Tenure Charges for Inefficiency upheld where Teacher of Spanish found to be ineffective for two consecutive years; Claims by teacher of retaliation and that he was set up to fail not supported by the evidence. Gonzalez, 2016: March 3 http://nj.gov/education/legal/teachnj/2016/mar/98-16.pdf

After two years of such focused effort and assistance by the District as well as written reprimands, observations and evaluations that he never challenged, Respondent continued to struggle. Respondent continued to have difficulty with, among other things, the preparation and design of  lesson plans and differentiating his plans to meet the differing needs of different groups of students; he continued to have difficulty with managing class time; he continued to have difficulty establishing and enforcing procedures and routines of his students; his classroom continued to be disrupted by student behavior; he had a difficult time creating an atmosphere in his classroom conducive to learning; and his students struggled to learn. Upon remand from the Appellate Division, arbitrator directed to apply pre-TEACH NJ standard as conduct was from 2011 and 2012. Arbitrator found that based on preponderance of credible evidence standard, district met its burden of proof. Chavez, 2016: March 17 http://nj.gov/education/legal/teachnj/2016/mar/113-16.pdf

Motion to dismiss tenure charges for inefficiency denied. Considering the remedy proposed dismissing the tenure charge against her and restoring her to employment in the district with back pay and other emoluments, factual inquiry is necessary to determine whether district substantially complied with the evaluation process. Carroll, 2016: March 28. http://www.nj.gov/education/legal/teachnj/2016/mar/118-16.pdf

Tenure charges against tenured secretary dismissed. The procedures and processes employed by the School did not provide adequate notice, opportunity to improve, and support to do so. These steps are woven well into the process for teachers, but the School adopted only limited parts of that process, omitting the elements of notice and correction to which Respondent, as a tenured employee, is entitled. That is not to say that the District was wrong for attempting to parallel the process used for teachers, but the School failed to incorporate those essential elements that would have given Respondent proper notice of the potential for loss of employment, an understanding of the imperative for correction, and meaningful opportunities to improve. Sims, 2016: March 27. http://www.nj.gov/education/legal/teachnj/2016/mar/120-16.pdf

Charges for conduct unbecoming dismissed where district offered no evidence that principal directly or indirectly attempted to manipulate teachers’ self- assessments. However, charges of ineffectiveness are sustained and termination is warranted. Principal failed to attend subject matter meetings and maintain sign-in sheets, and failed to evaluate staff members in a timely manner. Principal received ineffective ratings. Principal worked in Camden City under state intervention. One of the goals of the State Intervention Statute was to allow the State District Superintendent to remove ineffective administrators and supervisors early in the process of rebuilding and revitalizing the failing district. Extending the assessment cycle for principals and vice-principals from “no less than 12 months” to 2 years would be a significant departure from the goal of the intervention statute. It is unlikely the legislature would enact such significant change without clearly stating so in the TEACHNJ statute. The application of the State Intervention Statute to the Respondent, based upon all of the above, clearly made him subject to a stricter standard for evaluation that he would have been had he not been employed, as here, by a district that was subject to state intervention. Medley, 2016: March 25 http://www.nj.gov/education/legal/teachnj/2016/mar/122-16.pdf

Arbitrator determined that district failed to allot sufficient time following the implementation of corrective action plan for teacher improvement to affect her evaluation ratings and accordingly held that district failed to adhere substantially to the evaluation process where teacher was evaluated four times over the thirty-four school days for which she was present during the CAP implementation period. I.M.O Tenure Arbitration of Ahmed, Newark State-Op, TEACHNJ: 2016 April 4.

Arbitrator dismissed teacher who demonstrated excessive absenteeism over a four –year period and significant absenteeism during the time she was placed on a corrective action plan. Teacher failed to offer testimony regarding the reasons for the absences. I.M.O Tenure Arbitration of Ahmed, Newark State-Op, TEACHNJ: 2016 April 4.

Arbitrator upheld charges of inefficiency where teacher of thirty-five years received two consecutive ratings of partially effective. District demonstrated compliance with evaluation, training, and corrective action plan requirements. All requirements regarding pre-and post conferences were complied with and witnesses testified credibly as to teacher assistance offered and lack of consistent improvement. Tenure Arbitration of Long, Paterson City State-Op, TEACHNJ 2016: April 3.

Arbitrator upheld charges of inefficiency where teacher of sixteen years received two consecutive ratings of partially effective. Teacher failed to demonstrate that district failed to substantially adhere to the evaluation process, failed to provide notice and training to teachers. The fact that teacher was assigned as an in-class-support teacher did not detract from the district’s ability to observe her performance on all seven indicators of the evaluation instrument despite principal’s notation of concern. No mistake of fact where student complaints of insensitivity were substantiated by parental complaints and corrective action plan included a component on student sensitivity. Cap requirement to provide additional help to students outside of classroom hours was within the scope of her professional duties. Successful SGO scores did not outweigh observations. I.M.O. Tenure Arbitration of Mastriana, TEACHNJ 2016: April 16.

In the absence of preponderant evidence that the District’s actions were arbitrary or capricious, substantially deviated from its evaluation process, encompassed mistake of fact, or the tenure charge was brought for a prohibited reason, the Arbitrator is required to uphold the Respondent’s dismissal. Arbitrator determined that district’s scoring method was not arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. TEACHNJ does not specify how scores for the four levels of performance must be calculated, accordingly, district has discretion in selecting the method of calculating the Teacher Practice score it deemed “transparent and reliable.” No regulation requires that a corrective action plan be in place prior to any evaluation of a teacher on such a plan. I.M.O. Tenure Arbitration of Lefkowitz, Camden City State-Op, TEACHNJ 2016: April 27.

Arbitrator determined that tenure charges were moot where teacher unilaterally filed resignation during the arbitration hearing that was adopted by the board. Arbitrator further determined that district had no legitimate interest in pursuing charges. I.M.O. Tenure Arbitration of Tagliareni, Montgomery Twp, TEACHNJ 2016: April 28.

Arbitrator dismissed business teacher of 15 years for failing to obtain an effective or highly effective summative rating for two consecutive years. No evidence that district unilaterally adopted student growth objectives, was unresponsive to teacher requests for repairs to technology, or that teacher was assigned to classes for which he was not certified to teach. Corrective action plan was appropriate and properly implemented. Teacher’s claim that every student received an “A”, potentially impacting his SGO scores and that he did not understand the evaluation rating system was not credible. I.M.O. Tenure Arbitration of Schaefer, Paterson City State-Op., TEACHNJ 2016: April 30.