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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough teachers in play: How many are there?

Tonya Kentish of Middleton High School is one of many reading coaches who attended Superintendent Jeff Eakins' teacher town hall meetings last fall. They spoke of their importance in helping teachers boost student reading skills.

ZACK WITTMAN | Times

Tonya Kentish of Middleton High School is one of many reading coaches who attended Superintendent Jeff Eakins' teacher town hall meetings last fall. They spoke of their importance in helping teachers boost student reading skills.

13

October

A reader asks: Just how many nonclassroom teachers are being eyed to fill teaching vacancies as cost-cutting continues in the Hillsborough County Schools?

We're waiting for more details, but some information is available in the district's payroll records.

We counted well over 1,000 such jobs in a spreadsheet compiled on Sept. 13, and the group has already shrunk since the 2015-16 school year (for example, the peer evaluator position no longer exists.)

But the 1,000-plus included some employee groups that have not been mentioned -- for example, media specialists, technology resource teachers, and approximately 175 people who work as teacher mentors, teachers on special assignment or the new position of teacher talent developers. Keep in mind that the district committed to providing school-based support for its teachers in the aftermath of the Gates reforms. By most accounts, that effort has been well received.

Looking strictly at district resource teachers, subject resource teachers, academic coaches, success coaches and academic intervention specialists, we counted approximately 650 employees. These included 127 district resource teachers and 205 reading coaches. As we reported earlier this year, Hillsborough had 31,300 students who tested at Level 1 on the English language arts portion of their Florida Standards Assessments.  In addition, 40 of the state's 317 elementary schools with the lowest reading scores are in Hillsborough - two charter, 38 district-run. So, as with other employee groups, the decisions will not come easily. And reading coaches were among the most outspoken when Superintendent Jeff Eakins hosted a series of teacher town hall meetings in late 2015.

It's not yet clear if funding sources - for example, if a position is paid from federal Title I dollars, meaning it does not affect the general fund balance - will be a factor when the stakeholder committee gets down to business.

We will continue to provide updates as information is available.

 

[Last modified: Thursday, October 13, 2016 9:17am]

    

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