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Navigating the T-TESS, Part 2

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 10/12/2016

Many Texas teachers are finding that their district is using a new appraisal system, the T-TESS (Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System). Teachers who will be appraised under the T-TESS should receive a local orientation into the process.

Two ATPE state office staff members recently observed the training that T-TESS appraisers received. ATPE will be providing information about the T-TESS, focusing on practical tips, based on what we have learned. Here are two tips to help you navigate the new system:

  • Can an appraiser require a teacher to put particular things in the teacher’s Goal Setting and Professional Development Plan?

The general answer to this question in most cases would likely be yes. The T-TESS rules state that the appraiser must approve the plan, and, practically, this gives the appraiser “veto” authority. If the appraiser is the principal or someone who has the general authority to give a directive, that again would give the appraiser the right to require particular provisions in the plan. But, even if this is the general rule, a teacher might have a legitimate complaint if the requirement is not reasonable.

  • Can I be observed the day before a holiday?

The Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) required individual school districts develop a local observation calendar but also prohibited formal observations on some days, like the day before a holiday. The T-TESS rules also require the local district to develop an observation calendar. But the T-TESS rules do not include the same restrictions. The T-TESS rules only prohibit formal observations in the two weeks after a teacher’s initial orientation and require that all formal observation be completed at least 15 working days before the last day of student instruction. Local districts are still free to prohibit observations on other days, like the day before a holiday in their local policy.

For more T-TESS tips, see our T-TESS Resource Page as well as Part 1Part 3 and Part 4 of our Navigating the T-TESS series.

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