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Watkins unsure what state changes will mean

    WATKINS GLEN—Superintendent Tom Phillips updated the Watkins Glen board of education on the status of the state mandated Annual Professional Performance Reviews at the Monday, March 19, school board meeting.
    He said Watkins already has an APPR in place, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other education officials have released changes to the evaluation of teachers and principals.  He explained the state has put limitations on the reasons for firing a probationary teacher.
    Phillips said the school district has to wait two years in order to fire the teacher: one year with an ineffective rating and the second year to at least implement an improvement plan.  However, after speaking with the state, the New York State’s Association for Superintendents, and the districts own lawyer, Phillips said he has heard different interpretations of the law.
    Another change is that every school district will have to submit their APPR to the education department commissioner for approval.  Phillips said this means any negotiating will be wasted on changes the commissioner is requiring a district to implement.
    In other business:
    • The board approved the resignation of school psychiatrist Jennifer Meckley.  Phillips explained at this time the district will see if existing personnel will be able to fill her responsibilities.  He said Watkins does not want to consider bringing back some of the 15 proposed staff cuts, just to be eliminating them again the follow year due to continued budget issues.
    • Kelley Batrowny spoke to the board about different technical support services the district provides to teachers.
    • Phillips said that the state will be making students in grades three to eight take the Math and English Language Arts tests online.  He added that the change will not take place at least for this year.  He said Watkins will benefit from already giving students netbooks to use.  However, Phillips said he has concerns about what will happen when students across the state and within a district are all taking the same test online.




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