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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Game plan for Lakewood, Dixie, Bogie, Gibbs



If you want a better sense of the changes in store for Pinellas County's four most struggling high schools, check out this recently submitted draft application. It's for a $3.04 million school improvement grant the district will get from the Florida Department of Education.

The draft outlines changes the district is promising to make (and the state expects it to make) to turn around Lakewood, Dixie, Boca Ciega and Gibbs high schools, all under state scrutiny this fall. Big chunks of the grant are set aside for professional development, new technology and teacher stipends for extended learning. A lot of ink is devoted to "high-quality educators" and "comprehensive instructional reform."

The application does not offer details about incentive pay and performance pay -- those programs are still being discussed -- but it says they'll be implemented in 2011-12.

Be forewarned: The tail end of the application offers a few charts that should be taken with many grains of salt.

They show the percentage of students who achieved learning gains under each teacher at the four schools. District officials say the information is preliminary and incomplete and has yet to be shared/audited by the teachers themselves, which it will be. The charts were included because the DOE required that something like them be in place for the application, but they are not intended to be used for placement, performance pay or other decisions.

The calculations are based on FCAT math and reading scores. In the case of teachers in other subject areas, the learning gains of students in their classrooms were used, for now, as a place holder. The district plans to eventually use school-wide learning gains for those teachers.

According to the application, the district will not retain teachers at those schools if they are not effective, which is "preliminarily defined as 65% of their students achieving learning gains on average over a three year period." It quickly offers this caveat: "For situations where coaches or teachers have not demonstrated significant student achievement increases, the individual can be considered for reassignment at the school through the demonstration of other data demonstrating effectiveness."


[Last modified: Monday, August 9, 2010 3:49pm]


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