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RCS District Office
P.O. Box 100
15 Mountain Road
Ravena, NY 12143
(518) 756-5200
Robert K. Libby,
Superintendent

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State Education Department Approves RCS APPR Plan

(Aug. 31, 2012) On Tuesday, Aug. 28, the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District was informed by the State Education Department that the district’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan had been approved. This plan was submitted as required under the revised teacher and principal evaluation law passed earlier this year (NYS Education Law 3012-c).

RCS submitted its plan by the initial July 1 deadline, and is one of the first districts in the region to receive approval from SED. As of Aug. 28, only four school districts in the Capital Region and 38 of 728 districts statewide had received approval for their APPR plans.

"Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our teachers, administration and Professional Practice Committee, we were able to develop a successful APPR plan in a timely manner,” said Director of Curriculum and Instruction Elizabeth Santa Barbara. “Throughout the complex development process, our staff demonstrated a collective commitment to meeting the needs of all parties and to creating a plan that would provide valuable long-term results for our students. We are proud to be one of the first districts in the region and the state to achieve approval."

The legislation requires districts to develop and implement a comprehensive, state-approved evaluation system for all teachers and school-level leaders. These evaluations are standardized to include measures of student growth, determined by state-provided student assessment data or district-developed student learning objectives, as well as local assessments and measures and other district-determined measures, which can include classroom observations, state-approved surveys, lesson plan and student portfolio reviews and other measures.

Every district in the state is required to develop an APPR plan based on those state requirements and legislative regulations and submit that plan for approval by the State Education Department. Finalizing the district’s plan required cooperation between district administrators, teachers and union representatives and the approval of the Board of Education.

According to RCS Teacher’s Union President Matt Miller, “The plan was achieved through a team effort of collaboration, communication and professionalism.”

Teachers and administrators throughout New York State will be adapting to a number of changes this school year, including the implementation of the new APPR evaluation system and Common Core Learning Standards. RCS aims to implement those changes as unified tools to help the district better meet its educational mission.

"It was our primary goal to develop an evaluation plan that we believe will best realize the intent of the legislative mandate: to provide objective data that will drive focused staff development and improve student achievement through improved teacher performance," said Superintendent of Schools Elisabeth Smith. “We are pleased to have received early approval for our plan, as we can now move forward with implementing the new evaluations.”

Approval of the district’s APPR plan confirms the district’s eligibility for two significant competitive state grants, the School District Performance Improvement Grant ($393,104) and the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Grant ($245,875), which is intended to fund programs that will improve the long-term impact of districts’ APPR plans by enhancing the development, recruitment and retention of highly effective teachers and school leaders.