subpart 30-2 of the Rules of the Board of Regents be removed immediately. Further, the Departmentrequires you to prohibit any further dissemination of these inaccurate materials,guidance, and any related components, including but not limited to the February andMarch President’s reports, memorandums, letters, and information found on the tablabeled “APPR” of the Buffalo Teachers Federation website:http://www.btfny.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99&Itemid=84.In addition to being contrary to your district’s signed APPR plan and the requirements of the SIG Transformation Model, these posted materials are inaccurate and misleading toteachers, principals, and community members at large.

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