Audit Teacher Evaluation Tools & Board Policies to Ensure Compliance with Section 1249

As reported in last month’s edition of School Law Notes, PA 173 of 2015 recently amended the teacher evaluation requirements in Section 1249 of the Revised School Code to better assure that they align with the teacher recall requirements of Section 1248 of the Revised School Code. School officials should ensure that their school’s evaluation tools and layoff and recall policies comply with Section 1249, as amended.

Section 1249 now requires that the portion of a teacher’s annual year-end evaluation that is not based either on student growth and assessment data or a teacher’s performance as measured by the school’s evaluation tool must incorporate the teacher performance criteria for layoff enumerated in Section 1248(1)(b) of the Revised School Code. The Section 1248(1)(b) criteria, which must be considered in teacher layoff and recall decisions, include a teacher’s disciplinary and attendance record, relevant special training, and significant accomplishments.

Many commercially available evaluation tools do not incorporate the criteria enumerated in Section 1248(1)(b), and school officials should ensure that their school’s evaluation tool incorporates that criteria (e.g., a teacher’s disciplinary and attend­ance record, special training, and significant accomplishments) before completing teacher evaluations for the 2015-2016 school year.

School officials also should ensure that their school’s layoff and recall policy appropriately describes how a teacher’s effectiveness rating is calculated, in compliance with Section 1248(1)(b). Thrun Law Firm is in the process of reviewing and revising its policy for teacher layoff and recall to comply with the Section 1249 amendments. We expect to have an updated policy available for purchase soon after January 1, 2016. The policy will be offered at a discounted rate to retainer clients and clients who purchased our prior layoff and recall policy.