PEER ASSISTANCE AND REVIEW (PAR)
History and Overview:
The Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) Program of the Wm. S. Hart Union High School District has been created through the collective bargaining process and is a part of the Contract Agreement between the Wm. S. Hart Union High School District and the Hart District Teachers Association. This program has been negotiated in response to legislation known as the California Peer Assistance and Review Program for Teachers enacted by the California State Legislature and signed by the Governor in 1999. This law was intended to completely replace the California Mentor Teacher Program, a program that had been in effect for many years in the Hart District.
The California Peer Assistance and Review Program for Teachers allows the Governing Board of a school district and the exclusive representative (HDTA) of the certificated employees in the school district to implement a peer assistance and review program for teachers. The program does not apply to counselors, librarians, psychologists, school district nurses, or other certificated employees who are not primarily classroom teachers.
During the beginning months of the 1999-2000 school year, representatives of the Wm. S. Hart Union High School District and the HDTA met to negotiate language for our local Peer Assistance and Review program. The Governing Board expressed its approval of the program, and the members of the Hart District Teachers Association gave their approval in a ratification vote that occurred in March 2000.
The purpose of the PAR Program is precisely what the name suggests: peer assistance and review. The primary goal is to provide newer teachers (those with fewer than three years of full-time teaching experience with a clear credential) and affected veteran teachers with personal support, guidance, modeling, direction, and mentoring in the areas of subject matter knowledge, teaching strategies, classroom management, and overall professional competence. These focuses are delineated in the PAR Program Standards for Observation and Evaluation.
To this end, each Probationary Teacher or Veteran Teacher in the program will be assigned to receive services from a full-time Consulting Teacher. Consulting Teachers are responsible for effecting the other equally important goal of the program, which is to participate in the formal evaluation process of their assigned Participating Teachers. By agreement between the District and the HDTA, teachers with long term substitute status may also be assigned to receive PAR service, if space is available.
Consulting Teachers report directly to the PAR Panel, an oversight committee that coordinates the activities of the PAR Program each year. The PAR Panel consists of seven members, four selected by the HDTA and three selected by the District.
The PAR Panel receives information from Consulting Teachers regarding the progress of Participating Teachers receiving peer assistance. It is the PAR Panel that makes a recommendation to continue contract employment or not. Any recommendation is made to the Governing Board of the school district, which retains in law the responsibility for continuing or terminating certificated employment.
Roles and Relationships:
The role of the Consulting Teacher is pivotal to the success of the Hart District PAR Program. Every reasonable effort will be made to assign available Consulting Teachers to Participating Teachers by giving consideration to subject matter taught, school and grade levels, proximity and ease of communication, equity, and unique experiences. The PAR Panel may designate a Lead Consulting Teacher for the purpose of expediting communication among Consulting Teachers, the PAR Panel, and the District Personnel Office.
If, at any time, a Participating Teacher believes that a problem has developed between him/her and the assigned Consulting Teacher, the Participating Teacher should not hesitate to contact the chairperson of the PAR Panel. A reasonable effort will be made to deal with any perceived problems in order to support and strengthen the relationship between the Consulting Teacher and the teacher receiving service.