Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teachers, district reach agreement on changes in evaluation process

As anticipated, representatives of the United School Employees of Pasco and the Pasco County School District have signed an agreement refining the teacher evaluation process to focus more on professional development, less on penalties.

Most notably, the deal eliminates the two structured classroom observations that had made up 65 percent of past evaluations, replacing them with a series of less formal classroom visits over time. Val Smith, the USEP lead negotiator, said the move would lead to a "more natural cycle of feedback" from administrators to teachers, with a goal of growth in their skills.

"We believe it's going to give teachers more opportunity to demonstrate their effectiveness," Smith added.

District employee relations director Kathy Scalise said the administration agreed with the USEP on that point. Everyone involved wanted to create a system less subject to the whims of the Legislature, she said, while also less focused on the negative aspects of what happens when a teacher doesn't hit all the marks.

The change should allow teachers with a consistent, steady and strong performance to potentially end their observations early in the year, Smith said. That would allow those teachers to spend more time on a chosen area where they would like to improve, called a "deliberate practice," she said.

At the same time, Scalise said, principals would also have more time to work with teachers who are newer to the profession, as well as coaching the veterans. She said administrators have long asked for time to do that work.

The sides also agreed to leave unchanged the student performance data piece of the evaluations, which counts as 35 percent of the overall result.

Although the one-year deal will not formally take effect until the School Board and the USEP membership approve it, the sides agreed to begin implementing it now "in anticipation of ratification," Scalise said. As a result, classroom observations will change immediately.

SCHOOL GRADES: Many of the schools across Florida that received "incomplete" letter grades for 2017 from the state have received updated ratings after a more thorough review of their testing results.

In Pasco County, seven saw no changes from their 2016 marks, while two improved and one did not have enough information to shed its "I." Each of those had to deal with data that originally showed they did not test a sufficient number of students.

Among those, Pasco eSchool and Pasco Virtual Instruction raised their grades to A's. Pasco, Gulf and Fivay high schools retained their C grades, and Ridgewood High and Florida Virtual Academy charter maintained their D grades.

The Irvin Education Center and Achieve Center, for students with behavior disabilities, received a "maintain" rating, while Schwettman Education Center was left with its "I."

One Pasco County school got an "incomplete" for a different reason — questions about "statistically improbable" outcomes on some of its student tests. An investigation into Trinity Oaks Elementary's fourth-grade math results remains under way. The state has not rendered any opinion on that school's grade yet.

REZONING: Pasco Circuit Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd is calling for quick final action in a west Pasco parent challenge of the school district's new middle and high school attendance zones.

Byrd refused to grant a temporary injunction against the maps, which the parents contended should be voided because of alleged private discussions by rezoning advisory committee members.

Her written order became available Aug. 25. In it, Byrd reiterated that, while Florida's Sunshine Law "serves an important public interest," the issuance of an injunction less than two weeks before students returned to classes did not serve the public interest.

The disruption, Byrd wrote, would be too great.

"Although the temporary injunction was denied for the 2017-18 school year, this Court recognizes that planning for the 2018-19 school year will begin in the near future," she continued. "As such, this Court is expediting this case to final resolution."

The judge ordered the sides to mediate the case within 20 days. If they cannot resolve their issues, she scheduled a case management conference for Sept. 12 to set a date for a final hearing on the matter.

The School Board has set aside time for a closed-door discussion of the case for Sept. 5.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at (813) 909-4614 or [email protected] Follow @jeffsolochek.

Teachers, district reach agreement on changes in evaluation process 08/29/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 6:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena


    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack


    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath


    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.