Kevin Casey, SAANYS Executive Director
March 2022 News & Notes
As you may be aware, SAANYS recently conducted a survey of its members on the impact of COVID on school administrators. We received close to 700 responses, and I suspect you could predict the general nature of those responses.
The data the survey provides acts as a confirmation of what our members already know. 85% of the respondents reported that their professional work was (and is) sidelined to fulfill COVID-related work. 86% reported an increase in student behavioral issues this year and 28% believe there has been significant learning loss across the general student population. Does this surprise anyone?
SAANYS has been very active this legislative session supporting a bill that would once again suspend the APPR this year. Given the significant interruption of learning, the impact on observation schedules and adverse effects of the pandemic, of what value would the results be? Would anyone look at those results and think yes, this creates a fair representation of the professional effectiveness of teachers and principals?
A similar argument can be made for the effectiveness of 3 – 8 and regents exams as a measure of either student or school performance. SED impliedly agrees regarding school accountability given its waiver application and rationale presented to the USDOE, but by its denial of that application the USDOE does not.
The most interesting part of the survey to me is the part that is not quantifiable, the comments that were offered. Those words tell a story. A story many of you would recognize. Stories of the daily staffing shell game where you desperately try to fill that day’s unexpected vacancies and sometimes doing so yourself. Spending nights and weekends on contact tracing requirements that many County Departments of Health declined to perform. Trying to keep up with a constantly changing regulatory construct that often lacked clarity. Worrying about the impact on students and struggling to create effective responses to their behavioral and academic needs. The feeling of elevating your professional life at the cost of your personal one. Dealing with high levels of incivility and low levels of empathy in the public discourse.
The list could go on, but doesn’t have to because you know the story. It is your story and it should be told.
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I would like to take a point of personal privilege to acknowledge the unexpected passing of a professional colleague and personal friend. Tim Wagner was a teacher, an assistant principal and a principal, all with the Rochester City School District. After retiring as a principal he became the Executive Director of the Association of Supervisors and Administrators of Rochester. He served in that role for many years and was renowned for his efficiency, effectiveness and consistent good cheer. His immense popularity resulted from his inquisitive good nature he demonstrated with all. He modeled outstanding interpersonal skills worthy of being emulated. Whatever title he held at any given point in his career, he never stopped being a teacher.