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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Here's the final 'Failure Factories' teacher transfer count



Pinellas County school district officials agree: this first week of school has been one of the smoothest in recent memory. And at Tuesday's School Board workshop, the district's director of school transformation, Antonio Burt, attributed some of that success in the district's most struggling schools to a full staff roster.

After transferring 114 teachers who either "opted-out" voluntarily or who were transferred by their principal to another school and holding four job fairs to replace those teachers, there are no teacher vacancies left at those schools.

Lakewood Elementary's staff hemorrhaged the most, with three out of every four teachers switched out. Only 11 teachers out of a staff of 43 returned to Lakewood from last school year. Melrose Elementary lost half its staff, with 23 transferred out of the 46 teachers needed this school year.

Twenty-six teachers transferred out of Fairmount Park Elementary out of a staff of 61, Maximo Elementary kept 27 teachers from last year's staff out of the 44 teachers needed for this year, and Campbell Park Elementary retained the most teachers from last year after 16 teachers out of 59 left.

Burt on Tuesday said staffing the schools to their capacity by the start of school was a "huge win." There's a "master teacher" with a proven track record of academic performance at every school, and deputy superintendent Bill Corbett added that the number of first-year teachers in those schools is "far fewer than last year.”

Burt said each school had its own retreat to discuss the school's vision for the 2016-17 school year.

Board member Krassner expressed concerns about the teacher transfer process. She said teachers have "all this anxiety" worrying about their employment at the end of every school year.

“I don't know what you can build then to give a little bit more security if they were good enough to get there," Krassner said. "To just really make sure they’re surrounded on a good strong team where there is good support for planning and reviewing data and it’s not just a 'gotcha' thing.“

Burt said the district is providing positive reinforcement and will work with the district's communication team to improve teacher morale.

"We want to change the narrative where teachers really feel proud of where they’re working back and their profession," he said. "I think you’ll see more teachers feel really proud about their profession and their individual school in the 2016-17 school year."

Burt said crews came into the schools to pressure clean breezeways, deep-clean the carpets and paint the walls so teachers would have a "renewed feeling and fresh feel and more energy to go that extra mile into the classroom."

The Pinellas teacher's union is also funding half of a position to analyze student data and provide support for teachers.

Burt also has a seventh school to oversee: Midtown Academy. Midtown is the district's newest school, which was previously known as a charter school called University Preparatory Academy that faced termination after receiving its third F grade from the state. The school will be a district application program, or magnet school, come January.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 5:10pm]


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