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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough to suspend five teachers over performance



Five teachers are up for suspension in Hillsborough County for performance reasons, according to an agenda posted for Tuesday's School Board meeting.

That's one more than this time last year, but still far fewer than what was first predicted under Empowering Effective Teachers, the Gates-funded teacher evaluation program.

The teacher's contract allows the district to dismiss teachers after two consecutive "unsatisfactory" ratings. They will be suspended without pay. If the superintendent then moves to fire them, they can request termination hearings. Four are elementary school teachers; the fifth teaches middle school.

In its 2009 proposal to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the district predicted it would dismiss five percent of its teaching staff - hundreds of teachers - every year. But administrators retreated from that prediction before the grant was even implemented.

Instead of mass firings, they have offered mentoring to new teachers and extra observation sessions to those who are struggling. In some cases, teachers are encouraged to leave if it appears they will not be able to meet expectations.

The $100-million Gates grant, matched by the district, extends through 2017.

[Last modified: Thursday, January 16, 2014 2:56pm]


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