School news

Teacher evaluations in Lynbrook, East Rockaway


The state Education Department has approved a new teacher evaluation plan for the Lynbrook School District and members of the East Rockaway School District are aiming for a similar approval in the coming weeks.

The new Annual Professional Performance Review plans, commonly known as APPR, are mandated in states which took federal Race to the Top funds. This is the first time teacher performance will tie into student success on tests.

The state formally approved Lynbrook’s plan on Sept. 12 after speaking with administrators the previous day. Interim Superintendent Melissa Burak said the plan only needed small changes, which is why it was approved so quickly after speaking with the state.

Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, and Craig Kirchenberg, president of the Lynbrook Teachers Union, formulated Lynbrook’s plan. Burak said the district wanted to keep a high level of teaching in its classrooms while being fair to its teachers.

“We wanted to make sure that the teachers’ instruction … remains of a high quality,” she said. “We wanted to make sure the teachers that we consider effective would still meet the criteria of being effective according to the new guidelines.”

After speaking with members of the state Education Department last month, administrators from the East Rockaway School District are now addressing the changes that were suggested in their original plan. Districts had until July 1 to submit their plan to the state.

John Piccarella, director of curriculum and technology, is currently working with a committee that consists of teachers from the district’s two elementary schools, teachers from the junior and senior high school, principals and department supervisors, to reach an agreement on the recommended changes. Superintendent Roseanne Melucci estimated that the changes should be made within the next few weeks.

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