We know Buffalo submitted its 2012-13 teacher eval plan to the state late Monday.
What we don't know is exactly what's in it. And it seems to be anyone's guess at this point when we're going to find out.
Nobody seems inclined to release a copy of the eval plan that Buffalo submitted until the state reviews it and decides whether to approve it -- and it's not clear how soon state officials plan to do that.
- Teachers will be observed in the classroom twice a year, instead of once.
One of those observations will be unannounced.
That's all in keeping with the state law that went into effect this year. (Rumore a few weeks ago told me he didn't think the 2012-13 eval plan would have to comply with the new law, but apparently he since changed his mind.)
- Student absenteeism will be counted differently.
Under the 2011-12 plan, student absenteeism was evaluated on a schoolwide basis. Not so under the new plan.
This time around, student absenteeism will be "more based on student absenteeism in an individual teacher's class," Rumore said.
- Similarly, under the last eval plan, student growth was based on schoolwide test scores. Not so in the 2012-13 plan.
"Last year, we had to use the whole school's score. We didn't have a pre-test and post-test," Rumore said. "This year, our fundamental change is going to be that we'll have an analysis based on an individual teacher's class. There will be a pre-test at the beginning of the year, then a post-test."
- Teachers in certain grades or subject areas will be exempt from the pre-tests and post-tests. Rumore said that group will include pre-kindergarten teachers, psychologists and social workers. Evaluations for those people will be based on the traditional observations, he said.
While Buffalo met the state's deadline for submitting the new evaluation plan, it seems there are a number of details that the union and the district have not yet ironed out.
For example, the two sides need to decide how much each of the classroom observations will be counted. The new law says there must be two observations, one of them unannounced, but it does not say whether each observation must be counted equally.
"Some districts are adding both and dividing by two -- averaging them. Some districts are counting the announced one as 60 percent (of the observation component of the evaluation), and the unannounced one 40 percent," Rumore said. "We really haven't come to closure on that yet. It's something we have to discuss with the district."
Also still needing to be worked out: rules regarding the unannounced observations.
"We have to negotiate how that's going to work," Rumore said. "We don't want it to be before a holiday or after a holiday."
As soon as a copy of the eval plan is released, we'll have complete details on exactly what it will mean for Buffalo teachers. (Remember, the 2012-13 plan will apply to every teacher in the district.)
- Mary Pasciak