The Gloucester County School Board voted Nov. 12 not to extend the three-year probationary period required for teachers to be issued continuing contracts. School division administrators had suggested the change would provide more mentoring time for new teachers when their supervisors believed it was needed.
The Virginia General Assembly amended the three-year requirement to give school divisions the option to keep teachers on probationary status for up to five years. The policy change considered by the board would have allowed a probationary period of up to four years, and required that teachers on the extended probation be given specific expectations for improvement.
The proposed policy change, which was opposed by the Gloucester Education Association, was rejected in a 5-2 vote with only board members Ann Burruss and Carla Hook voting for the probation extension.
“I think when we’re given this type of flexibility we should take it,” said Hook, adding that she did not think the proposed change was threatening to teachers. Burruss, a retired educator, said she has never felt the continuing contract was necessary.