Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas schools chief revamps teacher training partnership with University of Florida's Lastinger Center

Interim Pinellas schools superintendent John Stewart is upending one of his predecessor's biggest projects, a 4-year-old teacher training partnership with the University of Florida that was billed as the "new Gatorade."

Stewart said Friday that he and officials with UF's Lastinger Center for Learning agreed to immediately reshape the venture, which is contracted through the rest of the school year. He said he did not plan to spend district money on it next year.

"I am confident that we will be successful not only in using our resources more wisely going forward," he told School Board members in an e-mail, but in offering better training, too.

The board voted unanimously in August to extend the contracts after an intense debate over the program's effectiveness.

Some experts say the program, which is being used in a handful of districts, is promising. It is also popular with many teachers. But studies to gauge its impact on student achievement are several years from completion.

"I feel like it's the right call," said board member Terry Krassner. "The accountability piece and the data piece were missing from Lastinger. That was troubling to me."

Board member Peggy O'Shea said she needs to hear more before she passes judgment but said she didn't "think the board needs to micromanage this."

Lastinger director Don Pemberton said the center often adjusts its partnerships to meet the needs of new superintendents.

Former superintendent Julie Janssen made Lastinger a mainstay of her efforts to revitalize teacher training. The program was designed to help a handful of teachers in high-poverty schools earn master's degrees and to help a broader group of teachers learn an "inquiry-based" approach to tackling problems.

Since 2007, Pinellas has spent $3.7 million on the effort, with most of the money coming from state and federal grants. UF and the Helios Foundation have chipped in another $2.8 million.

A portion of the Pinellas-Lastinger partnership, involving Helios and focused on math and science teachers, will remain intact, Pemberton said. It's set to continue through 2014.

Ron Matus can be reached at or (727) 893-8873.

Pinellas schools chief revamps teacher training partnership with University of Florida's Lastinger Center 10/07/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 8, 2011 12:15am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida education news: Athletic trainers, signing bonuses, student vaccinations and more


    SAFETY FIRST: Pasco County school district leaders decide to retain high school athletic trainers, which had been slated for elimination, amid pleas from …

  2. Rays morning after: Why Alex Cobb was out of the game and Alex Colome was in


    Alex Cobb obviously did a really good job pitching the first eight innings for the Rays on Tuesday.

    So why didn't manager Kevin Cash let him pitch the ninth?

    Because he had Alex Colome available to do so.

    Cobb had thrown only 98 pitches, so workload and fatigue were not factors.

  3. Police commander among 6 charged in deadly 1989 UK soccer deaths


    LONDON — British prosecutors charged six people Wednesday in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster where 96 soccer fans were crushed to death.

    Police, stewards and supporters tend and care for wounded supporters on the pitch at Hillsborough Stadium, in Sheffield, England, on April 15, 1989. British prosecutors on Wednesday June 28, 2017, are set to announce whether they plan to lay charges in the deaths of 96 people in the Hillsborough stadium crush _ one of Britain's worst-ever sporting disasters. [Associated Press]
  4. Supreme Court term ended much different than it began


    BC-US—Supreme Court, 1st Ld-Writethru,899

    AP Photo WX109

    People visit the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017, as justices issued their final rulings for the term, in Washington.  The Supreme Court began its term nine months ago with Merrick Garland nominated to the bench, Hillary Clinton favored to be the next president, and the court poised to be controlled by Democratic appointees for the first time in 50 years.  Things looked very different when the justices wrapped up their work this week. [Associated Press]
  5. SPC's Bill Law leaves with pride for the faculty, concern for students — and a story about hotdogs


    ST. PETERSBURG — The local community college had already made a name for itself when William Law Jr. first arrived on campus in the early 1980s as a vice president. Still, the school, then named St. Petersburg Junior College, was just a shadow of the sprawling state college it would later become.

    Bill Law, outgoing St. Petersburg College president, said he is proud of the college cultivating stronger relationships with the community.