Princeton Charter School
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Subsections


Charter School Staff

Certification

Princeton Charter School teachers, supervisors, and professional support staff will hold appropriate New Jersey certification. The Head of School will hold a New Jersey Supervisor certificate. The school may request the Commissioner of Education to expedite through the alternate route program the certification of persons qualified to teach by education and experience. Beyond the guarantee of professional preparation offered by certification, Princeton Charter School will seek professional staff who are in agreement with and committed to the mission, goals, and educational approach of the school, as outlined in this document. After receipt of its charter and completion of the hiring process, the Princeton Charter School will submit certificates of newly hired teachers, administrators, and professional support staff as an addendum to this application.

Staff Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the faculty of Princeton Charter School to teach the school curriculum and support the goals and objectives of the school. The teachers are expected to meet the curriculum goals, to provide a challenging yet supportive learning environment in the classroom, and to be sensitive to the individual learning needs and styles of the children. It is the teachers' responsibility to communicate with parents about any relevant classroom matter.

The classroom teacher is responsible for maintaining in the classroom a pleasant and disciplined climate that is conducive to learning and stimulates students' curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. The teacher is expected to exhibit the highest level of professional and social behavior in the classroom.

Specific staff responsibilities include but are not limited to those listed below.

The responsibilities of the PCS teachers are to:
  1. support the mission and goals of Princeton Charter School;
  2. teach the PCS curriculum;
  3. ensure mastery of grade-level knowledge, content, and skills for all students through consistent teaching practices and individual tutoring when appropriate;
  4. provide appropriate enrichment materials and individual tutoring when appropriate;
  5. create a challenging yet supportive school atmosphere that encourages academic achievement by all students;
  6. maintain classroom discipline;
  7. communicate in a timely fashion with parents and/or PCS Head about any relevant classroom matters and students' performance;
  8. provide collegial support to other PCS staff members;
  9. participate in staff development programs; and
  10. serve on ad hoc advisory committees to the PCS Board of Trustees.
The responsibilities of the PCS aides are to:
  1. support the mission and goals of Princeton Charter School;
  2. assist classroom teachers and the Head of School;
  3. help maintain classroom discipline;
  4. support an atmosphere conducive to learning; and
  5. monitor students during non-instructional activities.
The responsibilities of the PCS Head of School are to:
  1. support the mission and goals of Princeton Charter School;
  2. create a challenging yet supportive school atmosphere that encourages academic achievement by all students;
  3. participate in evaluating students' progress and in assessing needs for special programs;
  4. supervise teachers and other staff;
  5. serve as a mentor to the teachers and other staff.
  6. provide recommendations to the Board of Trustees on hiring or promoting teachers and other staff;
  7. provide administrative services;
  8. supervise school budget;
  9. evaluate the adherence of the PCS program to its charter;
  10. serve as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees; and
  11. communicate in a timely fashion with parents and teachers about any relevant classroom matters and students' performance.
The responsibilities of the PCS administrative/clerical staff are to:
  1. support the mission and goals of Princeton Charter School;
  2. assist the PCS Head of School;
  3. perform standard administrative and clerical tasks; and
  4. maintain records and assist with reporting.

Tenure Guidelines

PCS will follow the legal requirements for employee tenure as specified in the Charter Law. Within the first three years of employment, the Board has the right to decide not to renew an employee.

Decisions for renewal or nonrenewal will be based on the level of performance of the employee, assessed partially on the basis of observations and evaluations conducted by supervisors, but also on the basis of other indicators such as student progress, professional competence and responsibility, sensitivity to students' needs, ability to work harmoniously with other members of the teaching staff, and relationship with parents.

PCS has an obligation to employ the educational staff best trained and equipped to meet the educational needs of the children. It shall meet this obligation by retaining only those non-tenured individuals who meet the highest standards of performance. PCS employees, once tenured, are expected to continue to perform their duties in a consistently superior manner.

All teaching staff members as well as non-professional staff, who are either newly employed in the school or who are employed in the school while on leave from the Princeton Regional School District, shall acquire streamlined tenure as described in Appendix A of the New Jersey Department of Education Charter Schools Application.

Dismissals of tenured employees, if required, will be according to the arbitration procedures described in Appendix A, ``Streamline Tenure'', of the Charter Schools Application.

Justification for Alternate Route Certification

Each teacher's professional competence is essential to the academic success of students. PCS is committed to hire the most qualified professionals, who are highly competent in their subject matter; such teachers combine the often separated functions of curriculum specialist and outstanding teacher. While many such teachers will emerge from the traditional certification process, many natural teachers with superb subject credentials do not. For this reason PCS intends to tap the widest talent pool possible in its recruiting efforts. If it is not possible to hire exceptional certified teachers who are simultaneously highly competent in the subject they are certified to teach, PCS will hire qualified individuals who will obtain alternate route certification. PCS may ask the New Jersey Commissioner of Education to waive the time limit for course work, or to waive the course work requirement for teachers with five years of experience in an accredited school, or otherwise to adjust the alternate route certification requirements in order to expedite the certification of persons who are qualified by education and experience.

Hiring Standards and Criteria

PCS believes that the quality of the professional staff determines the quality of education offered in the school. It is therefore the responsibility of the school administration to locate and recruit the best qualified candidates to meet the school's educational needs. Candidates may include persons qualified to pursue the alternate method of certification.

Staff selection shall be based on strong academic preparation, professional competence, intellectual rigor, emotional maturity, enthusiastic professional attitude, knowledge of instructional practices, and ability to contribute to the furtherance of the school's educational goals. Attention shall be paid, among other factors, to the candidate's academic records, and his/her previous relevant experience. Staff must demonstrate that they are aware that children have many different family circumstances and that they are willing and able to provide the educational support that a diverse student population needs in school.

The PCS teaching staff members must fulfill their individual responsibilities and work in concert with the other members of the teaching team.

The Administration of the school will be responsible for advertising available jobs and soliciting applications from qualified candidates. A search committee of Administrators, teachers and parents (and, when appropriate, outside experts) will screen all applicants and make recommendations from the candidate pool and possibly interview a small subset of candidates.

The Administration will recommend to the PCS Board one or more candidates for hiring. The Administration shall nominate only candidates who meet the qualifications required by law or are eligible to meet such qualifications. It is the Administration's responsibility to obtain a criminal history check of all school employees and to obtain proof of citizenship or eligible alien status.

PCS is committed to hire the individuals who are best qualified for the job without regard to race, sex, religion or handicap unrelated to the job. PCS will adhere to relevant New Jersey laws in its hiring practices.

By a majority of votes, the Board shall approve employment and the initial salary. The figure for the initial salary will depend on the academic degrees of the employee and on his/her previous professional experience.

The salary scale of Princeton Charter School will be developed by the Princeton Charter School Board. Employee benefits will include Social Security (7.65%), unemployment compensation, and other benefits required by law or regulation. PCS intends to include individual health care coverage as part of the benefits package for full-time employees. The details of this health care coverage, and the amounts provided by the employee and the school will be determined by the Princeton Charter School Board prior to the onset of hiring.

Employment Contracts

The terms of employment for teaching, administrative, and support staff of Princeton Charter School will be determined by contracts negotiated within the parameters of relevant New Jersey statutes. PCS faculty and staff will be required to enter into individual term employment agreements resembling those used in business but explicitly stating that all requirements of the Charter Law are made part of the agreement. Teaching staff may be obligated to provide services during the PCS academic year, in-service days, or during the entire year depending upon their role in the school. The agreement affirms that any materials created by staff members for use by PCS, or produced using the staff or resources of the school, are works-for-hire and all intellectual property rights are vested in the school.

A majority vote of the PCS Board of Trustees shall be required to terminate the employment of any PCS faculty or staff member. Any dismissal is also subject to applicable Charter Law provisions, specifically the arbitration procedures described in Appendix A, ``Streamline Tenure,'' of the Charter Schools Application guide.

Professional Development Opportunities

Among the guarantors of student achievement are high teacher motivation and quality professional development opportunities. Princeton Charter School seeks out professional opportunities which emphasize both content and pedagogy, help teachers develop leadership roles, and include contact with practitioners and researchers as well as other teachers. For example, the National Geographic Society supports a range of programs for teachers through the National Geographic Alliance. In New Jersey, EIRC runs these Alliance programs in geography, educational leadership, and educational technology. EIRC also provides in-service workshops that introduce geographic content, provide guided practice in effective teaching strategies, and acquaint teachers with geography teaching materials. Further examples are the Quest program at Princeton University on mathematics and science for teachers of grades 3-6, and institutes held by or supported by the National Science Foundation's Teacher Enhancement Program. Rutgers University, Rider University, and the College of New Jersey also provide many professional development opportunities for teachers.

In addition to specific training opportunities, programs which put teachers into contact with community resources will be pursued. An example of such a resource is Sigma Xi, a science society which forms a partnership between the school and a scientist, who then works with the school's staff members.

Staff Evaluation

The Board of Trustees evaluates the Head of School who in turn evaluates and supervises the rest of the School's staff.

As part of the evaluation procedure, the Board of Trustees specifies clearly defined criteria for performance review. These criteria include 1) commitment to the PCS mission and goals, 2) high level of professionalism, 3) high level of accomplishment, and 4) effective participation in the PCS team. The Board of Trustees also specifies tools to be used in the evaluation process. Such tools may include written evaluations based on classroom observations and comparisons of the students' performance on major assessments specified by the PCS curriculum in each grade. Special contributions by the PCS staff to the School's program will also be an element in the performance review.

PCS will provide the staff with professional improvement opportunities that include participation in professional development programs and attendance at professional conferences, when appropriate. PCS will also foster collegial interactions among the staff members to ensure that the staff works effectively as a team.

 




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