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Long IslandEducation

State OKs 2 LI districts' evaluation plans

Students raise their hands in a classroom.

Students raise their hands in a classroom. Credit: istock

Teacher and principal evaluation plans from Bellmore and Kings Park have been approved by the state and are being held up as models, along with submissions from eight other school districts across New York.

The state agreed to create the evaluation plans as part of its bid to win $700 million in federal Race to the Top money.

The New York State Education Department has approved just 10 plans so far, including those for far larger school systems, such as Binghamton, Syracuse and Schenectady.

Tom Dunn, a spokesman for the education department, said the list is proof that "regardless of the type of school district, agreements can be reached."

Kings Park superintendent Susan Agruso said it took six months and countless hours of research to understand and then meet the state's requirements.

Her district formed a committee in December to tackle the project and met regularly with its teachers' and administrators' unions to create a plan all could agree upon.

"I firmly believe that we developed a really good plan that protects our teachers while setting very high expectations for the school districts," she said.

It was important to reassure educators throughout the process that they were not targets, she said.

"Nobody is coming after them," she said. "This is not a 'gotcha.' "

Bellmore Superintendent Joseph Famularo said it took a year for his district to create its plan.

"It was a collaborative effort from administrators, teachers and staff in putting it together," he said. "We wanted to make something meaningful."

Every district in the state must have an approved plan by Jan. 17, 2013, to receive 2012-13 state aid increases.

State officials said each proposed plan is reviewed three times in a process that can take as long as six weeks. Districts should take this into consideration when applying in order to meet the January deadline, officials warned.

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