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 Holidays
December 17, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Holiday Decorations
December 10, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Removal of Library Books
December 3, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Attendance Waivers
November 19, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: HB 103 Texas Active Shooter Alert
November 12, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Remote Learning and ADA-Funding
November 5, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: CBD Oil
October 29, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Temporary Custodians of Record – TPIA
October 22, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Dyslexia Handbook Update
October 15, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Peace Officer Legislation
October 8, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: HB 1525 PTO Donations
October 1, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: State Certifications Update – SB 13 & SB 19
September 24, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Accelerated and Supplemental Instruction HB 4545
September 17, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Active Threat Excercises
September 10, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: HB 1927 Firearms
September 3, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Remote Participation in Board Meetings
August 27, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Waiving Minimum Attendance Requirements for Seriously Ill Students
August 20, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Inquiring About Vaccine Status
August 13, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Temporary Suspension of TPIA due to Catastrophe
August 6, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Standard for Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
July 30, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Bullying Policies and Reporting SB 2050
July 23, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Homeschoolers and UIL
July 16, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: TOMA Suspension Extension
July 9, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Revision to Resignation without Penalty Deadline
July 2, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: SB 179 School Counselors
June 25, 2021