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School Board

HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

901 E. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session January 6, 2015, at 1 p.m., in the Staff Conference Room, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent MaryEllen Elia and Board Members Doretha W. Edgecomb, April Griffin, Sally Harris, Carol Kurdell, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present.  Chair Valdes presided.

Others present:
General Counsel – Tom Gonzalez
School Board Attorney – Jim Porter
Deputy Superintendents – Jeff Eakins and Cathy Valdes
Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs: 
  • Curriculum and Instruction – Wynne Tye
  • Facilities – Chris Farkas
  • Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford
Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Patti McBride
News Media Representatives:
Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol
Approximately 24 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Valdes called the workshop to order at 1 p.m. and made brief comments regarding the afternoon workshop.

(1)Termination Hearing Workshop: Structures in Place to Support Struggling Teachers (Human Resources Division)

This workshop was held to provide an overview of the district’s procedures for supporting struggling teachers, and to provide data on teacher improvement.

Stephanie Woodford and Dena Collins made brief remarks regarding the assistance in place to support struggling teachers.
Kristen Davis, teacher at Springhead Elementary School discussed her evaluation and the assistance (improvements) provided by principal Ann Rushing.  She knew she would make it with the support she had received from the principal and assistant principal – brainstorming together, positive reinforcement, and the fact she wanted to do better.  Absorbed the feedback she received for the benefit of her students.

The following principals attended the workshop to discuss various ways they work to assist their teachers:
  • Ken Hart – Alonso High School (formerly principal at Monroe Middle School)
  • Van Ayres – Jefferson High School
  • Johnathan Grantham – Turner Bartels K-8
  • Rick Grayest – Clair Mel Elementary School

Principals want to improve the quality of instruction in the classroom and are very accountable – they feel this system is working; it is not perfect, but far better.  This is the best evaluation tool they have seen to measure student learning, and to help students achieve – Rubric is consistent across the board; also, criteria included to help look at guidance counselor different from teacher. Owe it to staff to give them all the resources and tools to make them effective.

For teachers that don’t respond, it is usually due to a complete lack of cooperation, attention to action plan; some teachers don’t belong in front of the students, but may make excellent assistant teachers (not everyone can be a teacher, just like with other jobs).

Stephanie Woodford discussed the "ownership” of the plan, which belongs to the teacher, not the principal – teachers get to pick the Planning Team for assistance plans – makes huge difference.
Dena Collins oversees implementation plan – she discussed types of assistance available and what happens when she receives call for assistance.  She distributed an example of a Teacher Assistance Plan that had been filled out.  Human Resources role is to provide feedback and support to principals, so at the end of day teachers are teaching and students are learning.
Board members discussed their frustration with the Double "U” (state law restrictions). Termination hearings for employees in the cue with Double U evaluations are on hold until decision is made by court direction.  At the time of this workshop, there were less than two percent of teachers that have one "U.”  In the cue for termination hearings are three from last year, and one from this year.  

Safety net in place to assist teachers receiving the first "U”, so they don’t receive the second one.  If there is an allegation that an evaluation was violated (process not followed, eval not complete, etc.), than teacher can go before the Board for hearing.  

Data regarding the district’s teacher retention rate was requested and will be provided to the Board. 

Chair Valdes thanked everyone for attending the workshop.  With no further discussion, the workshop adjourned at 3:10 p.m.  (Audio recording on file.)

HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

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