The Washington Teacher blog has posted a link to a 17-page memo sent recently from Jesus Aguirre, the D.C Public Schools’ director of school operations, to all DCPS principals, laying out Chancellor Michelle Rhee‘s guidelines for the impending “reduction in force” she says is necessary because of budget constraints (in the real world, “RIF” means layoffs).

So how will the layoffs go down?

According to the memo, principals have already identified on a “Budget Reduction Worksheet” the positions they plan to eliminate; this week, they’re going through the elaborate – and time-consuming – process of rating each person who holds one of those positions (not all of them will be let go). Principals do this at a previously scheduled appointment at the Office of Human Resources, where they are given a laptop and encouraged to rely on notes and “supporting documentation.”

Using a scale of zero to 10, principals must rate each potential RIF employee according to the following criteria: 1. “Office or school needs” (75 percent of the total score) 2. “Significant relevant contributions, accomplishments or performance” (10 percent) and 3. “Relevant supplemental experience demonstrated on the job” (10 percent). Human Resources adds a “Length of service” calculation as well (5 percent).

Principals then prepare a detailed narrative to support the scores. (A sample narrative for Jane Doe: “Doe has consistently underperformed for the five years she has worked at Gibbs Elementary and does not address the needs of our school. While I expected to have a fresh start with her this school year, she immediately began the school year with a very negative attitude. Ms. Doe arrived late for three of the five days of the teacher training week.”)

Here’s the “Notifying staff members who are being separated” part:

  • Human Resources will use your ratings, add the length of service calculation, and then issue a final ranking for all employees within the competitive level being reduced or eliminated
  • Based on this final ranking, Human Resources will generate a notice for each employee being separated
  • Human Resources will deliver these notices to you one business day before you are to deliver them to the employees
  • On the date printed on the notice, you should call the employee to your office after school, hand them the notice, and ask them to sign for it on the signature line that Human Resources will provide to you
  • Return signed signature pages to your staffing specialist
  • Please feel free to contact the Director of School Operations if there are unique security issues that you believe need to be addressed
  • Human Resources will also FedEx the notice to the impacted employees

Teachers are protesting the layoffs (and the evaluation system) at a 4:30 p.m. rally today outside DCPS central offices.