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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas retreat to focus on teacher professional development



Pinellas superintendent Julie Janssen and about 30 other district employees will be attending a retreat in Clearwater Beach on Friday and Saturday to keep the ball rolling on an overhaul of the district's professional development system for teachers. (Click here to see the agenda.)

The district has partnered with the Lastinger Center at the University of Florida to come up with a system that it hopes will be a national model. Eight teachers and four principals will be among those meeting with UF officials at the Hyatt Regency, beginning at noon Friday and going until 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

(UF is sponsoring the retreat. District spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said there is no cost to the district.)

Both the state's differentiated accountability system and the federal Race to the Top fund are pushing stronger links between professional development, teacher evaluations and student performance. But Jan Roland, the district's director of human resources/professional development, said a revamped system has been a big part of Janssen's vision for the district from the get-go.

"Our goal is to retain a highly effective teacher in every classroom," Roland told the Gradebook. "Our feeling is we can do a little better job providing them better tools."

It's still early in the process. So Pinellas has not zeroed in on any models or offered any timelines, Roland said. Among the questions that retreat participants will consider:

* What are the gaps and shortcomings of the current system?

* What are the near-term strategic opportunities to improve the system immediately?

* How can resources be amassed, leveraged and expended differently to support a revamped system?

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:51am]


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