Some Syracuse teachers are demanding change after receiving poor performance evaluations. They say the district hasn't told them how the scores are computed. They rallied outside Henninger High School Friday to protest the evaluations. Katie Gibas has more.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It was a powerful site at Henninger High School Friday. Dozens of teachers, all dressed in black, marched around the school both at the start of class and as a final bell rang. They're protesting what they call unfair and in accurate scores on their performance evaluations.
Liz Magnarelli has been teaching in the city of Syracuse for 29 years. But she's never done anything like what she did Friday. She and more than two dozen teachers all locked out at exactly 2:50 p.m. in protest of what they say are in accurate scores on their performance evaluations.
"We received these scores last week Friday, on our way out. We had the weekend for it to sink through. A lot of people were devastated on Friday when they opened up their evaluations and they saw that they were ineffective. They saw that they were developing," said Magnarelli.
Last Friday, every teacher at Henninger High School received a zero in the category of student improvement on Regents exams. Many teachers say students scores improved on algebra, global and U.S. history. They say they don't even know how the district computed the scores for the evaluations.
"Holding teachers accountable for curriculum that hasn't really been taught or rolled out properly yet, I think it's fair to say the test scores from last year are meaningless," said Kevin Ahern, the Syracuse Teachers Association President.
Christine Cook, the Henninger Parent Teacher Student Organization President, added, "They work very hard. And last year, they worked so hard to bring those regents numbers up, and they did bring them up. But what the school district did is they gave the whole school a zero growth score."
That's why teachers protested by only working hours are legally required to be in school, from 7:45 a.m. to 2:50 p.m., instead of coming in early or seeing late to help students. Students showing both the morning and afternoon marches and share their teachers on.
"A lot of people think this is a bad school. My family thought it was. But then I got here. But it's not. It's a good school here," said Mia Simiele, a Henninger 11th grader.
Martin Bedus, a Henninger 12th grader, added, "Almost all of those teachers that received bad scores, they're the ones that got me through school and got me where I am today and kind of kept me as a family. But now they're being treated poorly."
STA President Kevin Ahern says no other school received a zero in this category. And they're not sure how or why Henninger was singled out. But STA is working with the district to find out what happened.
At this point, the district has not issued a statement.