List of Questions and Answers

The RTTT Frequently Asked Questions provided by NYSED are based upon guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education and other currently-available information. The information contained on this page is subject to change.


Questions Posted on October 29, 2010


Teacher and Principal Evaluations

  1. Are the names and affiliations of the Task Force on Teacher and Principal Evaluation available to the public?

    Yes. A list of the members and affiliations of the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Principal Effectiveness will be available on our website at http://www.highered.nysed.gov/.

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  2. If the required 40 percent student achievement ratio is currently not part of our Teacher and Principal Evaluation system - must it be included in our evaluation system to receive RTTT funds?

    Because school district activities under Section D (Great Teachers and Leaders) are tied to implementation of the new teacher and principal evaluation law (Education Law §3012-c - which requires student achievement to account for 40% of a teacher/principal evaluation), school districts must be in a position to begin implementation of the law’s provisions in order to qualify for the release of the Section D portion of RTTT funding (25% of the four-year allocation). See Question and Answer # 9 for the necessary certifications required for funding.

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  3. What types of locally selected assessments can districts use in the rating systems for the Teacher and Principal Evaluation system?

    The Regents Task Force on Teacher and Principal Effectiveness has been convened to make a set of recommendations to the Commissioner and the Board of Regents on the regulations governing the standards for the 20 percent of teacher and principal evaluations based on locally selected assessments. It is anticipated the Commissioner will promulgate regulations on the standards for locally selected assessments in late Spring 2011.

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  4. Will districts be provided with prescriptive guidance on the 60 percent of the Teacher and Principal Evaluation that is not based on student performance?

    The Regents Task Force on Teacher and Principal Effectiveness is also developing a set of recommendations on the standards that must be used in the 60 percent of teacher and principal evaluations that is not specifically attributed to student achievement measures in Education Law §3012-c. It is anticipated that the Commissioner will promulgate regulations on these standards in late spring 2011.

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  5. Should districts move forward on thinking about how to design their evaluation system within that the remaining 60 percent of evaluations that is not attributed to student achievement?

    Yes, there are a number of pilots going on around the State. A number of districts have partnered with NYSUT through an AFT funded initiative to pilot different approaches to teacher evaluation; there is also a Gates foundation funded pilot in NYC. We encourage districts to continue to participate in such pilots until the Department promulgates regulations governing this portion of the evaluation. The Department anticipates promulgating regulations and providing guidance to the field on the new statewide teacher and principal evaluation system in late Spring 2011.

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  6. If a charter school does not accept the RTTT money, does it have to comply with Education Law 3012-c?

    No – Charter schools do not have to comply with the entirety of Education Law 3012-c. As noted in the Scope of Work Guidance document, charter schools – whether or not they chose to apply for Race to the Top funding – are encouraged to examine their teacher and leader support and evaluation structures and bring them into alignment with the following three elements of Education Law §3012-c:
    • Use multiple measures of effectiveness, including [a minimum of] 40% student achievement measures, to determine a single composite effectiveness score for every teacher and principal;
    • Use the following four categories to annually evaluate teachers and principals: Highly Effective, Effective, Developing, and Ineffective and use such annual evaluations as a significant factor for employment decisions including promotion, retention, supplemental compensation, and professional development; and
    • Provide for the professional development of teachers or principals rated Developing or Ineffective.

    If public charter schools apply for RTTT money, they must implement the three broad elements of Education Law §3012-c.

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  7. Can a charter school spend its entire RTTT allocation on professional development activities over the four year grant period if it has met all of the requirements for Network Teams and the Teacher and Principal Evaluation system?

    Yes. If a charter school can demonstrate that its existing system provides services equivalent to those of an RTTT Network Team and that it meets the requirements of the State’s new teacher and principal evaluation system, the charter school can instead use its RTTT allocation to support activities from a menu of allowable activities listed in the Final Scope of Work.

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  8. Can charter schools base more than 40% of their teacher and principal evaluations on student academic achievement?

    Yes. Student academic achievement must make up at least 40% of such ratings.

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  9. What kind of certification or narrative is needed to assure that NYSED will approve our Teacher and Principal Evaluation system? How does the process work?

    In order to secure the release of funding for LEA activities under Section D of the State’s plan implementing the new evaluation law, where applicable, an LEA and its teacher and principal collective bargaining agents must certify to the Department that their contracts are consistent with the provisions of Education Law §3012-c and the Commissioner’s regulations. If any teachers and/or principals in a school district are not represented by a collective bargaining agent, the school district must certify that it will evaluate those teachers and principals in accordance with all applicable provisions of Education Law §3012-c and Commissioner’s regulations. Once an LEA provides, where applicable, such a certification, the relevant apportionment will be available to the LEA to spend on implementation activities. That may occur at any time during the life of the RTTT grant period with relevant monies being potentially available for use as early as 2011-2012. The Teacher and Principal Evaluation Implementation certificates can be found on our website at http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/scopeofwork/evalcerts.pdf.

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  10. If a district does not accept RTTT funds, and that district has collective bargaining agreements with teachers and principals through June 30, 2013, must that district start a Teacher and Principal Evaluation system starting July 1, 2011?

    Education Law §3012-c requires that all collective bargaining agreements for teachers and building principals entered into after July 1, 2010 be consistent with its provisions. It further provides that any conflicting provisions of collective bargaining agreements in effect on July 1, 2010 are not abrogated and remain in effect until there is a successor agreement. Therefore, if a district is not applying for RTTT funds, the district does not need to comply with those provisions in Education Law §3012-c that conflict with any provisions of its current collective bargaining agreement until a successor agreement is reached. Upon entry into a successor agreement, the provisions of Education Law §3012-c apply and the successor agreement must be consistent with the provisions of this section.

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  11. The deadline for submission of the Final Scope of Work is November 8, 2010. Is it necessary to complete Section D of the Final Scope of Work by November 8 since no certification regarding the evaluation system has yet been made and Section D funds will not be available until the 2011-2012 school year?

    No. However, since certifications may be submitted at any time after July 1, 2011 (thereby allowing Section D monies to be available for use as early as the 2011-12 school year), NYSED expects that each participating LEA will begin to plan the activities that it will implement once the applicable certifications are signed and Section D funding is received. Those planning activities may be reflected on the Scope of Work at any time.

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Questions Posted on October 28, 2010


Network Teams


Network Team Definition, Composition, and Training

  1. What is a Network Team?

    A Network Team will consist of experts in curriculum, data analysis, and instruction. NYSED recommends that each Network Team consist of at least the equivalent of three full-time professionals per 25 schools. Network Teams support RTTT initiatives, providing consistent, high-quality services to ensure successful statewide implementation of the RTTT plan. Participating LEAs define the roles and responsibilities of each team member, based on the essential functions of the Network Teams and consistent with the particulars of the local setting. LEAs should not redirect existing staff from RSC-TASCs, BETACs and other such organizations to fill these roles.

    Network Teams will work with educators to provide comprehensive, ongoing support throughout the grant period. They work with districts’ School-Based Inquiry Teams to make the instructional cycle dynamic and student-focused. School-Based Inquiry Teams (comprised of teachers, teacher-leaders, and administrators) are charged with becoming experts in accessing, understanding, and using data to facilitate changes in instructional practice to accelerate learning for underperforming students.

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  2. When must Network Teams be in place?

    Network Teams must be in place by July 1, 2011. LEAs, BOCES, Big 5 school districts, and charter consortiums are encouraged to begin assembling teams before this date for planning purposes.

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  3. What is the ultimate objective of a Network Team?

    The objective of a Network Team is to deliver tools, resources, information, and training which support the Regents Reform Agenda and overarching goals to increase the numbers of students who graduate from high school college and career-ready.

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  4. Are Network Teams a requirement of RTTT?

    Yes. Each participating school district is required to use up to 75% of its RTTT allocation to either (1) purchase services of a BOCES RTTT Network Team, or (2) assure NYSED that it will participate in services provided by an alternative team determined by NYSED as offering services comparable in content and quality.

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  5. Are all school districts required to have a Network Team?

    No, but if they do not have a LEA Network Team, they must participate in a regional or BOCES-based Network Team. In addition to providing ongoing guidance and support, the Network Teams will monitor the RTTT-related professional development activities and results in the schools for which they are responsible. The Teams may assist districts and their PDP Committees in the adaptation or development of the PDP to reflect these new priorities (see also Network Team Equivalents below).

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  6. Can districts develop their own Network Team?

    Yes. The Department acknowledges there may be LEAs that have an existing local or regional infrastructure already in place (within a single LEA, in a consortium of LEAs, or in a BOCES) with the capability for delivering the functions of a Network Team. The Superintendent of the LEA will sign an assurance which certifies that:
    • The LEA’s schools will receive the services and essential functions from the Network Team as outlined in this document. Individuals providing these services must be described and resumes including relevant experience must be submitted with the Network Team Equivalence Certification.
    • The LEA will agree to implement and report the required performance metrics and outcome measures associated with Network Teams to NYSED on a regular basis.

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  7. Are charter schools required to have a BOCES Network Team?

    No. Because charter schools may be unable to contract for the full range of Network Team services offered by BOCES; they are not required to participate in a BOCES Network Team. However, charter schools may elect to purchase certain services from a BOCES Network Team or participate in a Network Team Equivalent (NTE). A consortium of public charter schools with sufficient capacity to provide comparable services could be another approvable equivalent team. Regardless of the strategy, public charter schools will be required to provide support to their teachers and leaders that is consistent with the definition and expectations of the Network Teams.

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  8. Who/How/When will the Network Team Equivalents be approved and certified?

    NTEs will be determined as a part of the Final Scope of Work review and approval process which will take place between November 8 and November 21.

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  9. The Regional Special Education–Technical Assistance Centers (RSE-TASCs) and related staff hired through IDEA funded State contracts with BOCES and the large cities serve very similar functions to those described for the Network Teams as they might impact students with disabilities. Can these teams serve as Network Team Equivalents? If not, what would be the relationship between the Network Teams and the RSE-TASCs?

    The Department strongly discourages the use of existing staff in the RSE-TASCs, BETACS, etc. to serve Network Team purposes. While collaboration and coordination of approach and service provision should be common practice, dismantling any structure that is designed to support a specific subgroup is discouraged.

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  10. What the role of the principal in a Network Team Equivalent?

    As part of the supervisor of instruction role (as opposed to “in addition to”), the principal could play this role but it would be in a very unique situation wherein, for example, there was an administrative structure in place to assist in discipline, etc. Section 100.2(a) requires that each BOE shall employ a full-time principal to each school (unless commissioner has approved an alternative mode of building administration). This suggests that a district could have one person serving as a part-time principal AND a part-time NTE member.

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  11. Can an existing teacher and/or retired LEA employee serve as part of a Network Team?

    An existing employee of an LEA may be used for the Network Team Equivalent if their skill set matches the requirements. With regards to retirees, NYSED has issued guidance related to waivers under Sections 211 and 212 of the Retirement and Social Security Law (see 8 NYCRR §80-5.5; http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/resteachers/sdretireeqa.html)

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  12. Must Network Team or NTE staff be certified administrators?

    There is no need for a team member to be certified administrator, although a clear reporting line to an administrator is encouraged.

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  13. Can a network team be blended between a BOCES and a district?

    This is a local capacity decision. The original design is one that promotes regional collaboration for the sharing of best practices and expertise.

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  14. What is the difference between a Network Team supported through BOCES and a BOCES managed equivalent team?

    The BOCES supported team is a newly created team purchased by districts using RTTT allocation dollars, whereas a BOCES managed team is one that already exists within the BOCES and is appropriately tasked to carry out the required activities.

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  15. Will there be local accountability and oversight for Network Teams that are not under the supervision of a BOCES?

    The accountability for these teams are described in the Final Scope of Work which SED approves and for which LEAs are accountable. Demonstration of the capacity to deliver, as well as the capacity to improve via measurement and accountability features, will be key to demonstrating equivalence.

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Network Team Deliverables and Reports

  1. What are the specific Network Team deliverables by school year?

    2011-2012

    • Training on implementation of Common Core Standards for ELA and Math
    • Implementation and training of school-based Inquiry Teams
    • Training on implementation of new performance evaluations for teachers and principals in ELA and Math

    2012-2013

    • Training on access and use of Early Warning Data System
    • Training on access and use of Instructional Improvement Reporting System
    • Training on implementation of ELA and Math curriculum models aligned with Common Core
    • Training on use of ELA and Math formative assessments aligned with Common Core
    • Implementation of new performance evaluations for all remaining teachers and principals

    2013-2014

    • Training for implementation of curriculum models for science, social studies, and arts
    • Training on use of formative assessments in science, social studies, and arts
    • Implementation of performance evaluations for all teachers and principals utilizing the State-developed value added growth model

    2014-2015

    • Training for implementation of PARCC summative assessments in ELA and Math

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  2. If a district participates in a BOCES Network Team, which entity is responsible for reporting information to NYSED on the effectiveness of the Network Team?

    Because each school district is responsible for providing and updating its own Final Scope of Work, each school district is ultimately responsible for reporting the required performance metrics and outcome measures associated with the district’s participation in a BOCES Network Team.

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  3. Are professional development activities and evaluation tools required for Network Teams?

    Yes. The Department will require a representative from
    all Network Teams to participate in NYSED-sponsored professional development activities.

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  4. How will NYSED identify vendors for the delivery of professional development to the Network Teams?

    Vendors will be identified through a State-level request for proposal (RFP) process consistent with current vendor practices. (Note: We may invite trainers through RFPs.)

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Network Team Funding

  1. What percentage of RTTT funding must be dedicated to the Network Teams?

    Each participating school district is required to use up to 75% of its RTTT allocation to either:

    • Purchase services of a BOCES RTTT Network Team; or
    • Assure NYSED that it will participate in services provided by an alternative team determined by NYSED as offering services comparable in content and quality. A BOCES, school district, or public charter school will not have to create a new Network Team if it can demonstrate that its existing system provides services of an equivalent quality and range to those provided by RTTT Network Teams as outlined in the State’s plan.
    • NYSED encourages participating school districts and their BOCES to work together to establish effective Network Team structures and functions that align with the State’s plan and are within the participating LEA school district’s RTTT budgets for this activity.

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  2. If the funds from the districts' RTTT allocations do not cover the costs of a three person network team, how flexible can the BOCES be in providing the services? Will districts be required to pay for the costs out of general fund monies?

    The focus needs to be on true capacity. NYSED encourages participating school districts and their BOCES to work together to establish effective Network Team structures and functions that align with the State’s plan and are within the participating LEA school district’s RTTT budgets for this activity. If the BOCES can provide the needed services with, for example, less than three people or through a combination of RTTT and other funds, then they do not necessarily need to implement the three person model. If a district chooses to use other federal funds or general fund dollars to supplement their structure as a part of their overall professional development plan, they are certainly not precluded from doing so. They will not, however, be required to do so.

    Districts may also opt to use a portion of their NCLB Title II-Part A grant funds (Teacher and Principal Training and Recruitment Fund) to supplement the costs for Network Teams. While not all activities of the network teams are allowable uses of II-A funds, the provision of professional development activities that improve the knowledge of teachers and principals in effective instructional strategies in one or more of the core academic subjects that they teach and innovative professional development programs through the use of technology are clearly appropriate uses. We encourage you to review the statutory allowable uses of local grant funds at: www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg22.html#sec2123 external link icon.

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  3. Can BOCES be “participating LEAs” for the purpose of funding under RTTT?

    No. Because BOCES do not receive funding under Title I, Part A they would not be eligible to receive a grant from the 50% portion of the State’s award designated for suballocations to participating LEAs.

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  4. Can the 15% that is able to be spent prior to July 1, 2011 be used to hire and train a Network Team at a BOCES based on the districts that opt for the BOCES Network Team?

    Yes – so long as this is included in the district’s NYSED-approved Final Scope of Work.

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  5. If districts collaborate through their local BOCES for Network Team services, will these costs be BOCES aidable?

    No. Because the RTTT funds are a federal grant, no aid is available.

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  6. Does 100 % of the Network Team need to be purchased? For example, if a school district has a 1.0 FTE curriculum expert, is it permissible to only purchase the support for instruction and data from the BOCES?

    The team does not need to be fully purchased. Any combination as suggested here should be determined through collaborative regional discussion with a focus on capacity to deliver.

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  7. Are public charter schools required to establish a Network Team, and if so, can this service be purchased from a BOCES?

    Since public charter schools can purchase services from BOCES only under limited circumstances, they will not be required to participate in a BOCES-sponsored Network Team. Rather, public charter schools are required to use up to 75% of their RTTT allocation to purchase comparable services. As noted above, they may use up to 75% of their allocations as a single charter school or enter into collaborative arrangements with other public charter schools. Public charter schools will be required to provide support to their teachers and leaders that is consistent with the definition and expectations of the Network Teams.

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  8. Can a small group of four charter schools work together to contract services through other means? Being that the NTE would not be working with 25 schools, can one assume that the team does not have to consist of three FTEs?

    Three FTEs per 25 schools is the recommended number to ensure that all required services are provided. However, so long as a consortium can demonstrate and certify that they have the capacity to deliver the necessary services to their schools, less than three FTEs may be acceptable.

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  9. If my BOCES or school district can demonstrate that its existing system provides services equivalent to those of an RTTT Network Team, how can I spend my RTTT allocation?

    If a BOCES (on behalf of its component districts) or a school district can demonstrate that its existing system provides services equivalent to those of an RTTT Network Team, the school district can instead use this portion of its RTTT allocation to support activities from a menu of allowable activities listed in the Final Scope of Work. This list consists of initiatives that are consistent with, and aligned to, the goals of the State’s RTTT plan. The menu includes activities and initiatives designed to better prepare students to graduate from high school college- and career-ready as described in the RTTT application and the Preliminary Scope of Work.

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  10. Page 7 of the guidance document appears to contradict a statement made earlier regarding the use of RTTT funds to pay a pro rata share of salaries for existing in-house administrators who would make up the NTE.

    The use of monies to offset existing salaried positions needs to be thoroughly considered in comparison to the capacity required to be approved as an NTE. That is, the current duties and responsibilities of the administrator in question must be considered. While there is no rule against supplanting under RTTT, LEAs must consider how structures under RTTT will be continued after the funding expires so as to avoid funding cliffs. Therefore, while existing staff may in fact be paid with RTTT funds, SED would first have to approve the NTE for the given LEA.

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Scope of Work Provisions and RTTT Participation

  1. If a school district did not apply or is not eligible for RTTT funds, is it required to have Network/Inquiry Teams?

    If a school district did not apply or is not eligible for RTTT funds, it will not be required to have Network/Inquiry Teams. However, such LEAs are encouraged to work with their regional network to take advantage of best practices and lessons learned from participating LEAs' Network/Inquiry Teams.

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  2. If an LEA chooses not to submit a Final Scope of Work, is it legally obligated to establish or participate in a Network Team?

    No. However, the Board of Regents will expect all school districts to participate in all elements of its reform agenda established by law and Commissioner’s Regulations. Participating in RTTT and its Network Teams will provide LEAs with the professional development and tools to meet the Regents expectations in a way that is cost-effective.

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Charter Schools

  1. How does a charter school become a participating LEA?

    Charter schools must sign an MOU (you may have already done this in May) and submit a completed Final Scope of Work to the Department no later than November 8, 2010. A "notice of intent" to submit a Final Scope of Work was required by close of business on, Monday, October 18th in order for the Department to calculate the final allocations to participating LEAs.

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  2. We did not send in an MOU in May; can we still submit one if we are interested in being a participating LEA?

    No. The date for submitting an MOU and an "intent to submit" message to the Department was Monday, October 18, 2010.

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  3. My school chose not to file an "intent to submit" and the Final Scope of Work document. Can we apply for the supplemental RTTT funding programs that the Department will make available over the next four years?

    No – only participating LEAs who accept their RttT allocation will have access to supplemental grants and supports, including funds to expand high quality seat options and launch new and innovative schools.

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  4. Are charter schools required to have a BOCES Network Team?

    No. Because charter schools may be unable to contract for the full range of Network Team services offered by BOCES; they are not required to participate in a BOCES Network Team. However, charter schools may elect to purchase certain services from a BOCES Network Team (typically related to the use of data, data warehousing, or support related to using data to drive academic and operational decision making).

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  5. Are public charter schools required to establish a Network Team, and if so, can this service be purchased from a BOCES?

    Since public charter schools can purchase services from BOCES only under limited circumstances, they will not be required to participate in a BOCES-sponsored Network Team. Rather, public charter schools are required to use up to 75% of their RTTT allocation to purchase comparable services. Charter schools may use up to 75% of their allocations as a single charter school or enter into collaborative arrangements with other public charter schools. Public charter schools will be required to provide support to their teachers and leaders that is consistent with the definition and expectations of the Network Teams.

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  6. Can a small group of four charter schools work together to contract services through other means? Being that the NTE would not be working with 25 schools, can one assume that the team does not have to consist of three FTEs?

    Three FTEs per 25 schools is the recommended number to ensure that all required services are provided. However, so long as a consortium can demonstrate and certify that they have the capacity to deliver the necessary services to their schools, less than three FTEs may be acceptable.

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  7. If a charter school does not accept the RTTT money, does it have to comply with Education Law 3012-c?

    No – Charter schools do not have to comply with the entirety of Education Law 3012-c. As noted in the Scope of Work Guidance document, Charter schools – whether or not they chose to apply for Race to the Top funding – are encouraged to examine their teacher and leader support and evaluation structures and bring them into alignment with the following three elements of Education Law §3012-c:
    • Use multiple measures of effectiveness, including [a minimum of] 40% student achievement measures, to determine a single composite effectiveness score for every teacher and principal;
    • Use the following four categories to annually evaluate teachers and principals: Highly Effective, Effective, Developing, and Ineffective and use such annual evaluations as a significant factor for employment decisions including promotion, retention, supplemental compensation, and professional development; and
    • Provide for the professional development of teachers or principals rated Developing or Ineffective.

    If a public charter schools applies for RTTT money, they must implement the three broad elements of Education Law §3012-c.

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  8. Can charter schools base more than 40% of their teacher and principal evaluations on student academic achievement?

    Yes. Student academic achievement must make up at least 40% of such ratings.

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  9. Does 25% of the teacher and leader evaluation have to be based on student growth?

    No. Charter schools may utilize percentages of student academic achievement that they deem appropriate and in alignment with the spirit and intent of the law so long as student academic achievement makes up at least 40% of the rating.

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  10. Does a school have to use the eight evaluation criteria to measure the balance of teacher effectiveness as defined in the APPR regulations?

    No - Charter schools can define measures of effectiveness that they deem appropriate and in alignment with the spirit and intent of the law as long as student academic achievement makes up at least 40% of the rating.

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  11. How much of my school’s allocation must be targeted towards the teacher and leader support and evaluation system?

    As noted in the Final Scope of Work Guidance Document, participating LEAs must target no less than 25% of their allocation to supporting great teachers and leaders in their buildings.

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  12. If I don’t apply for Race to the Top funding, will my school still have to enter additional data into the improved State data systems?

    Yes. Section 119.3 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires charter schools to submit basic educational data and data on academic and fiscal performance. Additionally, Education Law section 215, which applies to both school districts and education corporations such as charter schools, requires the submission of reports containing such information as the Regents or the Commissioner may prescribe.

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  13. If a charter school does not apply for Race to the Top funds, does it still have to follow the Common Core State Standards?

    Yes - Public charter schools, like all public schools in the state, will be responsible for designing and delivering an academic program that aligns with the Common Core; ensures success on State assessments; and prepares students for success in college and their careers.

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  14. Will charter schools be required to use the State-developed curricula and curriculum-embedded formative assessments?

    No – public charter schools may use their own curriculum, if they believe that it will better prepare students to meet State standards and graduation requirements.

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  15. Can a charter school spend its entire RTTT allocation on professional development activities over the four year grant period if it has met all of the requirements for Network Teams and the Teacher and Principal Evaluation system?

    Yes. If a charter school can demonstrate that its existing system provides services equivalent to those of an RTTT Network Team and that it meets the requirements of the State’s new teacher and principal evaluation system, the charter school can instead use its RTTT allocation to support activities from a menu of allowable activities listed in the Final Scope of Work.

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Questions Posted on September 28, 2010

  1. What is the time line for a participating LEA to submit its Final Scope of Work statement in order to receive its RTTT subgrant allocations?

    Date

    Milestone

    Tuesday
    August 24
    U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced RTTT Round 2 Winners
    Clock began: 90 days until the NYS Education Department (NYSED) must submit all participating LEA Final Scope of Work statements to USED
    Monday
    October 4
    NYSED posts Final Scope of Work template and supporting guidance
    No later than
    Monday
    October 18
    LEAs file an "intent to submit" a Final Scope of Work if they have not already submitted their completed Final Scope of Work
    NYSED locks in the list of participating LEAs needed to produce final  subgrant allocations
    No later than
    Friday
    October 22
    NYSED posts final subgrant allocations for participating LEAs
    Monday
    November 8
    Last date for participating LEAs to file Final Scope of Work statements with NYSED
    Monday
    November 22
    All approved Final Scope of Work statements are due to USED

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  2. How are the RTTT LEA subgrant allocations calculated?

    Each State receiving an RTTT grant is required by section 14006(c) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to award 50% of its total grant funds to participating LEAs based on their relative shares of funding under Part A of Title I of the ESEA for the most recent year ("the 14006(c) subgrant"). Since all RTTT grants will be made in 2010, USED has determined that Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 is the most recent year and will be the basis for calculating RTTT allocations.

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  3. Should a participating LEA expect to receive its entire RTTT LEA subgrant in a lump sum once its Final Scope of Work has been approved?

    No. Participating LEAs must use the 14006(c) subgrant funds in a manner consistent with the State plan and the Final Scope of Work (see Q16), and will be required to document, prior to payment, that funds will be used only for expenditures on activities that are authorized by the State plan and the Final Scope of Work. Because the RTTT grant is funded from ARRA, there are strict limitations on the amount of funds that can be advanced based on anticipated expenditures (see Q4).

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  4. What percentage or amount of my RTTT LEA subgrant can I access immediately?

    Districts may only request as much cash as is necessary to meet the immediate needs of a grant project and must minimize the time between receipt of the funds and disbursing them for grant activities. Please see:
    http://www.oms.nysed.gov/cafe/guidance/payments.html

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  5. Will each participating LEA’s relative share be based on the regular fiscal year (FY) 2009 appropriation only or based on both the regular 2009 appropriation and the ARRA Title I allocations?

    USED has directed states to use the sum of the Title I, Part A funding that LEAs received through the regular FY 2009 appropriation and the supplement they received through the ARRA as additional Title I, Part A funds to determine their participating LEAs’ relative shares.

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  6. Will RTTT LEA subgrant allocations awarded in 2010 be adjusted in subsequent years of the grant due to changes in LEAs’ relative share of the Title I, Part A annual allocations?

    No. Changes in the relative share of an LEA’s subsequent-year Title I, Part A funding will not cause changes in an LEA’s RTTT subgrant allocation.

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  7. Will LEAs receive this allocation each year for the four years of the grant?

    No. The amount listed on the preliminary allocations list is the full amount that will be allocated to the LEA for the entire period of the grant.

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  8. Can a district or public charter school still become a "participating LEA" if they did not sign an MOU in May 2010 that was submitted as part of New York’s Round 2 RTTT application?

    According to previously issued guidance from USED, if a state wishes, it may add participating LEAs up until 90 days after it has been awarded a grant. If a state needs to add a participating LEA after this 90-day window, the state must obtain approval from USED. Such requests will be handled in writing on a case-by-case basis.

    The Department is allowing additional school districts and public charter schools to become participating LEAs until October 18, 2010. To do so, they must complete, sign and submit the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the Preliminary Scope of Work which are posted on the RTTT website at:
    http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/MASTERMOUFinal052610.pdf PDF icon (63 KB).

    The district or public charter school would then also need to complete the Final Scope of Work.

    Additions to the list of participating LEAs after October 18, 2010 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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  9. Can a public charter school opening for the first time in September 2010, or after, become a participating LEA and receive funding under the subgrant allocations?

    No. According to guidance from USED, funding for the LEA subgrants under section 14006(c) is based on the share of funding received by the LEA under Title I, Part A of the ESEA for FY 2009. A public charter school opening for the first time in September 2010 -- or later -- did not receive Title I, Part A funding in 2009 and therefore is not eligible for an LEA subgrant. However, see response to Q25 for information on available funding from the State’s share of the RTTT grant.

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  10. Can a school district that did not receive Title I, Part A funds in FY 2009 become a participating LEA and receive funding under the 50% subgrant allocations?

    No. According to guidance from USED, funding for the LEA subgrants under section 14006(c) is based on the share of funding received by the LEA under Title I, Part A of the ESEA for FY 2009. School districts, which did not receive Title I, Part A funding in 2009 are not eligible for an LEA subgrant. However, see response to Q25 for information on available funding from the State’s share of the RTTT grant.

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  11. Can a Special Act school district that did not receive Title I, Part A funds in FY 2009 become a participating LEA and receive funding under the subgrant allocations?

    No. According to guidance from USED, funding for the LEA subgrants under section 14006(c) is based on the share of funding received by the LEA under Title I, Part A of the ESEA for FY 2009. A Special Act school district that did not receive Title I, Part A funding in 2009 is therefore not eligible for an LEA subgrant. However, see response to Q25 for information on available funding from the State’s share of the grant.

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  12. If the State adds new participating LEAs before October 18, 2010, what is the impact on my LEA’s preliminary subgrant allocation?

    If the State adds a participating LEA that receives funding under Title I, Part A, it will need to recalculate its section 14006(c) subgrant allocations to all participating LEAs. For this reason, USED strongly encourages states to establish and maintain their group of participating LEAs as soon as possible, but no later than within the first 90 days of the grant period.

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  13. If a participating LEA included in the State’s RTTT application chooses to withdraw, what is the impact on my LEA’s preliminary subgrant allocation?

    If the number of participating LEAs increases or decreases, the State will need to recalculate its section 14006(c) subgrant allocations to all participating LEAs. LEAs should note that, pursuant to USED guidance, "States must inform [USED] of any substantive changes in their approved grant application, including the withdrawal of any participating LEAs." LEAs should also note that the State’s RTTT activities are largely required by regulation or law.

    Section II-C (Joint Responsibilities) of the MOU signed by participating LEAs prior to the submission of the State’s application commits NYSED and the participating LEA to negotiate in good faith to continue to achieve the overall goals of the State’s RTTT grant, even when the State plan requires modifications that affect the LEA, or the LEA’s plan requires modifications. If the good faith negotiations on the Final Scope of Work are unsuccessful, the LEA may withdraw as a participating LEA, with the resulting loss of RTTT funding. The MOU also provides that it may be amended by written agreement signed by the parties and in consultation with USED.

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  14. If a public charter school or school district which is a participating LEA that received Title I, Part A funds in FY 2009 closes during the four-year grant period, what happens to its subgrant allocation?

    RTTT funds which are unexpended at the time of school or district closure must be returned to NYSED for reallocation to all other participating LEAs.

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  15. What must a participating LEA do to receive its share of the local subgrant allocation?

    An LEA will receive its subgrant allocation, provided that the LEA submits a Final Scope of Work that is consistent with the State plan and approved by NYSED.

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  16. My district is a participating LEA. What will we be required to do in the Final Scope of Work? Are there any restrictions on the allowable uses of these funds?

    NYSED expects to post the Final Scope of Work on October 4, 2010. This document will provide more detailed information for LEAs. USED’s RTTT reform elements – commonly referred to as the Four Assurances – are designed to work together to create a comprehensive systemic approach to improving teaching and learning:
    • Adopting internationally-benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace;
    • Building instructional data systems that measure student success and inform teachers and principals how they can improve their practices;
    • Recruiting, developing, retaining, and rewarding effective teachers and principals; and
    • Turning around the persistently lowest-achieving schools.

    Each assurance area of the State’s RTTT plan includes specific initiatives included in the Board of Regents statewide education reform agenda. Therefore, participating LEAs will be required to spend their RTTT local subgrant allocations on activities designed to better prepare students to graduate from high school college- and career-ready as described in the RTTT application.

    Consistent with the State’s RTTT plan, the Final Scope of Work will require participating LEAs to purchase services from a regional Network Team (if applicable) to implement the required activities listed in the Preliminary Scope of Work. The Final Scope of Work will also require that a portion of each LEA’s allocation be set aside for implementation of the new statewide teacher and principal evaluation system. If any additional RTTT monies remain, LEAs will be allowed to use the remaining funds to implement one or more activities selected from a list, or "menu," of additional allowable activities.

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  17. The State’s RTTT application describes a role for Network Teams. What are they? Are participating LEAs required to use them?

    Network Teams are three person teams of experts in curriculum, data analysis, and instruction. To cover the majority of the State’s school district LEAs, the BOCES will be staffed with Network Teams that will each provide services to up to 25 schools within their component districts. The State’s Big 5 city school districts will build and/or maintain Network Teams to provide services to the schools within their own districts. Network Teams will support all RTTT initiatives, providing consistent, high-quality services to ensure successful statewide implementation of our RTTT plan. Specifically, Network Teams will work directly with educators in schools to provide comprehensive, ongoing support throughout the grant period once they are phased in.

    In addition to providing ongoing guidance and support, the Network Teams will monitor the RTTT-related professional development activities and results in the schools for which they are responsible. The Teams may also assist districts and their PDP Committees in the adaptation or development of the Professional Development Plan to reflect these new priorities.

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  18. My public charter school is a participating LEA. Is our charter school required to establish, participate in and/or purchase services from a Network Team?

    No. Because charter schools may be unable to contract for the full range of Network Team services offered by BOCES, they are not required to participate in a Network Team. However, charter schools may elect to purchase certain services from a Network Team or participate in a Network Team equivalent. A consortium of public charter schools with sufficient capacity to provide comparable services could be another approvable equivalent team. Regardless of the specific mechanism chosen, public charter schools will be required to provide support to its teachers and leaders that is consistent with the definition and expectations of the Network Teams.

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  19. My BOCES or school district has an existing professional development infrastructure similar to an RTTT Network Team. Does my BOCES or school district have to create a new team that I have to help pay for with my RTTT allocation?

    A BOCES or school district will not have to create a new Network Team if it can demonstrate that its existing system provides services of an equivalent quality and range to those provided by RTTT Network Teams as outlined in the State’s plan.

    Each participating LEA school district will need to either: a) take part in the services of a BOCES RTTT Network Team; or b) assure NYSED that it will participate in services provided by an alternative structure determined by NYSED as offering services comparable in content and quality.

    Whether in a BOCES, local school district or public charter consortium, Network Teams (or their equivalents) will be accountable to achieve specific performance targets as stated in the relevant LEAs’ Final Scope of Work statements.

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  20. If my BOCES or school district can demonstrate that its existing system provides services equivalent to those of an RTTT Network Team, how can I spend my RTTT allocation?

    If a BOCES (on behalf of its component districts) or a school district can demonstrate that its existing system provides services equivalent to those of an RTTT Network Team, the school district can instead use its RTTT allocation to support activities from a menu of allowable activities listed in the Final Scope of Work. This list will consist of initiatives that are consistent with, and aligned to, the goals of the State’s RTTT plan – improving teaching and learning through the four reform areas. The menu will include activities and initiatives designed to better prepare students to graduate from high school college- and career-ready as described in the RTTT application and the Preliminary Scope of Work.

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  21. If my district is required to purchase the services of an RTTT Network Team and has RTTT funds left over after doing so, how can we spend the rest of our RTTT allocation?

    If a district which is required to purchase the services of an RTTT Network Team has funds remaining after paying its equitable share of the Network Team cost, then the district must use those funds to support activities from the menu of allowable activities to be included in the Final Scope of Work.

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  22. How long do LEAs have to spend these funds? And, when does the clock start on this timeframe?

    The grant period for LEAs awarded a Race to the Top grant started on October 1, 2010 and ends September 23, 2014. If your LEA has an approved RTTT Scope of Work then RTTT funds, as listed in RTTT LEA Allocations, will be available during this time period. Participating LEAs have until June 1, 2014 to obligate their funds and until September 23, 2014 to liquidate them. Please note that award letters are only mailed for each year of the grant after an annual budget is submitted through the NYSED Business Application Portal.

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  23. Are there any rules regarding when, within the four years of the grant period, my LEA must spend its allocation?

    NYSED will provide guidance on the allowable schedule for annual spending over the four-year period as part of the Final Scope of Work. It is important to note that a number of the resources the State will build with its share of the RTTT grant will be phased in over the course of the four years. Each new resource (e.g., curriculum models, formative assessments, teacher and principal evaluations, Data Portal, etc.) will require an investment of time, and possibly funding, to implement at the local level. Participating LEAs will be required to plan their budgets accordingly.

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  24. What are the reporting requirements related to the RTTT funds provided to LEAs?

    RTTT funds are subject to the reporting requirements of section 1512 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This requires quarterly reporting of jobs saved and created, payment to vendors, and the expenditure of funds. RTTT funds will have their own fund code and must be tracked separately.

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  25. If my LEA did not get Title I, Part A funding in FY 2009, how are we able to participate?

    Although your LEA will not receive a subgrant allocation from the 50% of the State’s RTTT grant that must go to "participating LEAs" based on the FY 2009 Title I, Part A formula, your school district or public charter school can benefit from State-level initiatives intended to support all LEAs which are to be funded from the other 50% of the State grant (e.g., an enhanced data system, formative assessments, optional curriculum models, and professional development opportunities with colleagues from around the State). In addition, the State plans to use a portion of its share of the funds to issue competitive RFPs for which your LEA may be eligible.

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  26. The State’s RTTT plan relies heavily on recently enacted legislation requiring a new statewide system for teacher and principal evaluations. What will an LEA be required to do to in relation to this system for purposes of RTTT funding?

    The new teacher and principal evaluation law (Education Law §3012-c) establishes a new statewide comprehensive evaluation system for classroom teachers and building principals based on multiple measures of effectiveness, including student achievement. The law provides for a phase-in of the new comprehensive system, including prescribed student achievement measures, beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. Implementing regulations are being developed and are anticipated by Spring 2011.

    Section D of the State’s RTTT application (Great Teachers and Leaders) requires LEAs to conduct annual evaluations using the new statewide evaluation system, then use the results of these evaluations to inform employment decision-making including but not limited to promotion, retention, tenure determinations, termination and supplemental compensation. Such evaluations shall also be used to inform professional development of teachers and principals.

    In order to secure the release of funding for LEA activities under Section D of the State’s plan implementing the new evaluation law, where applicable, an LEA and its teacher and principal collective bargaining agents must certify to the Department that their contracts comply with the provisions of Education Law §3012-c and the Commissioner’s regulations. Once an LEA provides, where applicable, such a certification that their contracts permit implementation of the new system, the relevant apportionment will be available to the LEA to spend on implementation activities. That may occur at any time during the life of the RTTT grant period with relevant monies being potentially available for use as early as 2011-2012.

    Additional information on the new teacher and principal evaluation law is available at:
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/memos/performeval/memo.html and
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/memos/performeval/memo083110.html

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  27. The new law mentions an advisory committee. Who will be on the committee and what will they be doing?

    The new law requires that implementing regulations be developed in consultation with an advisory committee.

    The advisory committee is known as the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Principal Effectiveness ("Task Force") and will be responsible for providing recommendations to the Commissioner and the Board of Regents on certain components of the new teacher and principal evaluation law in accordance with Education Law §3012-c. The Task Force is comprised of representatives of teachers, principals, superintendents of schools, school boards, school districts and board of cooperative educational services officials, and other interested parties, including research advisors.

    It is anticipated that proposed regulations will be presented to the Board of Regents in late spring 2011.

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  28. Whose signature is required on the Final Scope of Work? Will additional signatures and/or assurances be required at a later date?

    The Final Scope of Work must be signed and dated by the Superintendent of the LEA or an equivalent authorized signatory (e.g. chief school officer of charter school). Upon its acceptance by the Department, it will be co-signed and dated by a state official.

    Additional assurances may be required for the receipt of RTTT funds. For example, as described above (Q26), in order to spend funds on Section D implementation activities the LEA and its teacher and principal collective bargaining agents (where applicable) must certify to the Department that their contracts comply with the provisions of Education Law §3012-c and the Commissioner’s regulations.

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  29. How can I get additional questions answered?

    Questions can be submitted to NYSED’s RTTT mailbox at: rttt@mail.nysed.gov

    Also check the Department’s RTTT website: http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/ regularly as all informational updates and guidance documents will be posted there.

    Visit the U.S. Department of Education’s RTTT website:
    http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/index.html external link icon

    See http://usny.nysed.gov/arra/ for a summary of Section 1512 reporting requirements.

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Last Updated: February 7, 2014