Pasco school district to hire TNTP to support struggling Hudson Elementary
Hudson Elementary School, which has struggled under state and federal accountability standards since 2007, received its second consecutive F grade from the state this summer and, as a result, has fallen under more intense scrutiny from the Florida Department of Education.
To help Hudson improve, Pasco district leaders have decided to partner with TNTP, an organization founded by former DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. TNTP recently reviewed the district's transition to teaching the Common Core/Florida Standards, receiving criticism along the way for appearing to position itself for more business with the district.
In its new role, the organization is set to offer "support for leadership, building instructional capacity and direct teacher coaching," according to the Turnaround Option Plan document the district is providing to the state. It also will "assist with the visioning to develop an instructional culture that supports teachers in making necessary instructional changes so that all students have access to more rigorous content."
The district also plans to partner with other organizations, including American Reading Company (where former officials Amelia Larson and Chris Christoff now work), ReadyGen and Great Minds.
Superintendent Kurt Browning, who presents the Hudson plan to the State Board of Education next week, said he is using TNTP in an advisory capacity. New principal Dawn Scilex will have an opportunity to make her mark on the school, which has scored only D and F since 2010-11, he said, adding that only a handful of teachers who worked at Hudson last year are returning in the fall.
Expectations are high, he added, and parents and students must commit to the effort.
"I still say, until parents start spending time with their kids and engaging their kids at these (low performing) schools, getting them to school, making sure they get their work done, it's going to be tough to see changes at Hudson or any other (differentiated accountability) school," Browning said. "We cannot do it by ourselves."
Time is short, though, the superintendent added. If things haven't improved a year from now at Hudson, he said, "we'll be having a very different conversation."