Governor Signs New APPR Law

Fourteen years after the first annual professional performance evaluation law was established in 2010, the governor signed into law a new Section 3012-e of the Education Law.

The law provides an eight-year transition period for districts to design a new APPR plan aligned with the new law. Districts may opt to revise their current plans prior to the end of the eight-year period, but by the 2031-32 school year, all districts must transition to the new Section 3012-e. This new evaluation system returns the design of evaluations back to school districts and delinks state assessments from the evaluation of teachers and principals. The new statute intends to refocus teacher and principal evaluations from a strident accountability system to one that can foster professional growth as determined by the local school district through collective bargaining.

The passage of this new law was the result of many months and hours of work by the State Education Department, the legislature, governor’s office, and other stakeholders. SAANYS has relied on considerable member input from our members and advisory groups to ensure that this work benefits our principals who are impacted by the revised evaluation system. In the fall of 2023, SAANYS disseminated a survey to all members seeking their input on the effectiveness of their current APPR plan as well as priorities for revising the law.

Some key findings were:

– Over 70% or respondents did not feel the current evaluations were effective ways to evaluate teachers or principals.

– 65% of respondents strongly supported delinking state assessments from professional evaluations.

– 50% were supportive of increased flexibility in the number of observations conducted.

– 60% indicated that the evaluations should be differentiated for tenured and non-tenure teachers and principals.

It was clear that professional evaluations needed to be revised. The new law provides an opportunity for teachers, principals, and school districts to re-examine current evaluation designs and to develop evaluations that appropriately support professional growth and meet district needs. SAANYS was pleased to be an integral part of the statewide effort to revise an overly prescriptive and burdensome process.

The following are key components of the new statute:

– Multiple measures, as determined through collective bargaining, must be used, one of which must be a classroom observation or for principals, a school visit.

– The number and type of observations may be differentiated for both teachers and principals.

– Plans must include the criteria for which evaluations will be reviewed and a description of the review process.

– Each plan must address each state teaching and education leadership standard.

– One measure may be used to address one or more standards.

– A subset of standards may be used in a given year, however probationary teachers and building principals must be rated on each standard annually.

– The evaluation plan is not required to include a measure explicitly based on student performance.

– Evaluations must be followed by timely feedback.

– The performance evaluation must result in a rating of Level 1-4, with level four indicating a performance that exceeds expectations.

– The plans must include a process for receiving formal support for professional growth.

– Tenure candidates no longer need to achieve a specific number or sequence of effective or highly effective ratings during their probationary period.

– Teachers and principals who receive a Level 1 or 2 must have a personalized professional development plan.

– Persons conducting the evaluations must receive appropriate training.

– The plans must be submitted to the commissioner of education who shall review the plans for alignment with the requirements of this new law.

Please feel free to direct any questions to Cindy Gallagher at: