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Depew School Board approves plan to assess teacher performance

The Depew School Board on Tuesday approved a professional performance review plan for teachers as required by state law.

Approval followed a presentation on the plan, known as an APPR, by Susan Frey, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and personnel.

Frey and Superintendent Jeffrey Rabey said Depew is among the first districts to have a plan in place, and they're fielding calls daily from other school districts for guidance in developing their plans.

The comprehensive evaluation system is part of an educational reform program initiated by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the state Education Department and the State Legislature that also includes curriculum-related Common Core standards. Among the measures by which teachers will be evaluated are classroom performance and student test scores.

Frey, Rabey, director of special education Janet Gajewski and the building principals have had about nine days of training in how to do evaluations, which are to begin in the 2012-13 school year.

Frey said those people plus six teachers were involved in the yearlong development of the plan, which includes an appeals process negotiated with the teachers union.

The board also approved granting tenure to Frey, who has been with the district since 2007. She had been principal of the Tonawanda High School and an administrator with the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District.

Rabey said Frey "has consistently demonstrated her skills" in a number of areas, including implementing the teacher evaluation program and her work on the Comprehensive District Education Plan, which has a number of goals, including aligning curriculum to the Common Core Learning Standards and increasing literacy content in all curriculums.

Frey and the district's three principals also gave a presentation on the progress of the Comprehensive District Education Plan, developed by a 23-member committee.

"We've turned the corner in our road map for success," said Frey, who praised the staff for "giving their hearts and souls to this."

Also granted tenure was Heather Lovelace, general music and choral teacher at Depew Middle School.

Justin Young, a teacher in the Batavia school system, was sworn in to a three-year term on the board, replacing Patrick Law, who was appointed last fall.

Both Young and incumbent board member David Sheff were elected in May. Sheff will be sworn in to his second term at the board's July reorganization meeting.