SB 1024 – This act modifies the laws relating to teachers.
REPORT ON STATE APPROVED TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAMS: This act requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to prepare a report on the effectiveness of the graduates of state-approved teacher preparation programs. The report must include an analysis of public school student learning gains on statewide assessments. The first report must be prepared by March 1, 2011, and then every two years thereafter. The Department must present the report to the State Board of Education and provide a copy to the Commissioner of Higher Education, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, and the Joint Committee on Education. (Section 161.106)
REPORTING ON INFORMATION ON FIRST-TIME TEACHERS: The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must annually post on its website the percentage of classroom teachers by school who are first-time teachers, temporarily certified teachers, teachers in need of improvement, or out-of-field teachers. Each school district must provide this information to the Department. Any school district that does not comply must be identified to the State Board of Education, the Joint Committee on Education, the President Pro Tem of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. (Section 161.108)
REPORT ON EDUCATIONAL INSUFFICIENCY OF CLASSROOM TEACHERS: The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must annually prepare a report by December 31 on the number of classroom teachers, by school district, whose students' declining academic performance indicates educational insufficiency. (Section 161.109)
TEACHER CERTIFICATION: The State Board of Education must promulgate rules and regulations to allow for the issuance of teacher certification on the basis of successful completion of a professional education training program through Teach for America. An individual must have a passing score on an exit assessment or professional education competency examination, as designated by the State Board. The State Board must also promulgate rules and regulations to allow for the issuance of teacher certification on the basis of prior teaching experience as a military instructor in one of the branches of the United States Armed Forces. An individual may submit college course credits recommended by the American Council on Education, which must be posted on an official ACE transcript.
In addition, an individual will be eligible for a career continuous professional certificate after completing the following: thirty contact hours of professional development within four years; validated completion of a district mentoring program approved by the State Board; attainment of a successful performance-based teacher evaluation; and participation in a beginning teacher assistance program. (Section 168.021)
MODIFICATIONS TO TEACHER TENURE: This act modifies the teacher tenure systems for all school districts in the state, including the St. Louis City School District. The existing teacher tenure systems for statewide employees and employees in the St. Louis City School District will not apply to any new employees hired on or after August 28, 2010. (Section 168.102, 168.221)
Effective August 28, 2010, newly hired teachers will all be under the same tenure system; there will be no distinction between the St. Louis City School district teachers and teachers elsewhere in the state. Instead of an indefinite contract or permanent appointment, teachers hired on or after August 28, 2010 will instead be eligible for contracts of varying lengths. A newly hired teacher will be issued a probationary contract, which would be valid for a period of no longer than one school year. The teacher could be dismissed without cause or could resign without breach of contract. Following successful completion of a probationary contract, a teacher would be eligible to receive an annual contract, which would last for no longer than one school year. The board of education could choose to renew or not renew without cause. A teacher would complete a minimum of five, but not more than seven, annual contracts, before becoming eligible for a professional performance contract. A professional performance contract has a duration of no more than five school years. A school board may choose to renew or not renew it without cause. A professional performance contract may only be offered to a teacher who meets the following criteria: holds a certificate of license to teach issued by the State Board of Education; has been recommended by the district superintendent and reappointed by the school board based on successful performance of duties and demonstration of professional competence; and has satisfactory performance after a cumulative review of the teacher's effectiveness based on objective student learning gains. (Sections 168.800 & 168.805)
A board of education may issue a professional performance contract on or after August 28, 2010 to any classroom teacher who has previously held a professional performance contract, an indefinite contract, or a permanent appointment, as defined in the act, in the same or another school district in the state. In addition, any teacher who holds an indefinite contract or permanent appointment may, but is not required to, exchange such contract for a professional performance contract in the same district. (Section 168.805)
A teacher who is employed on the basis of a written offer of a specific position by an agent of the school board who accepted such offer, as described in the act, who violates the contract by leaving the position without being released from the contract by the school board will be subject to the jurisdiction of the State Board of Education. The school board will take official action on such a violation and provide a copy of its official minutes to the Commissioner of Education. (Section 168.810)
SUSPENSION OR DISMISSAL OF A TEACHER WITH AN ANNUAL CONTRACT: Any teacher with an annual contract may be suspended or dismissed at any time during the term of the contract for just cause, as described in the act. Whenever such charges are made against a teacher, the school board must notify the teacher of the charges by certified mail and may suspend the teacher without pay. If the charges are not sustained, the teacher must be reinstated with back pay. (Section 168.815)
SUSPENSION OR DISMISSAL OF A TEACHER WITH A PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE CONTRACT: A teacher with a professional performance contract may be suspended or dismissed at any time during the contract for just cause, as described in the act. The school board must notify the teacher in writing by certified mail and may suspend the teacher without pay. If the charges are not sustained, the teacher must be reinstated with back pay.
If the teacher wants to contest the charges, the teacher must submit a written request for a hearing to the school board within the fifteen days of receiving the notice. The hearing must be conducted within sixty days of receipt of the notice. The classroom teacher may choose to have a hearing conducted before the school board or before an administrative law judge assigned by the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission. For a hearing before the school board, a majority vote is required to sustain the recommendation of the superintendent. The school's determination will be final. For a hearing before an administrative law judge, the judge will make his or her recommendation to the school board. A majority vote of the school board is required to sustain or change the administrative law judge's recommendation. The school board's decision will be final. (Section 168.820)
REPORT TO COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION OF TERMINATED TEACHERS: The superintendent of each school district must report to the Commissioner of Education the name of any classroom teacher who is terminated under sections 168.800 to 168.830 within ten business days after the date of the final action by the school board. The report must indicate whether the classroom teacher was terminated because of educational insufficiency. (Section 168.825)
PERSONNEL APPRAISALS: The superintendent of each school district must establish procedures for evaluating the performance of duties and responsibilities of all instructional, administrative, and supervisory personnel of the school district. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must approve each district's personnel appraisal system and appraisal instruments.
Each district's appraisal system must incorporate the following conditions: the system must be designed to support district and school level improvement plans; the system must allow for continuous quality improvement of the professional skills of instructional personnel; there must be a mechanism to allow parents an opportunity to provide input into employee performance appraisals where appropriate; school districts must also identify teaching fields for which special procedures and criteria must be developed, including teachers with temporary certification; a process for monitoring the use of appraisal criteria by supervisors and administrators and a process for evaluating the effectiveness in improving the level of instruction and learning in the schools.
An appraisal system may include a peer assistance process and a mechanism for assisting people on probation or those who request assistance.
The appraisal system for instructors and administrators must be based primarily on the performance of students assigned to their classrooms or schools. Student performance should not be the only criteria used.
Each employee will have an appraisal conducted once each year, except a first-year teacher will have an appraisal conducted twice that year. Other criteria that will be used include: student performance; instructional practice; instructional leadership; and professional responsibilities. Each employee must be fully informed of the criteria.
The school employee responsible for supervising the employee will conduct the appraisal and submit a written report to the superintendent. The employee must receive the written report no later than ten days after the appraisal occurs. The evaluator must discuss the report with the employee. The employee may prepare a written response to the appraisal, which will become a permanent attachment to his or her personnel file.
If the employee does not have satisfactory performance, the evaluator must notify the employee in writing via certified mail. The notice must describe the unsatisfactory performance and include notice of procedural requirements. The evaluator must confer with the employee, make recommendations, and provide assistance to correct deficiencies. If the employee has a professional performance contract, the employee will be placed on performance probation for ninety days. The employee may be evaluated and apprised of progress. The employee may request a transfer to another facility with a different supervising administrator. Within fourteen days of the close of the ninety day period, the evaluator must determine whether the performance deficiencies have been corrected and send a recommendation to the superintendent. Within fourteen days, the superintendent must notify the employee whether satisfactory correction has occurred and whether the superintendent will recommend that the school board continue or terminate the employment contract. The employee may contest the recommendation. The superintendent must notify the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of any instructional personnel who receive two consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations and have been given notice of termination or non-renewal. The Department must conduct an investigation to determine whether will be taken against the employee.
Each school board must establish a procedure to annually review its appraisal system to determine compliance. Any revisions must be reviewed and approved by the school board before being used. If requested by a school district, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must provide assistance in developing, improving, or reviewing a system. (Section 168.830)