Our contract includes a provision that allows teachers to challenge procedural flaws in their observations and/or other aspects of their evaluation. This “streamlined process to resolve APPR compliance issues” has come to be known as the APPR Complaint. If the complaint is not resolved by the principal or superintendent, it has the potential to be heard at an expedited arbitration hearing by a neutral arbitrator. The union is limited to 150 expedited arbitration slots each year.
An APPR complaint must be filed directly to the principal within five school days of knowledge of the occurrence by filling out an APPR Complaint form on the UFT website and presenting a copy of the form to the principal. At the same time, the teacher, through you as their chapter leader, forwards all pertinent information to his/her district representative, who will attempt to resolve the complaint at school and if necessary, the district level
- If not resolved within 10 school days of filing the complaint, the UFT borough office may refer it to the Central UFT Evaluation Committee
- Central UFT Evaluation Committee reviews all cases referred by the boroughs
- If a complaint has sufficient merit, the Central UFT Evaluation Committee files an “Intent to Arbitrate” with the DOE. The UFT can schedule arbitrations for up to 150 complaints each year
Filing an APPR Complaint
In order to file an APPR Complaint, the teacher who has the complaint must sign in to the UFT website and then click on the link to the APPR Complaint form. The quickest way to get there is to type “APPR Complaint” into the search box. The teacher fills in all fields including a brief description of the procedural issue(s) in question and then prints out a copy to give to the principal, thus initiating the complaint. An email will be automatically sent to the teacher’s district representative with all the information provided by the teacher. The district representative will then contact the principal and attempt to resolve the issue. Chapter leaders should be ready to assist the district representative and the teacher filing the complaint in any way possible.
When to file an APPR Complaint
It is important to note that this process is limited to procedural issues and cannot be used to challenge the judgment of the evaluator in arriving at a teacher’s component ratings. Some of the most common procedural errors by evaluators are:
- Observable components not rated
- No lesson-specific evidence provided
- No teacher-specific evidence from 15 days prior to the observation provided for the Preparation and Professionalism section
- Evidence from outside the observation cycle or, for the P&P section, outside of the 15-day prior window has been evaluated
- No feedback given prior to receiving observation report
- Evidence for component is not aligned to Danielson rubric
The more knowledge you as chapter leader have about the proper way evaluations should occur, the more likely it is that teachers in your school will be evaluated in a fair and objective manner. Informing your members of what is required of administration in evaluations and on the appropriate use of the APPR Complaint can help us get closer to this goal.