Fredonia discusses performance scores

All of the Fredonia Central School District’s teachers and principals have been rated as either highly effective or effective, according to New York state calculations.

Director of Instruction Joseph Reyda detailed the 2012-2013 Annual Professional Performance Review for the school district during Tuesday’s board of education meeting. Reyda concluded the district is “right where it should be” for the review.

“The system is a complicated system. It’s one that requires us to be vigilant to make sure that the numbers that we use are correct. It’s a process that we’re learning with, that we’re growing with and that we’re looking to improve,” he said.

According to Reyda, 56.3 percent of Fredonia’s teachers were deemed highly effective, while 43.7 percent were rated effective. Both numbers are higher than the statewide averages, with 49.7 percent deemed highly effective and 41.8 percent effective. Statewide, 4.4 percent are deemed as developing and 1 percent is ineffective.

The statewide averages do not include New York City educators since they are currently in their first year of the evaluation plan.

Results were similar for Fredonia’s principals, with two deemed highly effective and one deemed effective. Statewide, 26 percent are highly effective, 60.9 percent are effective, 7.5 percent are developing and 2.1 percent are ineffective.

Reyda explained APPR scores are calculated by a complex formula involving a wide array of factors. In its basic form, the formula for these numbers was 60 percent classroom observation, 20 percent growth and 20 percent achievement. For the principals, the 60 percent was for leadership and management.

Although Fredonia was ranked above average for the APPR, Middle School Principal Andrew Ludwig took issue with the way the state calculates which teachers are effective and which aren’t.

“It’s very difficult for me to sit here quietly and look at these results, the percentage of teachers we have that are only effective and not highly effective,” he said. “Middle school teachers, unless they taught social studies and science, had part of their score based on state exam results where the state fixed the numbers so that 70 percent of the students that took the test failed. When you look at those scores that are just effective, most of them, if not all of them, come from the middle school because a large portion of our scores are based on the state exam.”

Also during the meeting, the tenures of Scot Stutzman and Amy Gavazzi for the positions of high school assistant principal and school counselor, respectively, were approved by the board. DiFonzo commended the two district employees for their service to the school.

“Receiving tenure signifies that (they) have done an excellent job and have gone above and beyond,” he said.

Superintendent Paul DiFonzo announced physical education teacher Alex Conti has requested time off to serve as a coach for the United States Wrestling World Team this summer.

“It’s quite a distinction to be asked to coach at the world level,” he said. “This would entail Mr. Conti working with the women’s USA team. He would really be starting at the end of this school year. It’s an opportunity that’s rare, and he’s worked very hard.”

A resolution approving Conti’s request is expected at the next board meeting.

Melanie Witkowski was appointed to the position of part-time teacher aide. Witkowski’s salary will be per contractual agreements.

Bonnie Burnett was recalled from the Preferred Eligibility List to a 1.0 full-time equivalent position as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages, effective Feb. 14. Burnett’s salary will be pro-rated for the 2013-2014 school year, as per contractual agreements.

Board President Michael Bobseine announced students raised $530 for the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation’s “Olivia’s 5K Wish Run Fund” during the “Pinking the School” fundraiser. Elementary Principal Amy Piper said this was the second year of the fundraiser, which is when students wear pink to school.

Bobseine also reported the high school student council will facilitate a vote on proposed names for the school access road from the Main Street entrance. The student body will submit about five names, then vote on which one they would like to use for the road.

A district mileage reimbursement rate of 55.9 cents per mile, effective Jan. 1, was established.

The board entered into executive session to discuss pending negotiations with the Fredonia Teachers Association and matters regarding the employment of particular people.

The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library.

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