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Lerner: Board should have received DOE professional development report



Pinellas school board member Linda Lerner said she did not know about the state's recent report on Pinellas' professional development programs, but should have been told about it by the district. She said she had "major concerns that we didn't have it" and "major concerns about what's in it."

"I think (the report) is a big deal," she told The Gradebook. "Professional development is certainly a major initiative that Dr. Janssen came in saying she was going to work on. Even if she hadn't said that, it's a large part of improving the system and doing what's right for our educators and our support staff."

The review, conducted last fall and released a few months ago, was posted on The Gradebook Thursday.

It gave the district high marks in many areas, but low marks in others, including the development and training of principals and the gauging of the impact of professional development on student performance. The latter issue has been in the spotlight in recent months, as board members and others have questioned the effectiveness of the teacher training programs led by the University of Florida's Lastinger Center and championed by Janssen.

Lerner pointed out the review, while mandated by the state, was carried out by officials from other school districts, not the DOE. "If it had only been DOE people coming in, I would have been more skeptical," she said. She said it pointed to shortcomings that should have been met with a district plan to deal with them.

But as far as she knew, the district had not done that, she said: "If that plan was in place, we would have seen it."

The DOE sent us additional reports Monday that might help put the most recent Pinellas findings in context. Attached below are the two previous reviews of PD in Pinellas, one from 2004 and the other from 2007. Also attached are the most recent PD reviews for the Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando school districts.

A DOE spokesperson offered a cautionary note: "The professional development evaluation protocol standards were revised during the 2009-2010 school year, so the reports of the other districts will not be entirely comparable to the third cycle (2010) Pinellas report. Hillsborough, Pasco, and Hernando have not yet been reviewed using the current standards."

The school board will discuss the Lastinger program at a workshop Thursday. It's scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., in the Cabinet conference room in the administration building.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 6:37am]


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