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Pasco School Board suspends five teachers

LAND O'LAKES — A Pasco County elementary school teacher faces sanctions for reported violations of FCAT rules.

Cynthia Moyers was suspended without pay on Tuesday while officials investigate allegations that she helped her Anclote Elementary School fourth-graders beyond what is allowed on the math section of the 2011 FCAT exam.

Moyers, 42, was one of five Pasco teachers suspended without pay on Tuesday for misbehavior of some kind in the classroom.

The other teachers disciplined were:

• Cindy Cole, science teacher, Hudson High School. Cole, 51, was suspended for five days for swearing in front of students. The school principal also was in the room at the time. Cole has worked in the district since 2004.

• Gregory Popovich, language arts teacher, Pasco High School. Popovich, 53, was suspended indefinitely after he reportedly lost his temper in his classroom and smashed an overhead projector that shattered glass toward students. One student was injured. Popovich has worked in the district since 2000.

• Rebecca Jaquith, art teacher, Pine View and Connerton elementary schools. Jaquith, 40, was suspended for 10 days after parents of a student complained that she grabbed their child and forced the child to sit when the student did not respond quickly enough. Jaquith has worked in the district since 2006.

• Nada Cvetanovic, special education teacher, Wiregrass Ranch High School. Cvetanovic, 60, was suspended for five days for unprofessional conduct toward an instructional assistant. District officials said similar complaints had been made against the teacher in the past. She has taught in the district since 1996.

One other teacher was recommended for unpaid suspension as well. The School Board delayed action on that item at the request of the United School Employees of Pasco.

Of all the incidents, the one that historically has led to dismissal is the allegation of misconduct on the FCAT.

The Florida Legislature and Department of Education have set strict rules on the administration of the annual assessment, because its results factor heavily into so many decisions made about schools. Even relatively minor infractions have resulted in teachers losing their jobs and their certification to teach in Florida.

In 2007, Moon Lake Elementary teacher Barbara Heggaton was fired for rewording questions on the math exam for special education students. A year earlier, the state revoked a Hillsborough teacher's certification for an FCAT violation despite a hearing officer's recommendation for a lighter penalty.

Details of exactly what Moyers is accused of doing were not available while the district continues its investigation.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook.

Pasco School Board suspends five teachers 05/03/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 9:01pm]
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