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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough superintendent Elia helps Florida make its Race to the Top case



Elia_3 Did you know that Florida could choose only five people to represent the state in defense of its Race to the Top grant application, and Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia was one of them?

Elia joined Gov. Charlie Crist, education commissioner Eric J. Smith, K-12 chancellor Frances Haithcock and Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvahlo for the 30-minute presentation to a review committee on Tuesday.

Her role was much more than just to smile and wave.

"Each member of the team had a portion of the 30 minute time to present factors that they have had experience with," Elia told the Gradebook.

"Certainly, the commissioner and the chancellor, who are the major authors of it, presented part of it. The governor talked about the history of the reform and what has really brought us to the point where we are seeing the great effects of this long-term focus on improving education in the state. Then myself and the other superintendent Alberto Carvahlo presented experiences we had that related to the goals of the grant in our districts."

The district's efforts with performance pay, including its recently received Gates Foundation grant for teacher improvement, of course played an important part in Elia's comments.

Elia wouldn't guess whether Florida stands a good chance of getting the grant. (The state has requested more of the $4.35 billion fund than any other finalist.) She did say she hopes Florida gets the money, though.

"I think it will be very important to really add the necessary support to not only the state to develop the kinds of things that will support the districts, but to the districts. Fifty percent of the funding will go to te state for developing the infrastructure and the support and the statewide agenda that has to be part of it. But 50 percent will go into the districts that participate in it. I really hope that allows those districts to be able to focus their attention on whatever is necessary to get students moving, support teachers to make sure they are able to do the best they can for students."

More of the interview with Elia to come.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:54am]


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