Tupper teacher evaluation plan approval expected

TUPPER LAKE – Tupper Lake School Superintendent Seth McGowan said Monday he’s confident the state will approve his district’s teacher evaluation plan before an upcoming deadline.

“We are within hours, probably, of having ours approved,” McGowan told the district’s Board of Education Monday night.

The state Education Department has given school districts until Jan. 17 to complete their Annual Professional Performance Review evaluation plans. If a plan isn’t approved by then, that district will lose a state aid increase it was promised for the next school year.

As of last week, 682 school districts across the state have submitted APPR plans for review, and 533 have been approved, according to the state Education Department’s website.

None of the three Tri-Lakes area school districts’ plans had been approved, as of last week. School officials in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid said they had to revise their plans, in some cases multiple times, after they were initially submitted to the state. Saranac Lake Superintendent Gerald Goldman called the process frustrating and Byzantine.

In contrast, McGowan said he had no complaints about working with the state.

“The gentleman I’ve been working with at (the state Education Department) has been outstanding,” he said. “He’s been very instrumental in helping us phrase things in just the right way. He’s been impressed, he said, with the clarity and understanding of our submission. It’s been a fantastic experience with State Ed – who, you may recall, I don’t have the most positive interactions with all the time.”

McGowan also thanked Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES Deputy Superintendent Leslie LaRose for helping him work through what he called the “minutia” of the process.

“I expect, within the next day or two, I’ll hit that final ‘submit’ button knowing it will be on the fast track to submission,” McGowan said. “My understanding is, once we do that, it’s literally a matter of hours until it’s approved.”