Section 231.29, Florida Statutes 2001
231.29 Assessment procedures and criteria.--
(1) For the purpose of improving the quality of instructional, administrative, and supervisory services in the public schools of the state, the superintendent of schools shall establish procedures for assessing the performance of duties and responsibilities of all instructional, administrative, and supervisory personnel employed by the school district. The Department of Education must approve each district's instructional personnel assessment system.
(2) The following conditions must be considered in the design of the district's instructional personnel assessment system:
(a) The system must be designed to support district and school level improvement plans.
(b) The system must provide appropriate instruments, procedures, and criteria for continuous quality improvement of the professional skills of instructional personnel.
(c) The system must include a mechanism to give parents an opportunity to provide input into employee performance assessments when appropriate.
(d) In addition to addressing generic teaching competencies, districts must determine those teaching fields for which special procedures and criteria will be developed.
(e) Each district school board may establish a peer assistance process. The plan may provide a mechanism for assistance of persons who are placed on performance probation as well as offer assistance to other employees who request it.
(f) The district school board shall provide training programs that are based upon guidelines provided by the Department of Education to ensure that all individuals with evaluation responsibilities understand the proper use of the assessment criteria and procedures.
(3) The assessment procedure for instructional personnel and school administrators must be primarily based on the performance of students assigned to their classrooms or schools, as appropriate. The procedures must comply with, but are not limited to, the following requirements:
(a) An assessment must be conducted for each employee at least once a year. The assessment must be based upon sound educational principles and contemporary research in effective educational practices. Beginning with the full implementation of an annual assessment of learning gains, the assessment must primarily use data and indicators of improvement in student performance assessed annually as specified in s. 229.57 and may consider results of peer reviews in evaluating the employee's performance. Student performance must be measured by state assessments required under s. 229.57 and by local assessments for subjects and grade levels not measured by the state assessment program. The assessment criteria must include, but are not limited to, indicators that relate to the following:
1. Performance of students.
2. Ability to maintain appropriate discipline.
3. Knowledge of subject matter. The district school board shall make special provisions for evaluating teachers who are assigned to teach out-of-field.
4. Ability to plan and deliver instruction, including the use of technology in the classroom.
5. Ability to evaluate instructional needs.
6. Ability to establish and maintain a positive collaborative relationship with students' families to increase student achievement.
7. Other professional competencies, responsibilities, and requirements as established by rules of the State Board of Education and policies of the district school board.
(b) All personnel must be fully informed of the criteria and procedures associated with the assessment process before the assessment takes place.
(c) The individual responsible for supervising the employee must assess the employee's performance. The evaluator must submit a written report of the assessment to the superintendent of schools for the purpose of reviewing the employee's contract. If the employee is assigned to a school designated in performance grade category "D" or "F" and was rated unsatisfactory on any function related to the employee's instructional or administrative duties, the superintendent of schools, in consultation with the employee's evaluator, shall review the employee's performance assessment. If the superintendent of schools determines that the lack of general knowledge, subject area expertise, or other professional competencies contributed to the employee's unsatisfactory performance, the superintendent of schools shall notify the district school board of that determination. The district school board shall require those employees, as part of their performance probation, to take and receive a passing score on a test of general knowledge, subject area expertise, or professional competencies, whichever is appropriate. The tests required by this paragraph shall be those required for certification under this chapter and rules of the State Board of Education. The evaluator must submit the written report to the employee no later than 10 days after the assessment takes place. The evaluator must discuss the written report of assessment with the employee. The employee shall have the right to initiate a written response to the assessment, and the response shall become a permanent attachment to his or her personnel file.
(d) If an employee is not performing his or her duties in a satisfactory manner, the evaluator shall notify the employee in writing of such determination. The notice must describe such unsatisfactory performance and include notice of the following procedural requirements:
1. Upon delivery of a notice of unsatisfactory performance, the evaluator must confer with the employee, make recommendations with respect to specific areas of unsatisfactory performance, and provide assistance in helping to correct deficiencies within a prescribed period of time.
2.a. If the employee holds a professional service contract as provided in s. 231.36, the employee shall be placed on performance probation and governed by the provisions of this section for 90 calendar days following the receipt of the notice of unsatisfactory performance to demonstrate corrective action. School holidays and school vacation periods are not counted when calculating the 90-calendar-day period. During the 90 calendar days, the employee who holds a professional service contract must be evaluated periodically and apprised of progress achieved and must be provided assistance and inservice training opportunities to help correct the noted performance deficiencies. At any time during the 90 calendar days, the employee who holds a professional service contract may request a transfer to another appropriate position with a different supervising administrator; however, a transfer does not extend the period for correcting performance deficiencies.
b. Within 14 days after the close of the 90 calendar days, the evaluator must assess whether the performance deficiencies have been corrected and forward a recommendation to the superintendent of schools. Within 14 days after receiving the evaluator's recommendation, the superintendent of schools must notify the employee who holds a professional service contract in writing whether the performance deficiencies have been satisfactorily corrected and whether the superintendent of schools will recommend that the district school board continue or terminate his or her employment contract. If the employee wishes to contest the superintendent of schools' recommendation, the employee must, within 15 days after receipt of the superintendent of schools' recommendation, submit a written request for a hearing. The hearing shall be conducted at the district school board's election in accordance with one of the following procedures:
(I) A direct hearing conducted by the district school board within 60 days after receipt of the written appeal. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of ss. 120.569 and 120.57. A majority vote of the membership of the district school board shall be required to sustain the superintendent of schools' recommendation. The determination of the district school board shall be final as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the grounds for termination of employment; or
(II) A hearing conducted by an administrative law judge assigned by the Division of Administrative Hearings of the Department of Management Services. The hearing shall be conducted within 60 days after receipt of the written appeal in accordance with chapter 120. The recommendation of the administrative law judge shall be made to the district school board. A majority vote of the membership of the district school board shall be required to sustain or change the administrative law judge's recommendation. The determination of the district school board shall be final as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the grounds for termination of employment.
(4) The superintendent of schools shall notify the department of any instructional personnel who receive two consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations and who have been given written notice by the district that their employment is being terminated or is not being renewed or that the school board intends to terminate, or not renew, their employment. The department shall conduct an investigation to determine whether action shall be taken against the certificateholder pursuant to s. 231.2615(1)(b).
(5) The superintendent of schools shall develop a mechanism for evaluating the effective use of assessment criteria and evaluation procedures by administrators who are assigned responsibility for evaluating the performance of instructional personnel. The use of the assessment and evaluation procedures shall be considered as part of the annual assessment of the administrator's performance. The system must include a mechanism to give parents and teachers an opportunity to provide input into the administrator's performance assessment, when appropriate.
(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed to grant a probationary employee a right to continued employment beyond the term of his or her contract.
(7) The district school board shall establish a procedure annually reviewing instructional personnel assessment systems to determine compliance with this section. All substantial revisions to an approved system must be reviewed and approved by the district school board before being used to assess instructional personnel. Upon request by a school district, the department shall provide assistance in developing, improving, or reviewing an assessment system.
(8) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54, that establish uniform guidelines for the submission, review, and approval of district procedures for the annual assessment of instructional personnel and that include criteria for evaluating professional performance.
History.--s. 529, ch. 19355, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 892(133); s. 1, ch. 61-286; s. 18, ch. 65-420; s. 1, ch. 67-369; ss. 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 69-300; s. 85, ch. 72-221; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 8, ch. 80-295; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 13, 28, 31, ch. 82-242; s. 1, ch. 83-135; s. 96, ch. 83-217; s. 5, ch. 84-94; s. 6, ch. 86-156; s. 4, ch. 89-278; s. 81, ch. 91-105; ss. 2, 7, ch. 92-67; s. 1243, ch. 95-147; s. 3, ch. 97-4; s. 1, ch. 97-310; s. 3, ch. 98-163; s. 57, ch. 99-398; s. 28, ch. 2000-301; s. 2, ch. 2001-90.