What is Annual Professional Performance Review?
The Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) is the process by which teachers and principals are evaluated in New York State. The intent of APPR is to assist educators to improve the quality of instruction in schools and, in turn, to improve students’ performance and readiness for colleges and careers. District APPR plans must meet strict state guidelines and be negotiated with local unions. Under state guidelines, APPR takes into account classroom observations and student performance. Teachers and principals across New York ultimately receive an overall effectiveness rating every year. The Pine Bush Central School District APPR plan was approved by the New York State Education Department.
Have teachers and principals always been evaluated?
Yes. Teachers and principals have always been evaluated and held to specific standards. The APPR system was revamped in 2010, 2012 and, 2013 as a result of the federal Race to the Top education reform initiative, and again in 2015 as part of the 2015-16 New York State budget, which included an ambitious education reform agenda. Under the APPR system, evaluation plans must adhere to more stringent guidelines set by the state. A portion of the evaluations is directly tied to student performance on state exams or other state-approved learning measures. District plans must be submitted to and approved by the NYS Education Department.
What is the goal of APPR?
The evaluation system was one pillar of the larger federal Race to the Top education reform initiative that aims to improve the quality of instruction in our schools and, in turn, improve student performance and college and career readiness. The APPR requirements aim to provide standardized, objective evaluation results that can be used to better focus professional development for teachers and principals. According to the State Education Department, “The purpose of the evaluation system is to ensure that there is an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every school.”
How do I obtain my child’s teachers’ and principal’s rating?
The ratings must be requested by the parent or legal guardian. Pursuant to Education Law §3012-d(10)(b), each school district and BOCES shall fully disclose and release to the parents and legal guardians of a student the final quality rating and composite effectiveness score for each of the teachers, and for the principal of the school building, to which the student is assigned for the current school year upon the request of such parents and legal guardians. The governing body of each school district and BOCES is required to provide conspicuous notice to parents and legal guardians of the right to obtain such information.
Can I obtain the APPR rating for teachers and principals other than my child’s current teachers and principal?
No. Aggregate data on the APPR ratings of teachers and principals in a school district must be made available as described in Question P6 below, but Education Law §3012-d(10)(c) prohibits the release of APPR data that is personally identifiable, other than the data that must be released to the parents or guardians concerning their child’s current teachers and principal.
The law provides that a parent and legal guardian may only obtain the final rating and composite effectiveness score for the teachers and principal to whom their child is assigned for the current school year. Therefore, the parents or legal guardians may not receive the APPR ratings or composite scores for teachers their child was assigned in the prior year or for other teachers in their child’s school or district/BOCES.
Do I have to make a request for my child’s teacher’s rating in writing or can I get his/her rating and score over the phone?
Education Law §3012-d(10)(b) authorizes a parent or legal guardian to receive such data in any manner, including by phone or in person and requires that they receive an oral or written explanation for the composite effectiveness scoring ranges for final quality ratings; and that they be offered opportunities to understand such scores in the context of teacher evaluation and student performance.
To determine how to make a request for such information in your school district or BOCES, you should review your school district’s or BOCES’ policy on requests for such APPR information.
As a parent, am I entitled to receive APPR data relating to my child’s current teachers and/or principal other than their final quality rating and composite effectiveness score?
No. Education Law §3012-d(10)(b) does not authorize or require the release of other APPR data, such as subcomponent ratings or subcomponent scores of an individual teacher; data may only be provided as referenced below and if such data are not personally identifiable.
What are my obligations as a school district or BOCES to verify that it is a parent or legal guardian making a request for a teacher or principal’s APPR rating and/or score?
The new privacy law requires that school districts and BOCES ensure that any release to the public of APPR data does not include personally identifying information for any teacher or principal, provided, however, that nothing shall impair the right of parents and legal guardians to review and receive the final quality rating and composite effectiveness score of individual teachers to whom their child is assigned for the current school year, and of the principal of their child’s current school.
As a result, the law requires that reasonable efforts be made to verify that any request for APPR data for a child’s current teachers or principal is a bona fide request by a parent or guardian entitled to review and receive such data pursuant to Education Law §3012-d(10)(b). Therefore, the Department recommends that each school district and BOCES consult with their local counsel to develop an appropriate confidentiality policy to ensure that only authorized individuals receive such information.
What types of APPR data will be made available to the public for research, analysis and comparison of APPR data?
The law requires the Commissioner to fully disclose APPR data for teachers and principals in each school district and BOCES on the Department website and in any other manner to make sure data are widely available to the public. Such information will include the final quality rating and composite effectiveness scores by school district for principal evaluation data, and by school building for teacher evaluation data and, within each district and school building, by class, subject and grade; final quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores by region, district wealth, district need category, student enrollment, type of school (i.e., elementary, middle and high school), student need (e.g. poverty level), and district spending; final quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores by the percentage or number of teachers and principals in each final quality rating category, moving to a higher rating category than the previous year, moving to a lower rating category than the previous year, and retained in each rating category; and data on tenure granting and denial based on the final quality rating categories 7. The Department will also be releasing subcomponent scores by school district for principals and by school building for teachers.
Please note that any data provided on the Department’s website on the APPR ratings of teachers and principals will not reveal the teacher or principal’s identity or any other personally identifying information.
Will members of the public be able to receive APPR reviews for teachers and principals in my school district under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)?
No, pursuant to Education Law §3012-c(10)(c), APPR’s of individual teachers and principals shall not be subject to disclosure pursuant to Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, which is FOIL.
Does Education Law §3012-c(10) restrict the sharing of APPR data with officers and employees of a school district/BOCES or with the State Education Department?
Education Law §3012-c(10)(c) prohibits the release of personally identifying APPR information to members of the public, and is silent about release to school district or BOCES officers or employees.
Section 84.3 of the Commissioner’s regulations provides that information obtained from employee personnel records by members of the board of education shall be used only for the purpose of aiding members of the board to fulfill their legal responsibilities in making decisions in employee personnel matters, or to aid in the development and implementation of personnel policies, or such other uses as are necessary to enable the board to carry out legal responsibilities. Section 84.3 applies to APPR information.
Because Education Law §3012-c (10) is designed to balance the public’s right to know and the privacy rights of teachers and principals, the Department recommends that the internal release of an individual teacher’s or principal’s final quality rating, composite effectiveness score or any other personally identifying information to other school district officers and employees be similarly limited to those officers and employees whose access to such information is necessary to carry out their job responsibilities relating to employment decisions, APPR, and/or data management and data reporting and that all such officers and employees be bound by the confidentiality provisions of Education Law §3012-c(10)(c).
Therefore, the Department recommends that each school district and BOCES consult with their school attorney about your local policies on sharing such information.
Education Law §3012-c(10)(d) explicitly provides that nothing in subdivision (10) shall prohibit the State Education Department from collecting the APPR data and materials it needs to carry out its functions and duties.
I just received my State-provided growth score from my school district/BOCES, will the State be publishing my State-provided growth score?
No, not in a manner that would personally identify you as the teacher or principal that received a specific growth score. Education Law §3012-c(10) was added by Chapter 68 of the Laws of 2012 to protect the rights of parents and the public to access information about how the teachers, principals and schools charged with educating New York’s children are performing, while also respecting teacher and principal privacy. This section prohibits the Department, school districts and BOCES from releasing to the public APPR data, or any other data that are used as a component of APPR reviews that includes personally identifying information for any teachers or principals, provided however, that nothing shall impair the right of parents and legal guardians to review and receive the final quality rating and composite effectiveness score of individual teachers and principals. Therefore, individual teacher/principal State-provided growth scores will not be made available to the public, though aggregate data will be disclosed as discussed above.