Many questions remain about how new teacher evaluations will work next year in the Eastern York School District

The changes are being mandated by the state and take effect next year, Eastern assistant superintendent Rita Becker told the school board at a recent meeting.

Most districts in the state are using an evaluation based on classroom observation. Becker said tenured teachers are evaluated once each school year. Teachers determined to be in need of support are evaluated more often.

Also, occasional "walkthroughs" are performed by the administration throughout the year.

Beginning next year, the state will require that only 50 percent of a teacher's effectiveness be determined by the evaluation. The remaining 50 percent will be based on building level data, teacher specific data and district elective data.

The building level data could include things such as PSSA scores, graduation rates and attendance.

The teacher specific data would use data regarding the progress students make; the elective data would be specific to each district, but could including national test results.

"What's most concerning right now is the unknown," Becker said.

Board member Richard Zepp agreed.

"Right now, it looks like there's at least 20 percent of this evaluation that is completely out of the teacher's control," he said. "For example, the teacher can't control the students' attendance. I'm not looking forward to this."

Added board member Jason Malone: "It's also very unclear how this will work with our staff that teaches gym or even music. It's going to be totally different."