Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas poised to empower schools

LARGO — After more than a year in the works, the Pinellas County School District is ready to implement a plan that it says will give principals, teachers and parents more say in how their schools are run.

Superintendent Julie Janssen told School Board members at a workshop Tuesday that more than 25 elementary, middle and high school principals are "chomping at the bit" to move to a system of "decentralized decisionmaking," formerly known as site-based management, as early as this fall.

The plan would shift many decisions, including how many teachers a school should hire, from the district to the schools. Principals would be required to collaborate with teachers, parents and community members in determining which academic programs would work best for their populations while staying within the boundaries of state and federal mandates.

"This is possibly the biggest change the school district has seen in decades," said board chairwoman Peggy O'Shea. "Decisions have always been driven from the top down. This is a chance to have the input come up from the schools."

Site-based management, first proposed by former superintendent Clayton Wilcox, became a key issue in both the superintendent search last summer and in School Board elections last fall. The plan under discussion at that time, championed by the Pinellas Education Foundation, was based on a system in place in the Okaloosa School District.

Janssen's revamped plan is based on one used by the Orange County School District with elements borrowed from schools in New York and Washington, D.C., that calls for more principal-teacher co-operation than the Okaloosa model.

The idea is to expand decentralized decision-making to all schools in the district using the first group of schools as a guide, Janssen told board members. But each school must decide for itself that it wants to go in that direction.

"If you don't have ownership it won't work," she said. "That is the key to this entire process."

Board member Janet Clark, a critic of the site-based management plan Wilcox introduced, said she's glad that Janssen has committed to continue working with principals over the summer to make sure they're ready for the added responsibility.

"My concern was that we were expecting too much too soon from them," Clark said. "Their main focus still needs to be curriculum and instruction."

Pinellas poised to empower schools 05/05/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 6:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show


    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.