Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough prepares for big shift on teacher evaluations

TAMPA — Be prepared for some hard conversations.

That was the advice Tuesday from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation officials, as the Hillsborough County School District finishes its first year of rating teachers under a tough new evaluation system.

Teachers might call to complain about big drops in their final scores, program officer Ky Vu told School Board members. Some might be fearing for their jobs.

"And they start saying, 'Okay, I don't agree with this, I don't think that the district is justified in either letting me go or putting me on a performance development plan,' " he said at an update meeting. "It's imperative for the district and you to think about how to manage that well."

It's a big change for a district that has typically rated 99.5 percent of all teachers satisfactory, and one-third as perfect. Hillsborough is using its $100 million Gates grant to change those numbers over seven years, tying teacher pay directly to student performance in the classroom and on standardized tests.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia said tough meetings have been going on all year as principals and peer evaluators help teachers rise to the challenge.

"Right now people are talking to (some) teachers and saying, 'This is what we are seeing, and I don't know if this is the right career for you,' " she said. " 'Are you going to do the things that need to be done so that we can help support a growth in your professional life?' "

Board members say they've already gotten some calls.

"At first, there was anxiety," said April Griffin, describing one conversation with a teacher. "In working with her evaluator and principal, it worked itself out."

Board member Candy Olson voiced worries about the long hours principals are spending observing teachers. Some have less time for the things that make schools run smoothly, such as connecting with kids in the cafeteria or chatting with parents before school, she said.

"I hope we're not burning people out," added board member Jack Lamb.

Elia said some of those stresses come with learning a new system. It will be worth it if teachers can be helped to improve, rather than being shoved out the door.

"They all want to get better, and we're helping them to do that," Elia said.

Vu said Hillsborough's success at working through problems with its teachers' union has set it apart from other reform efforts. And the Gates Foundation has high hopes to replicate its model across the nation.

But he said states or districts are making a mistake if they think it's possible to legislate such changes without focusing on how to make it stick.

"That takes a lot of training," Vu said. "I don't think you can just assume it's going to happen."

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

Hillsborough prepares for big shift on teacher evaluations 04/19/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 9:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Entrance lanes close on eastbound I-4 in Plant City following semi crash

    Accidents

    An eastbound entrance lane to Interstate 4 is blocked Tuesday morning following a semi crash, according to broadcast reports.

  2. Gov. Rick Scott could soon be the all-time king of line-item veto

    Blogs

    2016: $256,144,027

    2015: $461,387,164

    2014: $68,850,121

    2013: $367,950,394

    2012: $142,752,177

    2011: $615,347,550

    Only once has Scott used the line-item veto sparingly. That was in 2014, the year he ran for re-election, when he removed a paltry $69 million from the budget.

    Gov. Rick Scott waves a veto pen at The Villages in 2011.
  3. Rays morning after: An up-and down day for Jose De Leon

    Blogs

    Rays RHP Jose De Leon had a busy Monday - getting called up to join the Rays for the first time and making his way from Pawtucket, R.I., to Boston and the flying to Texas, working 2 2/3 eventful innings to get the W in the 10-8 victory over the Rangers, and then getting optioned back to Triple-A.

    Jose De Leon follows through in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on May 29, 2017.
  4. Resignation of communications director Dubke could signal more changes within White House staff

    National

    WASHINGTON — Mike Dubke has resigned as White House communications director, a senior administration official confirmed Tuesday, in the first of what could be a series of changes to President Trump's senior staff amid the growing Russia scandal.

    President Donald Trump speaks at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 29, 2017, during a Memorial Day ceremony. [Associated Press]
  5. Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day

    National

    ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald Trump expressed the nation's "boundless" gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

    Brittany Jacobs, left, watches as her 6-year-old son Christian Jacobs meets President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Arlington, Va. Jacobs father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, was killed in 2011. [Associated Press]