ANDERSON — An Anderson Community Schools second-grade teacher who was dismissed and placed on paid administrative leave early this year is fighting the school system’s teacher evaluation program in federal court saying her constitutional rights of due process were violated because she was not allowed to attend meetings where her classroom performance was discussed and evaluated.
At the time of her dismissal in mid-January, Priscilla Davis, was teaching a special needs class at Eastside Elementary Alternative School. If Davis, who’s worked for the school system since 2005, had been allowed to present her case, she would have told school officials she was:
• Placed in a special needs class, but was not supplied with support she requested to teach special needs students.
• Not given teaching materials necessary to properly instruct her students.
• Not provided with preparation time as required under the current union contract.
• Not provided with a lunch period, also required by the contract.
• Denied “meaningful” continuing education assistance as required under Indiana law.
Like many ACS educators relatively low on the Anderson Federation of Teachers seniority list, Davis was assigned to teach at various schools and faced the prospect of extended layoffs.
From 2005 to 2009, for example, Davis was an “extended” substitute teacher at Eastside; during the 2009-2010 school year she was a reading specialist at Tenth Street Elementary School. She was laid off from 2010 until August 2012, when she was called back to teach second grade at Erskine Elementary.
In August 2013, she was again assigned to Eastside.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, Davis was notified last November that she was being placed — an action known as “intervention” — in the district’s Peer Assistance Review Program, or PAR, the district’s method of evaluating teachers.
The PAR board of review assigned a consulting teacher to work with Davis, who told her six or seven observation and work sessions would be held. After four sessions, however, the teacher working with Davis told her there wouldn’t be any more because of the severe winter weather, according to the affidavit.