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Numbers Add Up to Concern over Teacher Assessments

The state’s demand for expanded performance reviews of teachers is creating numbers that don’t add up for school districts.

As Fulton’s Board of Education reviewed the status of implementing the new reviews Tuesday night, one number stood out: 7 hours.

That’s the amount of time it will take for a building principal to handle one of the expanded reviews, based on the experience of administrators in the Cicero-North Syracuse district, where Fulton board member David Cordone is an administrator.

“It’s crazy,” said board member Brian Hotaling, who noted that 7 hours per assessment times 300 teachers equals 2,100 hours of the time of district administrators. And each teacher will be assessed at least twice a year, requiring more than 4,000 hours of administrators’ time.

The average 40-hour-a-week work year is 2,080 hours.

Administrators “might as well bring their beds” to work, said board member Rosemary Occhino.

The district is continuing to make progress towards setting up the new review system. District administrator Tom Greer said that a template for teacher reviews has been chosen from among the several that have been approved by the state. Now, a committee is trying to come up with the process for scoring the portion of the review tied to test scores.

Also, the district is coming up with ways to measure progress in courses that are not part of the statewide testing system.

There’s still a lot of work to do.

“It would be an incredible task for next year to create teacher assessments that meet the loaw and which the Superintendent would sign off on,” said Greer.