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NY school districts struggle to form new teacher evaluation plans

As the school year starts, many school districts across the state still need to grapple with the issue of a teacher evaluation system, especially if they want to continue to receive state aid. Only a small percentage of the state's schools have turned in an evaluation plan the state is happy with so far.If any of the state's 700 school districts don't come up with a state approved teacher evaluation system by January, they risk losing millions in state aid.  State Education Commissioner John King says schools are slowly complying with the new rules with the help of ten model plans that have been made available to schools for viewing.

“We were at ten just about ten days ago, we're at 70 now,” King said. “We expect each week there will be a number of new plans approved.  We also know now that there are ten models to look at, districts will be able to look at those to move the process along.” King addressed the issue while at an event in Syracuse.

Syracuse is one of the schools that is already on board with teacher evaluations. Henniger Spanish teacher Kari Egerbrecht has mixed feelings about the process so far.

"It gives a lot of tangible feedback and actual interaction between the administrator and the teacher; there's room for dialogue, we're able to assess ourselves, so I like the process. We just need to be really cognizant that we don't just look at ourselves as a result on a piece of paper,” she said.

The new system will evaluate teachers based on a mix of classroom performance and their students' standardized test scores, as well as other measures.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.