Monday, June 25, 2018
Education

Pinellas County School District survey rankles employees

For the third year in a row, there are issues with the Pinellas County School District's annual "climate survey," which gives thousands of employees a chance to anonymously say what they think about their bosses and work environment.

A new, improved survey was emailed to district employees last week, but some groups of teachers were left out. Meanwhile, many other employees are grumbling that they did not have time to respond because the district gave them one day to do so, as opposed to many days in the past.

The criticism led teachers union president Kim Black to raise the issue with superintendent John Stewart, which apparently prompted a followup email to employees from the district's research and accountability department.

The email says an initial analysis shows a response rate of 36 percent this year with the one-day window, compared with 38 percent last year with a 17-day window. "We are seeing strong indications that the processes we had implemented were in the right direction," wrote Behrokh Ahmadi, the district's director for program evaluation.

But Black said it is still wrong that many employees did not have the opportunity to participate.

"Every employee matters," she said.

The district email noted the latest survey is shorter and "more polished" than past surveys. It says the one-day window "is a valuable strategy used for survey data collection."

The district also explains that art and music teachers were inadvertently left out because they are coded differently than other employees in the same school. "This is something we are aware of in our data collection and will correct for next year," Ahmadi wrote.

District officials scrapped the survey in 2010, but reversed course a week later after the decision was written about in the Gradebook, the Tampa Bay Times' education blog, and at least a couple of School Board members weighed in.

Nearly the same thing happened again last spring. Superintendent Julie Janssen initially told the board she didn't plan to do the survey because it was inadequate. But board members later directed her to carry it out until a better survey could be created.

Comments
Next step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

Next step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

TAMPA — As chief of diversity for the Hillsborough County School District, Minerva Spanner-Morrow tries to keep her expectations realistic. "We want the best of the best and I know that’s very difficult," she told principals last week as...
Updated: 3 hours ago
USF student, veteran and reservist wins a Pat Tillman Scholarship

USF student, veteran and reservist wins a Pat Tillman Scholarship

TAMPA — The Pat Tillman Foundation has named Stephanie Bauman, a University of South Florida student and member of the U.S. Army Reserve, a 2018 Tillman Military Scholar.Bauman is one of 60 military service veterans and military spouses from across t...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

BROOKSVILLE — With dust still settling from the Hernando County School Board’s close vote to fire Superintendent Lori Romano — and days before her time as head of the district runs out — school officials and community members seem to be already movin...
Published: 06/20/18
Hernando students score slightly better on state tests

Hernando students score slightly better on state tests

BROOKSVILLE — As schools and districts across the state await their 2018 grades from the Florida Department of Education, the standardized test scores that factor into those ratings and were dropped last week show slight gains in Hernando County.The ...
Published: 06/20/18
Budget analysis projects deficit, deepened by security costs, for Pasco schools in coming year

Budget analysis projects deficit, deepened by security costs, for Pasco schools in coming year

An early analysis of the Pasco County School District’s 2018-2019 budget projects a deficit of more than a million dollars, with more than half of that coming from a shortfall in funding new school safety requirements.Costs to hire and train 53 new s...
Published: 06/20/18
New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

ST. PETERSBURG — Originally pitched as a nine- or 10-story, 550-bed dorm for the overcrowded University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, USF’s latest residence hall project will likely look much different by the time it’s done.For starters, it...
Published: 06/20/18
Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Am I missing something in the — pardon the expression — brouhaha over the renaming of the University of South Florida Sun Dome to the Yuengling Center? In trading a college arena’s longtime name for that of a big-name beer brewed ne...
Published: 06/20/18

Hillsborough school district will pursue two kinds of local taxes

TAMPA — Hillsborough County School District officials took an important step Tuesday toward asking the voters to pay higher taxes for schools that, they say, are not getting enough money from the state.The board voted 5-0 to submit a tax referendum r...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
STEM camp beats the summer doldrums for some Pasco students

STEM camp beats the summer doldrums for some Pasco students

DADE CITY —Just a few weeks into summer vacation, Pasco Middle School student Jade Neal, 14, was back at school, delving into a challenging STEM activity on force in motion, as the theme to Mission Impossible played in the background.The assignment? ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Editor’s note: Ethan Hooper wrote today’s column to give Ernest Hooper Father’s Day off.In May, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in elementary education, and I recently secured a job as a first-grade teacher with Orang...
Published: 06/18/18