KBS Reference Desk: Termination of Probationary Contract Teacher

Q:       We have a probationary contract teacher who is not meeting performance expectations and will most likely face termination at the end of contract year. Should we take any steps now geared toward the teacher’s possible termination?

A:        Yes. The District should ensure the appraiser’s compliance with the T-TESS evaluation process, which contains language requiring that probationary contract teachers be evaluated early in the appraisal calendar, as well as language urging the provision of significant supports prior to termination.  

The rules promulgated by the Commissioner require that a school district appraise teachers a minimum of one time during each school year. 19 Tex. Admin. Code § 150.1003(a). A teacher’s annual appraisal must include “at least one classroom observation of a minimum of 45 minutes,” “additional walk-throughs,” “observation post-conference[s],” “an end-of year conference,” and other “cumulative data.” Id. Notably, teachers who are new to a district or in their first year of appraisal under T-TESS must attend a Goal-Setting and Professional Development Plan conference before they submit their plans to their appraisers. Id. Similarly, the regulations provide that this class of employee receive significant supports.

[A] school district shall require that appropriate components of the appraisal process, such as classroom observations and walk-throughs, occur more frequently as necessary to ensure that a teacher receives adequate evaluation and guidance. A school district shall give priority to conducting appropriate components more frequently for inexperienced teachers or experienced teachers with identified areas of deficiency.

Based upon the above text, school districts are well advised to promptly schedule evaluations and provide necessary support and guidance to probationary teachers as early as possible during the school year. Building a deadline into your appraisal calendar for probationary contract teachers (whether a soft or hard deadline) could be beneficial in keeping principals on track.

With these rules in mind, the school district above would be best served to conduct and document additional evaluations, observations, and walk-throughs during the December, January, and February timeframe to demonstrate that it thoroughly assessed its probationary teacher throughout the school year and provided appropriate supports necessary to improve performance. Those supports can be identified within the Goal Setting and Professional Development Plan or separate memoranda. 

If performance does not improve as a result of the additional supports provided, the documentation created through the T-TESS process should be sufficient to withstand an EEOC challenge, unemployment filing, or Level 3 grievance under DGBA (LOCAL). For additional or specific questions regarding the termination process for teachers employed under probationary teaching contracts, please contact your local school attorney.   

Related Posts

Recent Articles

KBS Reference Desk: On Call Employees over 4th of July Holiday
July 1, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Employment of Students
June 24, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: TOMA Social Gatherings Conventions
June 17, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Volunteers Under Guardian Plan
June 10, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: DOI and Certification
June 3, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: FML Leave Over the Summer
May 27, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Decrease in Compensation
May 20, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Participation in Graduation Ceremonies
May 13, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Temporary Custodians of Record – TPIA
May 6, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Driving Students to Polls
April 29, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Authority to Create New Position
April 22, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Booster Club Raffle
April 15, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Returning a Teacher to Probationary Status
April 8, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Termination of Probationary Contract While On Leave
April 1, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Long COVID and Special Education Referrals
March 25, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Weather Closure
March 18, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Nepotism
March 11, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: New SBOE Rules on Contract Abandonment
March 4, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Web Accessibility
February 25, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Political Advocacy Prohibitions
February 18, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Weather Closure
February 11, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: House Bill 2581 Procurement Updates
February 4, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: CDL Waivers for Bus Drivers
January 28, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Interstate Travel Liability and Travel Forms Best Practices
January 21, 2022
KBS Reference Desk: Updated Stay at Home Periods
January 14, 2022