Preparing for a New Year with New Laws

Superintendent’s Conference Days and Summer Workshops Focus on New Requirements

Bayport-Blue Point teachers and administrators dedicated a great deal of time prior to the first day of school preparing for the implementation of two new state laws – the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) system and the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).

APPR is a New York State educational law that calls for each school district in the state to create a measurable review plan to assess the performance of its teachers and administrators, and to have that plan approved by the state and in place by January 2013. The district has been preparing for the execution of this law for the past several months and focused this summer on its implementation.

The plan breaks each individual’s review into three categories - student growth, student achievement and multiple measures, including classroom observations. A composite score of these factors is then used to identify the individual as either a highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective teacher or principal. As part of the student growth component, educators will be evaluated based on a pre-determined statement called a Student Learning Objective (SLO). This piece describes what the teachers believe the students will be able to know, do or value as a result of their educational experiences. 

In order to further assist the district with meeting the state’s October 1 deadline for creating the SLOs, presenter Michael Keany conducted a workshop in late August for approximately 75 members of the district’s teaching staff and administration. During this workshop, Mr. Keany discussed the evaluation process and the proper way to write a SLO. Attendees were provided with sample SLOs and the opportunity to brainstorm ideas for creating Bayport-Blue Point’s SLOs.

Mr. Keany also provided an overview on the topic of APPR to the entire district’s faculty and staff during the second superintendent’s conference day in September. Following his remarks, all staff members broke into grade-level and department-level meetings to work on their SLOs. Those staff members trained during the August workshop provided turnkey lessons and acted as valuable resources for their colleagues.

DASA, a state law that aims to protect students from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying both on school property and during school functions, was discussed at length during the district’s first superintendent’s conference day. Ingerman Smith LLP attorney Kristi DiPaolo and Chris Clayton presented an overview of the new legislation, which was approved by the state in 2010 and became effective on July 1, 2012.
"While I have questioned some New York state initiatives in the past, I am in full support of the Dignity for All Students Act," Bayport Interim Superintendent of Schools Neil Lederer said. "Over the past several years, bullying has become a major problem in schools, both locally and nationally, especially at the middle school level.  I am quite encouraged and pleased by this new state regulation and believe it goes towards helping to make our schools and community a safer place for children."