Connecticut Teacher Evaluations
Under Connecticut General Statute §10-151b, each year teachers in Connecticut must be evaluated by either the Superintendent of Schools or by someone appointed by the Superintendent. The evaluations shall include, but is not necessarily limited to, strengths, areas needing improvement, strategies for improvement, and multiple indicators of student academic growth. In the event that a teacher does not receive a summative evaluation during the school year, the teacher must receive a “not rated,” designation for that school year.
The Superintendent shall report both the status of teacher evaluations to the local or regional Board of Education on or before June first of each year, and the status of the implementation of the teacher evaluation and support program, including the frequency of evaluations, aggregate evaluation ratings, the number of teachers who have not been evaluated, and other requirements as determined by the Department of Education, to the Commissioner of Education on or before September fifteenth of each year.
If a teacher believes that the proper procedure was not followed during their review and/or evaluation, the teacher should look to the collective bargaining agreement maintained within the School District, as Connecticut defers to such agreements for grievance procedures on evaluations.
Each local and regional Board of Education must adopt and implement a teacher evaluation and support program. If a local or regional Board of Education is unable to develop a teacher evaluation and support program through mutual agreement with a Professional Development and Evaluation Committee, then the Board of Education and the Professional Development and Evaluation Committee shall consider the Model Teacher Evaluation and Support Program adopted by the State Board of Education as a rubric and can adopt the model if agreed upon. C.G.S. §10-151b(b).
Teacher Evaluation and Support Program Guidelines
As of July 1, 2012, the State Board of Education has adopted, in consultation with the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council, guidelines for a Model Teacher Evaluation and Support Program. Such guidelines include, but are not limited to:
(A) the use of four performance evaluations designators: Exemplary, Proficient, Developing and Below Standard;
(B) the use of multiple indicators of student academic growth and development in teacher evaluations;
(C) methods for assessing student academic growth and development;
(D) a consideration of control factors tracked by the state-wide public school information system that may influence teacher performance ratings, including, but not limited to, student characteristics, student attendance and student mobility;
(E) minimum requirements for teacher evaluation instruments and procedures, including scoring systems to determine Exemplary, Proficient, Developing and Below Standard ratings;
(F) the development and implementation of periodic training programs regarding the teacher evaluation and support programs to be offered by the local or regional Board of Education or Regional Educational Service Center for the school district to teachers who are employed by such local or regional Board of Education, whose performance is being evaluated, and to administrators who are employed by such local or regional Boards of Education and who are conducting performance evaluations;
(G) the provision of professional development services based upon the individual’s or group of individuals’ needs that are identified through the evaluation process;
(H) the creation of individual teacher improvement and remediation plans for teachers whose performance is developing or below standard, designed in consultation with such teacher and his or her exclusive bargaining representative for certified teachers and that (i) identify resources, support and other strategies to be provided by the local or regional board of education to address documented deficiencies, (ii) indicate a timeline for implementing such resources, support, and other strategies, in the course of the same school year as the plan is issued, and (iii) include indicators of success including a summative rating of proficient or better immediately at the conclusion of the improvement and remediation plan;
(I) opportunities for career development and professional growth; and
(J) a validation procedure to audit evaluation ratings of exemplary or below standard by the department or a third-party entity approved by the department.
Confidentiality Rule and its Exceptions
After a teacher has received their performance evaluation, Connecticut General Statute §10-151c ensures confidentiality from the public. “Any records maintained or kept on file by the Department of Education or any local or regional board of education that are records of teacher performance and evaluation shall not be deemed to be public records…provided that any teacher may consent in writing to the release of such teacher’s records by the department or a board of education.”
However, Connecticut does provide certain exceptions to the confidentiality rule, providing that records maintained or kept on file by the Department of Education or any local or regional Board of Education that are records of the personal misconduct of a teacher, shall be deemed to be public records and shall be subject to disclosure in certain circumstances. Further, disclosure of such records of a teacher’s personal misconduct shall not require the consent of the teacher.
Despite confidentiality, the teacher is allowed access to his or her personnel file and its contents under Connecticut General Statute §10-151a. The teacher shall be entitled to knowledge of, access to, and, upon request, a copy of supervisory records and reports of competence, personal character and efficiency maintained in their personnel file with reference to evaluation of performance. If a teacher would like to investigate the contents of their personnel file, that is their right under Connecticut law, but must make a request to the Board of Education of the town in which he or she is employed.
This case was not handled by our firm. However, if you have any questions regarding this case, or any education matter, please contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.
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