LITHIA — Newsome High School teacher Joseph Thomas was taken off suspension Tuesday in a compromise that ended the first public act of resistance against the Hillsborough County School District’s Empowering Effective Teachers project.
“I’m back at school tomorrow,” said Thomas, who teaches social studies.
The 18-year veteran had refused to meet with a peer evaluator whose background was mostly in elementary school. On Tuesday he agreed to be observed by both the original evaluator and one with experience teaching 8th grade.
Empowering Effective Teachers, funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has helped Hillsborough attain national prominence in the education reform movement.
Teachers are evaluated by several sources -- peers, principals, and a data component that includes test scores. Previously, the principal or assistant principal performed the entire evaluation.
Eventually the new ratings system will be used to determine pay and career paths. In addition, peer mentors are assigned to help teachers improve.
A new state law requires all other districts to develop performance pay systems as well.