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Camara v. Dallas ISD, Dkt. No. 003-R10-09-2012 (Comm’r Educ. April 1, 2015);
Madden v. Dallas ISD, Dkt. No. 002-R10-09-2012 (Comm’r Educ. April 1, 2015).

Facts: Doris Madden and Phyllis Camara filed separate Commissioner appeals against the Dallas Independent School District challenging their teacher appraisals. The main question in each appeal was whether cumulative data had been timely shared with the teachers. In Camara’s case, she received a reprimand that was based upon a parent complaint and student statements. In Madden’s appeal, two reprimands were based upon staff complaints. Both claimed that the underlying student, parent, and staff complaints had not been timely shared with them prior to their Summative Annual Appraisals.

Holding: The Commissioner of Education held that the student, staff, and parent complaints and statements underlying the reprimands did not need to be shared, because the reprimands had been shared timely. The Commissioner explained that a summative annual appraisal is to be based on a classroom observation report, a teacher self-report, and cumulative data. The basis of a summative annual appraisal report must be documented. By rule, “[a]ny documentation that will influence the teacher’s summative annual appraisal report must be shared in writing with the teacher within ten working days of the certified appraisal’s knowledge of the occurrence.” In addition, “any third-party information from a source other than the certified appraiser that the certified appraiser wishes to include as cumulative data shall be verified and documented by the certified appraiser.”

According to the Commissioner, appraisers must not only document third-party data, but must also verify any claims made by a third party. Otherwise, the appraiser cannot base an appraisal score on a third-party claim. With respect to the third-party information, the Commissioner stated: “The documentation that influences a summative annual appraisal is not the initial claim made by a parent, student staff member or other third party, but the determination by the appraiser that the claim by a third party is in fact true.” Thus, what should be shared is the determination that the appraiser created after verifying the third-party claim, not the actual third-party statements or complaints. In these appeals, the appraiser relied upon the reprimands to score the teacher. The reprimands were timely shared within the ten-day deadline. The failure to share the third-party complaints and statements with the teachers within the ten-day time line did not invalidate the teacher appraisals.

ps_sqaureUltimately the Commissioner held that substantial evidence existed to support the teacher appraisals and there was no error in failing to share the underlying teacher, student and parent complaints.

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