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Pedagogues filling long-term positions are ordinarily rated once per year. The principal must rate any pedagogue who serves 20 days in her or his school. (DOE By-Laws) There are currently two evaluation processes in DOE schools. Classroom teachers, who teach an average of two periods daily for at least six months of the school year, are evaluated under the Advance rating system. All other pedagogues are evaluated under the S/U system.

The rating officer is ordinarily the principal under either system.

Under the S/U system, ratings may be:

  • Satisfactory (S)
  • Unsatisfactory (U) — may be accompanied by a discontinuance of probationary service/denial of completion of probation
  • Doubtful (D) — may only be given to a probationer in the first year of service. The individual may not be completing probation.
  • Not applicable (N/A) — may be used only when a pedagogue is reassigned out of his or her regular assignment for disciplinary reasons. It applies only for the period of reassignment and cannot be used in any proceeding.

A U-rating may be accompanied by a discontinuance of probationary service or denial of completion of probation. A pedagogue who receives notice of discontinuance of probationary service or denial of completion of probation is entitled to a review procedure as provided in Article 5 Section 5.3.4 of the By-Laws. A pedagogue who receives such notice should be advised to call the borough office immediately.

A discontinuance of probationary service does not terminate a teacher’s license but merely the probationary service in a particular district. If the teacher can secure a new position in a different district, he/she can begin a new period of probationary service.

S/U ratings are due:

  • Within the last 10 school days of the year, but no later than four days before the end of the school year.
  • Not more than four days following the termination of service for a person whose assignmentis terminated at some time other than the end of the school year. (By- Laws)

U-ratings or D-ratings must be accompanied by support data.

Under the Advance system, ratings may be:

  • Highly effective (HE)
  • Effective (E)
  • Developing (D) — a teacher who receives this rating will be subject to a Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP). (See the Advance Ratings section for more information.)
  • Ineffective (I) — a teacher who receives this rating will be subject to a Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP). (See the Advance Ratings section for more information.)

Advance Ratings are due:

  • The Measure of Teacher Performance Rating (MOTP) is due by June 26.
  • Overall ratings, which include Measure of Student Learning (MOSL) scores, are due by Sept. 1.

Consequences of an adverse rating (U or I):

  • A pedagogue who has not reached the maximum pay step may be denied salary increments until they are rated satisfactory, developing, effective or highly effective.
  • Should an adverse rating be reversed on appeal, the employee will retroactively be placed on his or her proper pay step with interest.
  • An applicant for another license may be denied the license on the basis of adverse ratings.
  • A probationer who receives an adverse rating in the last year of probation may be denied tenure.
  • An adverse rating may lead to attempts to dismiss the person, even when he or she has tenure.

Other ratings pedagogues receive:

Probationers receive a report on teaching service during each year of probationary service.This is more detailed than the annual rating for tenured teachers and asks for the principal’s recommendation for continuation of service. The teacher must receive a copy at the time of filing.

Teachers who receive an Ineffective, Unsatisfactory or Doubtful rating, or fear they are likely to receive one, should confer with their chapter leader and arrange to see a representative in their borough office as soon as possible. They should bring all papers that may bear on the rating: reports of observation, notes for reprimand, etc. If the teacher is tenured she or he may want to seek the services of the Peer Intervention Program.

Advance ratings

Overall ratings are based on three components or measures: Measures of Teacher Practice (MOTP) accounts for 60 percent of the rating and Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) State and Local comprise the remaining 40 percent.

In the MOTP portion, teachers are observed multiple times over the course of the year and each observation is accompanied by feedback. Evaluators score observations, rating eight key components of the Danielson Framework for Teaching (2013) for evaluative purposes.         

There are four observation options in Advance. The teacher chooses their option at an Initial Planning Conference — which is held in the fall — by the last Friday in October.

Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) used in Advance are based on student growth over the year. State measures (20 percent of rating) include state-determined measures, and for some grades and subjects, a list of allowable assessments that can be used. Local measures (20 percent) of rating Includes options chosen from a state-approved list by the school’s Local Measures Committee and submitted to the principal, who may accept the recommendation or opt for the Local Measures default (schoolwide) measure.

Teachers who receive an overall rating of Developing or Ineffective work with their evaluators to develop and implement a Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP). These plans are not disciplinary in any way and are meant to assist and develop teachers. The plan identifies specific improvement areas as well as a timeline and plan for assessing improvement. As a part of the TIP, the teacher and his/her evaluator will engage in three meetings throughout the school year to discuss and assess the progress the teacher has made/is making toward achieving improvement on the outlined activities.

For more information, please see the Advance Educator Guide 2014-15.

Appeals of adverse ratings

Adverse ratings are not subject to the grievance procedure and are handled through the borough offices.

All pedagogues have the following procedural rights at appeal hearings:

  • To appear in person
  • To have an adviser present who may be an employee of the DOE or are representative of the UFT. The adviser may not be an attorney.
  • To confront witnesses
  • To call witnesses
  • To cross-examine witnesses
  • To introduce relevant evidence
  • To secure a copy of the testimony upon payment of a fee

Advance rating system

Appeals are filed through the borough offices once final ratings are received in September. Teachers who receive an overall rating of Ineffective should contact their borough office immediately to begin the appeal process. Appeals under this system must be specific and detailed. Trained advisers are available in each borough to assist members through the process of filing their appeal.

All appeals must be scheduled within the school year in which they are filed, including summer and excluding recess periods. Within 15 school days prior to the hearing the department must submit a written response to the appeal and any additional documents or written materials specific to the point(s) of disagreement that support their response and are relevant to the resolution of the appeal.

There are two appeals under this system: Chancellor's appeals and panel appeals.

Chancellor’s appeals

Chancellor’s appeals are handled by the Department of Education’s Office of Appeals and Reviews. A teacher in year one status (not rated ineffective in the prior year) has the right to appeal their rating to the chancellor.

Chancellor’s appeals may address the substance of the rating, compliance with negotiated procedures as well as adherence to procedures under State Education Department law 3012-C and regulations of the commissioner. Additionally, the issuance or implementation of the terms of the Teacher Improvement Plan, if applicable, may be addressed.

All grounds for the appeal must be raised with specificity within the appeal. Grounds not raised at the time the appeal is filed are deemed waived, and may not be raised at the appeal hearing. The overall rating form must be submitted with the appeal.

An adviser/advocate is assigned by the borough office to represent the teacher at their appeal hearing. Each side has two hours to present their case. The rating officer may appear in person or via video conference or telephone. The teacher and all witnesses shall appear in person.

Panel appeals

The union may select up to 13 percent of the number of ineffective ratings to take to panel appeals. The sole basis of these appeals is that the rating was based on “harassment or something other than the teacher’s job performance.” The three-member panel is made up of one member selected by the UFT, one member selected by the Department of Education and a neutral arbitrator. The teacher is represented by an advocate from the Appeals Division of the Grievance Department. The teacher bears the burden of proving that the rating was based on harassment or something other than job performance. Decisions in this forum are due within 30 days of the hearing, and are precedential.

S/U ratings system

A pedagogue who receives an unsatisfactory or doubtful rating has three weeks (exclusive of summer vacation) to submit notice of appeal in letter form to the executive director of the Division of Human Resources with a copy to the principal. If the pedagogue appeals directly, a copy should also be sent to the UFT borough office. We encourage members to file through their UFT borough office.

It is not necessary or advisable to discuss the basis of the rating in this notice of appeal. This applies to regular pedagogues, whether on tenure or probation. Per-diem substitutes should also file a notice of appeal. Although they are not covered by the By- Laws, they may have an opportunity for an interview. Appeals should be sent by certified mail, within three school weeks following receipt of such notice. Once an appeal is filed, the pedagogue is considered an appellant. The chancellor will direct the rating officer to furnish the appellant with a statement of “reasons, facts and conditions” upon which the rating was based.

A chancellor’s hearing officer will summon the appellant and other officially interested persons to a hearing to review the matter, no later than one year from the date of the rating complained of.

Usual practice of these hearings

The rating officer presents his or her case. The advocate may cross examine the rating officer.

The appellant then presents her or his own case, witnesses, documentary evidence and her or his own testimony. The hearing officer may question the appellant.

Testimony is limited to the rating period. Evidence from an earlier or later time is inadmissible.

An audio recording is made at the hearing and become the official record. A copy may be purchased at cost.

Where the record of the hearing is defective, the person is entitled to another hearing.

The appellant has the right to appeal the chancellor’s decision to the state commissioner of education or the courts. Unless gross error, malice, prejudice or bad faith can be proven, they are not likely to reverse the decision.

A person who wishes to appeal should consult with the borough office. Such an appeal (the actual appeal, not merely the notice of appeal) must be filed within 30 days of the act complained of. Delay in consulting with an adviser may block an appeal. These appeals are not taken frivolously.