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Massena Central School’s APPR approved by state Education Department

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MASSENA — The Massena Central School District received word Tuesday that its annual professional performance review plan, also known as its teacher evaluation plan, was approved by the state Education Department, allowing it to beat the state deadline of Jan. 17 for having the document approved.

Superintendent Roger B. Clough II said the district was notified by Education Commissioner Dr. John B. King Jr. that its submission met the criteria outlined in Education Law and was approved for the 2012-13 school year.

Mr. Clough said it had expected to have its plan approved by the deadline following the submission of its modified plan to the state in early January.

“The SED representative had told us to expect a quick turnaround and not to worry that our plan would somehow miss the deadline,” Mr. Clough said Wednesday, noting the district originally had submitted its plan in early November, “but a backlog of approval requests evidently slowed the state’s review process. The state Education Department contacted us on Friday, December 21, requesting minor changes in language.”

That conversation was brief and indicated there were very few changes to make, according to the superintendent.

“We had a five-minute phone call on the 21st to make certain we added certain words in and fixed a couple of expressions,” Mr. Clough said.

Because the changes were requested and made over the Christmas break, he said, the district had to wait until everyone returned to school to get the proper signatures and resubmit the plan to the state Education Department.

“Unfortunately, that was the last day of school before the Christmas break. We immediately made the changes but were too late to catch everyone who needed to sign the document. We had to wait until our staff returned after New Year’s to collect the required signatures,” he said.

The modified plan was submitted on Jan. 3, and now the district has the approval to implement it.

“We are pleased to have the official notification that all is set, and we can move ahead implementing this plan,” Mr. Clough said.

The district and the Massena Federation of Teachers agreed on the plan Feb. 16, and the Board of Education approved it that night.

Not meeting the Jan. 17 deadline could have mean the loss of extra state aid for the district.

Districts without an approved plan by the deadline would have forfeited state aid in an amount equal to the increase between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, according to Education Department spokeswoman Antonia Valentine.

That amount varies from district to district based on formulas and claims received.

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