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Employment Decisions & TLE

Reduction in Force

TLE ratings already affect a district "reduction in force". In the rare case that the district is reducing staff and that cannot be handled by attrition, including not re-employing first and second-year teachers who are on temporary contracts, the district declares a "reduction in force" and teachers will be displaced, reassigned, or non-renewed based on the following criteria, in priority order:
  • Average ratings on the TLE over the past three years of available TLE data calculated to the nearest one hundredth (1/100) of a percent.
  • Seniority: defined as continuous service under a teaching contract with the district beginning with the earliest official date of hire of this continuous service
  • Total district teaching experience
  • Total teaching experience
  • Superintendent's recommendation
Biennial Evaluations
State law now allows a district to conduct evaluations as seldom as once every three years for "Career Teachers" who receive both a qualitative and a quantitative rating of “Highly Effective” or “Superior”. 

In Bartlesville, both the evaluator and the teacher must agree to biennial (every other year) appraisals, and the district only intends to exercise this option as needed in elementary schools, where administrators have much higher TLE evaluation loads than in secondary schools.

Other Employment Decisions Affected in 2017-2018
Beginning in 2017-2018, TLE qualitative and quantitative ratings will also count toward other employment decisions:
  • career teacher status
  • mandatory dismissals
  • allowed dismissals

Career Teacher Status & Re-Employment

In Oklahoma, a teacher is "Probationary" when first employed by the school district. Until 2017-2018, the completion of the third consecutive year in the district granted the teacher "Career Teacher" status.

"Career Teacher" status has two main effects:
  • two required observations in the annual evaluation cycle, rather than one required observation in each of the first three quarter for probationary teachers
  • while probationary teachers can be dismissed for any cause related to inadequate teaching performance; career teacher dismissals must be based on one or more of the following statutory grounds:
    • willful neglect of duty
    • instructional ineffectiveness (which is the ground used for dismissals based on TLE ratings)
    • repeated negligence in performance of duty
    • unsatisfactory teaching performance
    • mental or physical abuse to a child
    • commission of an act of moral turpitude
    • incompetency
    • abandonment of contract
    • any sex offense subject to the Sex Offenders Registration Act
    • any felony offense
    • a finding that the teacher has engaged in acts that could form the basis of criminal charges sufficient to result in the denial or revocation of a certificate
Beginning in 2017-2018, "Career Teacher" status will only be granted if:
  • A teacher has completed three consecutive complete school years in one district with a rating of “Superior” for at least two of the three years with no rating below “Effective”, -OR-
  • A teacher has completed four consecutive complete school years in one district and averaged a rating of at least “Effective” over the four years and received ratings of at least “Effective” for the last two years of the four-year period, -OR-
  • A teacher has completed four or more consecutive complete school years in one district and the principal submits a petition specifying the underlying facts for granting career status to the superintendent, the superintendent agrees, and the district board of education approves.
Beginning in 2017-2018, the law also says that teachers who do not receive career teacher status in four years MAY be dismissed, subject to due process.

Temporary and Continuing Contracts

These are a separate issue from "Career Teacher" status. In Bartlesville, the teacher is on a temporary contract for the first two years, meaning the district is under no obligation to have the teacher return after the first or second school year of employment.

After the second year, however, the teacher enters into a "continuing contract" with the district. For the third and subsequent years of consecutive employment, whether or not the teacher is a "Career Teacher", the district must notify the teacher by the first Monday in June if the teacher is not to be re-employed. If the district fails to notify the teacher of a discharge or release by the first Monday in June, the continuing contract will be in force and the district must provide the teacher employment for the subsequent school year. 

Similarly, after the second year of employment, the teacher must resign by 15 days after the first Monday in June or the continuing contract is in force. If the teacher attempts to resign after that date, the district can enforce the contract and refuse to release the teacher. If the teacher fails to show up for work, the district can sue for the full amount of the contract. If the teacher attempts to enter into a contract with another board of education in Oklahoma, the teacher's certificate can be suspended for that school year.

TLE-Based Teacher Dismissals After 2016-2017

Beginning in 2017-2018, a district MUST dismiss:
  • a career teacher who has received a rating of "Ineffective" for two consecutive school years UNLESS superintendent recommends and local school board approves continued employment
Beginning in 2017-2018, a district MAY dismiss:
  • a career teacher who has received a rating of “Needs Improvement” or “Ineffective” for three consecutive school years
  • a probationary teacher who has received rating of “Ineffective” for two consecutive school years
  • probationary teacher who has not attained career teacher status within a four-year period 

Principal Dismissals After 2016-2017

  • A principal who receives “Ineffective” ratings for two consecutive school years MAY be dismissed.