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Gates-inspired training system for Hillsborough teachers on board agenda

TAMPA — Hillsborough County teachers will soon get their first glimpse of a new evaluation system that will help determine whether they earn tenure or merit pay.

The School Board is due to vote today on an $360,000 online training course for the evaluation system that the district has adopted as part of its reforms with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Every teacher in the district will be rated this fall under the new system. Principals and peer evaluators will each be responsible for 30 percent of that rating, with student performance over three years comprising the remaining 40 percent.

Within a month or so, teachers will be able to see for themselves how that system works in real life. The optional, six-hour online course by national teacher evaluation expert Charlotte Danielson includes an overview and video clips from actual classrooms where similar evaluations have been used.

"We're going to make it available online for teachers," said spokesman Stephen Hegarty.

Money for the course will come from existing federal Title II funds for teacher training.

Also on the agenda at the 3 p.m. meeting is a $3.2 million contract with Cambridge Education to train peer evaluators in the new system this summer. The money will come from the $100 million Gates grant.

Six hundred sixty-three teachers have applied for around 116 spots as evaluators, Hegarty said. Some will serve as mentors with new teachers, and others will work with a larger group of veteran teachers as peer evaluators.

They will serve for two or three years and receive $5,000 pay supplements.

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3400.

Gates-inspired training system for Hillsborough teachers on board agenda 03/08/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 8, 2010 11:56pm]
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